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Remember the Rainforest 1

 

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CHAPTER I
Stay of the city of Santa Maria de Belem do Grão-Para

Just a few days of stay in Rocinha, the pleasant rural villa where we were

offered such good hospitality, have already made us feel a rapid change in our health. Rejuvenated and strengthened, our blood pulsed with more ardor, the faster our movements, the more willingly we set the table and with a clearer spirit we appreciated the splendor that surrounded us. We were surprised to see these rapid changes in our health; and, whatever it was, the healthier air or the livelier environment, perhaps the joy of having achieved the desired goal had produced the magic influence, - we congratulated ourselves on this promising rebirth for future activities.

The house we inhabited, on a vast square, not only comprised countless rooms, but had at the rear manors for various families of blacks and, a little out of the city, offered all the charms of solitude. From there stretched a flat field, surrounded but interrupted, here and there, by palm trees and brambles. At the rear of the house were the spacious kitchen and orchard, at whose end narrow paths lead to uncultivated, uneven ground, covered with capoeirao of impenetrable thickness, far into the distance.

Beach lagoon in Belem

Lagoon in Belem

Here, through the plains, there are pools and lagoons, from whose waters come tufts of canaranas and thorny Ibis.

Canarana

Ibis

Filled with horror, the naturalist is lost in making uncertain strides on this ground, abandoned by the birds of the forest, where only sometimes capybaras ariscas, or a violent musky odor announces the presence of the armored monsters, the alligators, who, like reprobates, keep hidden in the mud and darkness.

Capybaras

Crocodilius sclerops

We were therefore in a region already on the one hand ennobled by cultivation, but on the other hand which represented the invincible creative force of American soil; and one glance encompassed the most diverse manifestations of nature. But if at every step the incredible fertility of this creation dazzled us, it was with both awe and relief that we had the feeling of

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