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Remember the Rainforest 1

 

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resin-balsamic or somewhat acrid in taste, however, it was potable. The fauna seemed to have entirely abandoned this arid solitude. Only in the conically shaped houses of termites often five feet high do we observe life and activity; birds and mammals, it seemed, had moved to areas where there was abundant water.

Termite nests

Blatta, the termite

In this monotonous scenario, we set out on March 1, traveling five and a half leagues to the Feira de Santana village.

Feira de Santana today

The inhabitants of this miserable village readily showed us the perfect kindness of their countryman. The purpose of our trip, which we explained to them, seemed incredible to them. The interpreter showed them, with convincing words, that there was no secret intent in this expedition. - "How do you believe that, because of beetles and plants, one would be exposed to the danger of dying of thirst? He said. -" These gentlemen look for the silver blocks of Monte Santo, and no doubt not for little will risk the inconvenience of such a trip. "- These and other jokes convinced us how widespread the legend of the mineral wealth of the region was, and we undoubtedly found it of particular interest, because we had decided to go see the Bendego meteorite,

Recovering the Bendego meteorite

and it was such a goal, as we later learned, that had given rise to those rumors. Potable water, preserved here in waterfalls, generally tastes rather salty, and produces palustre fever when it is drunk without the addition of a concealer. So we had to fill our rubber water bag, so, following the advice of the villagers, we divided our troops into two parts, so that the arriving mules would find some water again gathered in the almost dry sources. Dr. Spix led the way, with most of the troops; I followed after the setting sun, making, with the brightness of the stars, the journey of five and a half leagues. Two statues northwest of Feira de Santana, we found the small village of Sao Jose, abandoned by almost all the inhabitants, due to lack of water, and the same abandonment was also seen on the farms: Formigas, Santa Barbara and Gravata, where the two troops met again. It was not without fear that we rested here a little, for it was to be feared that with the continuation of such a drought we would reach the edge of such a terrible desert with only half our troops. The salty water, which we find in Gravata's cisterns (filthy holes, opened in the granite sand), was sweetened with rapadura sugar, and thus distributed in gourds the mules; but the poor animals did not look pleased, and kept their heads down, snorting around our fires the rest of the night. The next day we continued the journey up to six leagues ahead. The grove, largely leafless, but taller and thicker than hitherto, is entirely similar to

Capao, a tree grove

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