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Remember the Rainforest 1



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from time to time, for the solitude of the great virgin forest in Paraiba, and further north to Minas Gerais from where, however, they always came to the priests of the Mission. The emigration of a Swiss colony to Rio de Janeiro, which arrived after our departure from the city, and the Government's order to these Indians to cut the forest for newcomers, is the reason why so many of the indians have disappeared forever from the village.

The chief captain in Areias, rejoicing in the arrival of several foreigners of the nationality of his hereditary princess, and our coming from so far, offered us, with great kindness, his services to improve our travel, for from experience he soon recognized the bad state of our mules, which, developing a clumsy slouch, might become almost useless. But, as our employee assured us that we did not need the help of strangers, and the mules, though also somewhat bruised, were, however, in excellent condition, so we re-entered the journey. The royal road always goes south, crossing narrow valleys, heavily bathed by the streams that run south, and launching into Paraiba. The mountain is made up of a partly loose gneiss, in which the deposit of a layered, rust-like rusty clay appears in the third to fourth degrees of the compass used in the mines. From the highest point we saw behind us three parallel mountain ranges, huddled in formidable degrees, one above the other, but in front of us we had a single lower one, the Serra do Paraiba.

Serra do Paraiba

At sunset, after the descent of the high mountain, we faced a poor hut at the bottom of the Tacasava Valley, on the bank of a thick stream that runs into Paraiba. Many mules carrying chickens to Rio had already camped there, which led to a new and even more unpleasant delay.

The mismatch between the needs of a large city and the scarce production of largely uncultivated suburbs makes transport from very remote districts indispensable. For this reason, São Paulo's industrialists bring their living production to the Rio market, where they sell it at a profit, over a distance of over one hundred leagues. This time we suffered a restless night in the neighborhood of these feathered travelers. On this occasion, we observed that the clucking that these descendants of European chickens let out is a simpler sound, hoarse or shrill, which gradually slows in height and strength, being harsher and more unpleasant than the clucking of ours. These chickens are put in baskets made of woven reeds