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Remember the Rainforest 1

 

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on the way, a sad "Memento mori" to us exhausted travelers. In fact, we also felt, day by day, the pernicious influx of tiredness, anxiety, and especially the sensible change in temperature from day to night, when we were generally homeless, exposed to the fog. Dr. Spix suffered from a violent headache, and I had severe inflammation in the right ear, accompanied by severe pain and fever. With such physical ailments, we lived Jacare's journey for five days without rest or medicine under a hospitable roof, nor found in a source of water the guarantee that we would not die of thirst with all our troops. Time is of the essence, in this wilderness of still life, to find relief in such sad trials. Everyone's life constantly depended on the question, "Will we find water today?" And we kept going ill-prepared, impelled by fear, indifferent to the flowers, the diseases, to everything that did not concern our immediate conservation, despising with impatience the tiredness and dangers already overcome, to consider only those that still we had to face.

Although we had arrived, at the end of Jacare's first day of march, at the small village of Maracas, Parish of Sincora, we had to give up the hope of having comfort. The anticipated place, besides being bad and very poor, was abandoned by the majority of the inhabitants, then occupied on their farms. The water, which we gave in rations to the freighter mules, our most important occupation every night, was sometimes, in extremely scarce quantity, even green or black at times; it contained so much dissolved humus that we were forced to add rapadura to disguise the bitterness. As for us, we had collected water, which was deposited in the concave leaves of the ties. It was quite fresh, but now it was dirty with birds, sometimes it had a frog. We used to purify it by straining it several times on a silk cloth.

The terrain, which from Olho d'Agua begins to rise in hills and mountains, remains equally rugged, covered by catingas, until, finally, near the Rio Seco Farm, which we reached on the fifth day, the road goes gradually descending among tall, bare granite mounds, where the traveler arrives at a plain covered

Etching 23

only with dry bushes a few feet high, giving him a wider panorama. We thought we could consider this extensive mountainous region as part of the Serra do Mar de Minas Novas, where the same geological conditions are present. Near Rio Seco is a fine-grained amphibole deposited, containing iron ore, above the

Amphibole

granite, which, laid out in layers, runs from N. N. W. to S. S. E., and bends strongly to the west.

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