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Remember the Rainforest 1

 

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a band of thirty to forty Indians who, in family groups, consisting of husband,

wife, and children, with their supplies on their backs, all advanced naked, to attend, as we later learned, a drinking party a few hours away. As soon as they came to us, they soon halted, watched us hesitantly with shifty glances, and then the men hid with bows in their hands, some behind the trees. Frightened by this sudden appearance, we feared at first that it was a robbery; Then, as they hesitated to attack us, we set our weapons on the ground and advanced on them with friendly gesturing pantomimes, indicating that we had laid down the weapons and absolutely did not want to harass them. As we approach the first group ahead, we pat them on the shoulder, show them the guns on the ground again, let them see our supply of animals and plants, and imply that we are only busy with that, and therefore, they could relax. One of them, who had seen us before at Guidoval Farm, turned out to be kinder, seemed to confirm to our companions our mime, and we parted in peace on both sides. Another adventure faced us even before we reached the Serra de Sao Geraldo or Sao Jose.

In a thick scrub, we passed an Indian hut, where a naked old lady (and, as Custodio later informed us, his kinswoman) spoke a few words to him. She had carefully asked him where he was going, and if they were being taken to the gallows. But when Custudio gladly replied that he was going to see the great captain, and soon he himself would return captain, she wrinkled her nose and withdrew. Then we swiftly climbed the slope of the mountain to reach in direction N. W. the small village of Sao Jose Barbosa for the night.

The next day, Custudio took us by his way, always in the closed bush, to Sitio, an important sugar factory, where rapadura is made especially for homes, and is generally used to sweeten the water. In the small village of Santa Rita all the dangers were over for us, and we gladly returned to the countryside and traveled through places inhabited by more civilized people. So close to Ouro Fino, we returned to the road, and we arrived safe and sound back to Vila Rica, passing by Mariana, on April 21st.

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