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Remember the Rainforest 1

 

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the dizzy fish jump out of the water, or float down, until they are harvested by hand, or shot by cannibal snipers. The simplest system of all was what I observed in Jui Creek, a tributary of Japura. There my Indians, faced with the absolute scarcity of provisions, decided to resort to fishing. They dammed a part of the creek, and the water rose up, until some fish, stunned and half dead, came to their hands.

For this purpose they used the stems of figs unknown to me, and among them, also the stem of the Fingernail (Bauhinia guyanensis Aubl.), singularly broad, and flattened, like rolled ribbon.

Bauhinia guyanensis

The stay in Tupinambaranas provided us with many spectacles of the life of the Indians, who we found there, under the direction of a benevolent commander, more confident and agreeable than we had ever seen before. The proximity of the great Mundurucus and Mauhes nations to life and industrious activity in the village, and lends to the Indians, domiciled there, still a little of the spontaneity of their primitive condition, which, in most of the older villages, no longer exists, due to indolence, disgust and maximum immorality.

Mundurucu today

Here, however, we should also observe the chief vice of the Indian, the drunkenness, by which the most beautiful gem of civilization is destroyed, favoring a low population. It would be unfair to consider this intemperance in drink as exclusively brought by the Europeans. Before the discovery of America, the Red Skins had used an intoxicating drink, the pajauaru, made from the root of the fermented manioc, and the cajiri, made of beijus. In a drunken state, his temper, quiet as quiet can be, gets noisy and ferocious, and soon disputes arise, and blood runs. We would therefore have forbidden our men, who were disembarked on the authority of the captain, to enter the Indians' huts after sunset; but it was difficult to tell them when they were attracted by the noisy joy that shone in the moonlight in the hospitable huts of the Indians.

One of the soldiers, born Portuguese, who was not long in giving us cause for discontent, could not be satiated or told to end the wild nocturnal gatherings, and the brave sergeant said, lamenting, that "in these outback pleasures, which have nothing of heaven, hell is often found. "

On the banks of the river, we had already observed its geological conditions. Where we saw compact stone, they were rocks of a brown-violet gypsum,

Gypsum

containing much iron, orogeny that appears abundantly here in tabular layers. On top, there is a thin clay of reddish, whitish or violaceous layers, much used here at the top of the houses; then a compact of red clay, or grayish ilmenite, and finally, black tar.

Ilmenite

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