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Remember the Rainforest 1

 

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civilized European face. I thought how all the progress, all the good of mankind, had come from the east. I painfully compared those countries to this dreadful desert; however, still congratulated myself for being here. I raised one more gaze to the sky, and returned with just my spirit and my heart to my friends in the east.

When I came back from the cliffs, above the entrance to the Japura, as I returned to the ship, the Indians called my attention to a prominent rock, where they found some barely visible sculptures, which they approached full of respect, and pointed their finger to the figures , slightly engraved and almost unrecognizable by the efflorescence, while exclaiming: - Tupa! Tupa! (God God!). After a longer examination, I discerned five heads, four of them with halos, and the fifth with two horns. These figures were so deteriorated that they must have been of the most ancient antiquity.

Closer to the river, I discovered, on a flat horizontal rock, about nine feet long, some other figures that water, at a higher level, could touch and so were almost erased. There were 16 roughly drawn drawings like the others, and they represented snakes, orca heads, frog heads, and faces of people like them. The old pilot assured me that in the waterfalls of the Mecai River and the River of Enganos, there were many of these figures on the rocks. Later, I noticed them in greater numbers, near Cupati, and I will then have opportunity to mention them again (Note V).

Serra de Cupati

When I reached the canoe, I closed myself in the cabin, with my longings and with my fever, which came back. I was especially mortified by the idea that, in this wonderful region, I was no longer fit for the efforts of an exploration trip. I dispatched my soldiers under the conduct of the soldiers of the militia and the chief Pachico to the northern part of the mountain, to bring me news of our location; and so a European soldier and the sick crew formed my sole company. While the miserable degenerate thought me asleep, he told the Indians that I still intended to travel beyond the waterfalls to the Spaniards, and warned them not to accompany me, but to force me to retreat, or to disembark on an island in the river. The Indians silently heard him; but I disarmed the treachery, for on another occasion I declared that I was resolved to return home from here. The next morning he would be back, if the other Indians had not yet brought news of the easy ascension of the mountain and the ease of the way. At the break of day, I left the vessel under a safe escort, and entered with the others into the woods, which, to my great satisfaction, was free of the pests. The path sometimes became steep, through a beautiful grove, which seemed to me to be somewhat different from the terrain observed until here.

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