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Remember the Rainforest 1

 

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Camamu Bay

the small island of Flores or Chiqueiro, the exit of Camamu bay. The island is all overgrown with thriving plantations, and provided us with the opportunity to harvest delicious guavas, with which the inhabitants of indigenous origin make delicious guava jam.

The fruits of the cuitezeiro (Crescentia cujete, L.) are broken in half lengthwise,

Crecentia cujete

carefully cleaned and, once dry, give beautiful gourds. On the outer, dark surface of the gourd, they engraved, with the tip of the knife or other sharp instrument, figures of flowers, animals and men, which stand out for their white color. These figures, among all the ones we saw in Brazil, made by the indigenous people, are the ones with the best design and, by their characteristics, are somewhat similar to the Chinese style. To blacken the gourds, it seems that these Indians use the bark of several Mirtaceas and a fine black clay; probably, the tannin is then alloyed with iron oxide.

After we were forced to spend a rainy night on Flores Island, in a humid cabin, we landed again the next day at the mouth of the Jaguaribe. Many boats loaded with groceries and sugar boxes , animate the canal, coming from the village of Jaguaribe and the Arraial Nazare das Farinhas, to navigate here, through the so-

called Barra Falsa, towards Bahia; and then we continued the journey, often accompanying larger or smaller vessels. The seashore, the shores of the continent and the numerous islands are largely covered with mangroves; however, inland, there are extensive plantations and beautiful houses on the hills of gentle slopes, lined with thorns and palm trees.

Arriving on the island of Itaparica, we landed in the middle of the beach, on the west side, and we walked, by well cultivated land, to the village, where we found lodging, and we could enjoy the idyllic quiet of the beautiful island, which undoubtedly contrasted, very pleasantly, with the noise of the neighboring capital.

Itaparica Island

Itaparica village today

Returning to Bahia, we found many letters from our country and Rio de Janeiro. From Minas Gerais, we had already informed S. Excellency, the Austrian imperial envoy, Mr. Barao von Neveu, of our desire to travel to Brazil's

northernmost province, Para, and asked for official recommendations there, as well as to the neighboring provinces. The royal Luso-Brazilian government, with the high generosity with which it helped every step of our expedition, had sent letters of recommendation to the governors of the provinces we had to go through, letters we found here; however, among them was none for Para, because, as Mr. Barao von Neveu informed us, a decree had recently been published.

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