Remember the Rainforest 1
the beautiful sandy quartz or quartzite layers; deep natural sources in the stone
were filled with fresh water; here and there rose arborescent Liliaceas, among delicate flowers and grasses like those of Tejuco. However, the searing sun had already dried up the green vegetation, and instead of the cool mountain air of the Diamantino District, the atmosphere around us was warm, thin, dry.
In the year 1781, diamonds were found in these areas, and soon thereafter a barracks rose on the highest part of the mountain, which today also opposes the forbidden exploration of the mines. We went around the top of the mountain, which may be up to 4,300 feet, on the left, and we turned to the Itacambirucu Creek that takes its waters to Jequitinhonha. The western bank of this stream, we see in some places, granite in sight, but otherwise the orogenic formation is here, everywhere, of quartzite, and in the field are large pieces of white quartz mixed
with gray asbestos. - greenish, and a fibrous quartz, very filamentous. This last mineral is very beautiful, bluish-green in color, with little light, and on the surface of the junctions of the layers it is reddish-red and translucent. The farms were becoming rarer and poorer. Extensive corrals, where cattle are occasionally gathered or collected at night, indicate the increase of the cattle breeding;
Unfortunately, due to lack of nearby markets and transportation, it does not constitute wealth for the owner. Sometimes, the backcountry businesses themselves, in their solitude, look for gold, which appears here and is collected, as well as diamonds. We saw several of these gems; almost all, however, had a very thick, mother-of-pearl surface, and their shape was what the stonecutters call natural, which they often reject as improper for polishing. We found interesting little green tourmalines, developed in quartz crystal, that the resident of Fazenda de Sao Jeronimo (1) of Rio Pardo said he had received. We spent the night at Congonhas do Campo Farm, six leagues northwest of Itacambirucu.
The welcome everywhere in this wilderness was less hospitable than in the other lands of Minas; How different the inhabitants of these solitary regions seemed to
Sao Joao d'El-Rei
us, in comparison with the social and cultured citizens of Vila Rica, Sao Joao d'El-Rei, etc.! At home, the man only wears a pair of short cotton trousers to the knees and, above, a shirt of the same fabric or calico of different colors. Equally simple is the children's and women's clothing,
(I) In the original, S. Jerome, an expression that is influenced by the author's French culture, but pronounced popularly as Jeronimo, as our rustic people had a horror of proparoxitones. (Rev. Note, Inst, Hist. And Geog, - Bras.).