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Remember the Rainforest 1

 

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We said goodbye to our countless friends, and the next day we gave ourselves to the fluid element that was to bring us from the New World back to Europe. I will not try to describe my feeling as the anchor rose and we slid, touched by a faint wind, between banks of high woods, downstream. The route through the Belem do Para Channel is difficult to find by the larger ships, as the navigable point is narrow, ranging from three to five depths, and the bank, with its uniform forest, only rarely gives pilots points of reference.

Belem do Para channel

In crossing the sandbar, our pilot, an old Indian, was guided by huge insulated logs, and carried us down the river without incident. Less fortunate was the brig "Vulcano", which, the first night, ran aground. In fact, there was little danger in that, because the waters do not violently hit the boat, and the bottom was only muddy; However, it is not uncommon to remove the cargo and only 15 days later to continue the trip, only possible with favorable pre-seas. One leaves Belem do Para with the high tide of the full moon and the new moon, sailing downstream with the ebb, which lasts an hour longer than the flood, as happens in the other western waters. During the flood, cautious navigators often anchor.

Fort da Barra

In Forte da Barra, erected on a small island of the river, passports are examined and all equipment is presented to the visiting official. Very slowly, too, we sailed the next day down the river, and when the convoy again docked near Mosqueiro to wait for the other boats,

we had the opportunity to set foot on the American continent once again. Gap-shaped gravel, reddish-brown or violet, constituting the orogenic formation along the entire coast, is broken here at the Royal Quarry, at the expense of the government, and taken to the city for the buildings. The virgin forest once covered the whole region; Nowadays, however, it has already been thinned in large sections; Farms are scattered among the low capoeira,

farms of corn and beans, sugarcane stands and cacao trees. This fertile region is inhabited by families of Indians and mulattos, whose huts can be seen among banana trees, guava trees and wild orange trees, boasting serene poverty and contentment. Here in the New World my eyes rested with double joy on this idyllic spectacle.

The thought is somewhat comforting that, despite all the misery, what the European brought from beyond the vast ocean, makes possible here some well-being in this primitive state of the human race, in this life of nature, which we in the old and refined Europe, have no trace, no notion. These Indians and mesticos recall the ancient Indian proverb that "life among men

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