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From Piaui to Maranhao

the capital and all along the Itapicuru stream. This place, formerly called Feira, owes its origin to the trade of cattle, because here the sertanejos negotiate the sale of cattle, coming from Piaui and the interior of Maranhao,

in exchange for everything they need. In most houses, shops are open where cheetahs, tools, porcelain and clay pots, wines, liqueurs and items from Portugal are on sale.

Here resides the vigario-colado of this extensive parish, which expands to the limits of Caxias. We had the chance to find in him a very dignified and educated man. Both the territory itself, especially the distances between the farms, and the genre of life of the inhabitants hinder the task and influence of the preacher of the gospel. Since sailing from there on required less caution, we departed from this place at night with the moonlight. We observed the influence of the ebb and flow that is already very sensitive here, although the sea water cannot reach so far upstream. It is an extremely interesting phenomenon that the movement of the ebb and flow in the coastal rivers of Brazil where such a volume of water is effected, the more pronounced it is the closer it is to the equator. Perhaps the phenomenon of this characteristic reflux should also be linked to certain rivers, whose waters fill and then recede in a relatively much shorter time, with this proximity to the equatorial line. This characteristic high tide, called in Brazil pororoca, also occurs in a river of the province of Maranhao, the Mearim; It is, however, more common and more violent in several rivers of the province of Para, where I had the opportunity to witness it, and I will describe it in detail in due course. (1) During the first night, when we were sailing, we were struck by the persistent shrieks of a bird, whose numerous flocks live in the green thickets of the bank, and are not disturbed by the noisy approach of man.

Opisthocomus cristatus

They were the gypsies (Opisthocomus cristatus, Ill.), a beautiful galinacea (waterfowl), which, in fact, feeds almost only on vegetables, but for its unbearable smell, cannot be eaten. Large green iguanas (Iguana viridis, Spix) are

Iguana viridis

found in numerous sunny places on the sandy shore, and have been actively pursued by indigenous boatmen to replace the common beef jerky with this snack. In the river are also often found the electric eels

(Gymnotus electricus, L.), dangerous for swimmers. We caught a small one and his violent charges were such a surprise, that we let the fish escape into the river.
   

Caxias to Sao Miguel in Maranhao


On June 11, we arrived at Sao Miguel, a large parish whose residents were mostly colored; Among them, some 300 Indians, from the Tupajaros and Quay tribes, live off fishing and sailing. These Indians, partly already gestured, are the last remains of

(1) Read about the pororoca in Vol 3, the Amazon

 

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