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Remember the Rainforest 1

 

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of a certain forest in which the sun never seemed to have penetrated. The formation of gneiss and granite, which is found here in many places, reminded us even more than before, as well as the general vegetation, that we had left the alpine region of mica schist and clay shale and open fields, and that we once again reached the Serra do Mar region.

Serra do Mar

The path was so narrow that it cost one mule after another; geological formations like Dante's inferno closed the woods, and the path narrower and steeper, meandered through the labyrinth, to a deep abyss, through which tumultuous waters flowed, and now, here and there, lie blocks of rock that have come loose. To the horror which this loneliness infused in the soul, was added the distressing prospect of an attack by ferocious animals or malevolent Indians, which our imagination produced in dreadful pictures, with the most foreboding fears. Unspeakable, therefore, was our relief when we finally reached the other side of the Serra de Sao Geraldo, and saw the glimmers of the day grow brighter and brighter. After we have overcome part of the abrupt path, which goes down like a gorge, we saw extensive cliffs, limited on the southwest by the Serra da Onca, also covered with grass.

We had just descended the vast plain of the valley between these two mountains, made up largely of gneiss, and at two and a half thousand feet in altitude, when we were taken by surprise by two human figures. They were both naked, and their hair fell loose, black as coal. They crept slowly, with short strides, their necks shrunken, turning their eyes to the right and to the left; The man went forward, with a bow and arrow in his left hand, and a bundle of arrows hung over his shoulder. The woman, with the older child, followed behind and had a basket of locked palm leaf on her back, which was held by a strap tied to her forehead containing household utensils and the necessities: - corn, cassava, potatoes, a bowl of clay, etc. On top of that sat a little child, a few months old or so, who clung to her mother's neck with her arms. As soon as they spotted us, they quickly escaped through the bush, disappearing from our sight.


  
When we arrived at the first farm on the plain, we still came across several of these indigenous people, sometimes armed, sometimes without weapons, who seemed to live in good harmony with the mulattoes and blacks who lived there. We went to meet them with shows of goodwill; they retreated, however, from us, dumb and suspicious, but after a while

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