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Remember the Rainforest 1

 

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CHAPTER II
Trip from Vila Rica to the village of the Coroados Indians on the bank of the Xipoto River

 

On March 31, we departed from Vila Rica, with a single pack mule and a member of our crew, because on expeditions of this order it is customary to carry as little cargo as possible. It was cool in the morning, and the mist coming down from the hills gave hope for a beautiful day. We climbed the northern part of the city, on a steep slope of the hill, a wide street, partly paved and flattened on the rock to the summit, from which you can find a beautiful panorama over the entire region dominated by the majestic Itacolumi.

Paved road in Vila Rica

In the deep caves, formed by the slopes of this mountain and those of the hill, whispers, among green forests and interesting blocks of rock, the Ribeirao de Ouro Preto or Carmo, the bearer of gold. Still very close to Vila Rica there is a fenced rusty fountain that is said to have curative property. At a short distance,

Mining pits in Vila Rica

we also notice the aforementioned mining pits, made of flexible gneiss, (itacolumito) that once contained such great wealth in gold, but whose exploration has not continued. Along the hill there was a landscape of great rugged beauty, with the steep slopes like flower-strewn ruins. Large numbers of houses lined the street, and the frequency of travelers and troops of loaded mules lends the region the appearance of wealth and European activity.

In the small village of Taquaral, the road goes down, always steep, until it reaches a branch of Vila Rica, the great Arraial da Passagem, whose inhabitants, in general, make a living from the plantations and vines they sell in the capital. Before it was the gold mines of this place that were very productive, especially that of the hill of Santo Antonio, where this saint has a votive chapel; Now, however, there is almost no industry there. In the village we crossed a small stone bridge to the right bank of Ribeirao do Carmo, whose waters spread

Riberao do Carmo

freshness through the narrow valley, and we climbed a hill in several zigzags, from which we can see the city of Mariana, in the stony valley of Ribeirao do Carma.

Mariana

This city of four thousand and eight hundred souls, of clean little houses, built in regular order and with wide streets, gives a favorable impression.

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