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Remember the Rainforest 1

 

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and the few streams that water the area, like Pontal, almost disappear annually during the terrible drought. Some farmers, established here, provide for their needs and those of the passing troops by means of cisterns; but despite this, it is not uncommon for half the cattle and herds of horses that come from Piaui to die of thirst or starvation before reaching the Sao Francisco River.

This district, which along the neighboring regions is distinguished by its physical condition, currently forms a demarcation to that of the sertao,

Sertao, typical terrain

the region of the Pernambuco sertao, which has the following villages: Barra do Rio Grande, Pilao Arcada, Cimbres, Vila Real de Santa Maria, Flores, Asuncion and Garanhuns.

Bahia, Pernambuco, Piaui, Ceara, Maranhao

It was the only wilderness in the Pernambuco province we traveled through, and this happened somewhat inappropriately, because of the political upheavals that had occurred a few years earlier in that province. Pernambuco is, in every sense, one of the most important provinces of the Brazilian Empire, so we will give some descriptive features in the notes. (Note II). After leaving the customs registry in Juazeiro and its hospitable inhabitants, we took a road off the cattle road to Melancias, for it had been raining here for a long time, and the extensive fields were lined with tender grass.

Road to Piaui

We stayed overnight in the open; the tree grove, where we hung our hammocks, was in its rich flower garment, much nicer than we would have imagined. Various groves gave off an unparalleled scent, and the breath of spring cheered us with the most flattering hopes for the successful journey through Piaui to the longed-for Maranhao. Who would have thought this part of the trip would be so full of dangers and sad occurrences? Our mules scattered far into the night, and in the morning it turned out that the straps connecting the mule's feet had been stolen. This was the first and last time such a theft occurred; For although Brazilians do not have to atone with the loss of their ears, as in the case of the buccaneers (1), they feel a certain pity for travelers, and so rarely expose them to the loss of their animals.

The farther we got from the river, the more uneven the terrain was; long ditches traverse it in many directions. During overflows, they are filled like bloodstains, and they are also covered with the marginal vegetation of the wetland: thickly interwoven thorns and vines. We had already found these rainwater-filled pits here, and more than once we had to cross them at great risk, soaking the whole load. In places where the terrain is

(I) They are the inhabitants of Bucaria, one of the canates of Turkestan (former Sogdiana). (Rev. Note, Inst. Hist. And Geogr. Bras.).

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