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Remember the Rainforest 1

 

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We were happy to say goodbye to Vila Nova da Rainha, where, besides the misery of the inhabitants, we could not fail to witness immorality as a consequence of solitude, where the law does not apply. In four days of march, we covered the distance to Juazeiro.

Juazeiro

The road passes through catingas forests, similar to the ones we had crossed so far; Then, near Riachinho, we entered a wide valley formed by mounds of

Riachinho

granite, some of which were distinguished by their pointed conical shape, and from then on we had a low, thin vegetation around us. Also in these fields there seems to be a tendency towards branching, but the overall effect corresponds to that of the Minas Gerais plateaus. They are, however, members of the vegetation of catingas that are found here. Very characteristic and surprising were the hedges enclosed by leafless cacti, long-lined by whites, which look like walls of

hair from afar. The round crowns of the juazeiro trees, almost the only green foliage, offered us a cool shade for the nap; but the water was scarce again, and it had to be brought in rubber bags.

Ziziphus juazeiro, Juazeiro tree

With the exception of two low chains, Serra do Riachinho and Serra da Encruzilhada,

Encruzilhada today

we found no other elevations; only blocks of granite were sometimes noticeable on the loose ground, sloping to N.W. The stone everywhere was granite-gneissic, often containing pistacite, having deposits here and there of a black amphibole.

Granite-gneiss

Pistacite

Amphibole

Fragments of a beautiful green quartz, fibrolite, true black quartz tourmaline, and coarse opal, were the only objects that could interest us in the monotony of the path.

Green quartz

Black quartz tourmaline

The region was all dry and looked dead. We traveled fast and worried down the road, and anxiously asked a rider who was coming in the opposite direction how long this desert would last. - "Up to the Sao Francisco River. There is sickness in everything!" was the answer; and added hesitantly, “But they do have flour and water." In Carnaubas, four leagues far from Juazeiro,

Carnaubeira palm frond, the wax palm

we first saw the carnaubeira, the Brazilian palm cerifera (Note VI), whose crowns, rounded with the fan of the leaves, are characteristic ornament of the plains. The setting sun on this March 30 afternoon tinted the treetops with purple when, half an hour before the end of our journey, we shifted, without transition, from barren soil to a rugged, fertile ground covered with a carpet green with grasses and flowers. Fresh aromas of Acacias, Alcaparreiras, Maris (Geoffroya spinosa, L.), full of gold-colored fruits, a Convolvulacea arbustiforme

Acacia armata

Alcaperreira

Geoffroya spinosa

Convolvulacea arbustiforme, potato tree ?


 

 

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