AVENTURAS TERCEIRAS NO BRASIL
A sporadic, partial, uncollated
On Friday, 4 August 95 we started our flight for our third sojourn in Brazil. We flew by United Airlines instead of by a Brazilian carrier, Varig or TransBrasil. CNPQ , the Brazilian national science research organization, which was paying for our flight, discovered that it was $300 cheaper per person to send us by United. Thus, after cancelling our original reservations on United and then, expecting CNPQs assignment to start Saturday the 5th by TransBrasil Airline, suddenly on Thursday we got the OK to use United all the way directly to Belo Horizonte.
Lotus had a knee problem and got wheel chair treatment for the plane change at Chicago and Miami. In Des Moines we were directed to change the overseas seating when we got to the flight desk in Miami because we were assigned to an emergency exit seat and not completely able bodied. Delays gave us business class seats equivalent to first class. So we got free drinks, a 5 course dinner with filet mignon, and free Godiva chocolates.
The flights were fine except for the dry air which gave Wilmer a dry throat which lasted 2 days. We had started at 2:40PM Friday from Des Moines and arrived Saturday at 9:30 AM local time in Belo Horizonte. Denise and Marcelo were waiting anxiously while Lotus selected a microwave in the duty free shop and Wilmer tried to decide what they wanted to be "declared". The agent said anything over $500. So I declared the laptop computer Toshiba Satellite T2110CS and pointed to the suitcase it was in. The agent asked our circumstances and I said "trabalhando para duas anos em Universidade Federal em Belo Horizonte"(working for two years in Federal University in Belo Horizonte). The duas should have been dois, but the agent repeated it, sort of cocked his head and said "tudos livre"= all free. So none of our suitcases was examined. Finally we were able to greet one another with great enthusiasm.
Denise and Marcelo had a driver who could manage our suitcases, two of which weighed 70 pounds each. We were driven to their apartment in the Dona Clara bairro (neighborhood) next to the Pampulha airport. Our ten suitcases filled the available space in the apartment. We slept a few hours after getting into the guest bedroom, then we ate, then we slept again. I didnt really feel normal until the 4th day. I thought jet lag only was important when several time zones were crossed. But we only crossed 3.
I drank 2 liters of guaraná in the first two days here as well as water, milk, and other drinks. I started remembering more clearly the palms, red soil, architectural style, types of people and trees. The blooming trees included many quaresmeira, bauhinia, ipê de jardim, spathodia, ant trees, and the ever blooming primavera = bouganvillea (which are really vines) . Erythrina with bright red finger blossoms was less frequent. Lombadas (deliberate speed-control bumps in the roads) were encountered while I rubber necked all over again at the plants (many just "crying"for me to get their seeds), urubú (black vultures), bem ti vi (Kiskadee flycatchers), andorinhas (swallows) and all the other things that make Brazil what it is.
Sunday, Denise, Marcelo and I took a walk around the neighorhood--UP and Down! And we looked in on a possible apartment for Lotus and I. Three bedrooms (small), a living room, and maids quarters were included in space nearly equal to the main floor of our house in Ames. The master bedroom had a private bath, there was a "social" bathroom, and the maid had her own tiny bathroom. This was typical of most of the new apartments being built.
Our house/apartment hunting continued the next few days. Housing is EXPENSIVE here! None of them are furnished! The used ones have all sorts of repairs needed. New ones are being continually built and snapped up. The cheapest are about $650 per month and the most expensive we looked at was $R 2,000. The R stands for Reais, the plural of Real. This is their new monetary system which ended about 30 years of rampant inflation. Right now the exchange is one Real for $1.08 US. Or one dollar = 0.92 Real. Reais is pronounced Hay Ice!
I was tempted by the $R2,000 house which had enough grounds to grow things, a 4 car garage, "dance floor" as I called it (about 70 feet long and 20 wide) with polished wood brick flooring, three bedrooms upstairs and 3 downstairs, a 25 foot square entry way, larger living room, kitchen upstairs and one down, maids quarters, and a large square room on the third floor with glass windows all around. It had a raised tile roof over nearly all the house. From that 3rd floor room one could see space enough for about 50 dove cages. Every part had plenty of room, in contrast to every thing else we had seen. it could easily be used by two families separately. If anyone in the USA wants to help split costs, quick let us know!
Another tempting used apartment turned up just a block away from Prof. Claudios apartment where we had stayed two years before. This was in a five floor double apartment building with swimming pool and tennis courts for all. It was the only other spacious choice we saw. But it required lots of "repair" and would cost $1,300 per month with outside maintenance and utilities cost. We were trying to stay within 5 km of the University and it would have satisfied that requirement.
We saw a few other houses and more apartments, but all required too much fixing up! A small but nice new apartment to be ready in 2 days got ruled out by a 30 month requirement in the contract. And we could be here only 24 months. This turned out to be a frequent requirement. We now have a small house possibility owned by a worker in the Veterinary School. It is neat, repainted, and lacks only half the light fixtures and wall plates over the switches. Upstairs belongs to another family. It reminds me of a farm house. The kitchen stove is outside under a tile roof.
During the next few days we started to get used to the cultural differences. These include beautiful stone in the bathroom and kitchen counters, and tiled walls and floors. The showers are slightly slippery, often open on three sides and little slope to the floor. We had to remember to get warm water from the electric shower heads by reducing the flow of water to nearly a trickle, to close the windows and slap the mosquitos before retiring under a mosquito net, to put the used toilet tissues in a waste basket--not flushed down the toilet! Garbage is placed outside in shoulder high iron strap baskets three times a week. The door locks require two turns to close or open the bolts. Sugar may be kept in the refrigerator (avoiding ants). At two of the places (buffet) at "per quilo" restaurents your filled plate is weighed and you are charged only by the weight in quilos, not according to whether it is meat, fruit, carbohydrates or vegetables. Street workers wear orange coveralls.
On Monday Marcelo had us checked out with a University Van to go to the Policia Federal. We got in line first because of Lotus knee problem and spent the next hour filling out forms and paying $R 43.50 each for Im not sure what. Two photos each were required which we had gotten at an attended booth at Shopping del Rey. We are supposed to return in 60 days with another photo each.
Somewhere in there (Saturday) we had gone to a shopping center called shopping at Shopping del Rey. Bon Marché. The very large grocery store , Bon Marché, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, also sells some clothing, kitchen appliances, etc. They had 80 check out counters now, and we still had to stand in line. Again there were girls on roller skates to find missing item prices quickly and solve other such problems.
Also on Monday we got to the laboratory (Waldir the gate guard remembered me) in Zootécnia and met Luiz Pinheiro the overall professor in charge of the cytogenetics and blood lab. Luiz had to really use a lot of Brazilian "jeito"(ways of getting things done) to get things arranged with CNPQ. The lab is much the same because they still put everything away, hiding most everything. Eneida working on her masters degree was still there along with two other workers in the blood lab., Geraldo working on "bufalo" and Angelo learning to put the blood types, etc. on computer in the cytogenetics lab. Simone is still in charge of that lab with Cybele assisting Fernanda working on her masters and Attila up from the human medical center working there again. We spent some time with Dr. Jonas, now director of the Vet. School, but who was head of the Animal Science department when we were here first. Dr. Norberto is now head and is in the process of trying to get us a walk-in freezer. Dr. Claudio came over to greet us and tell us about our "mutual caretaker", Fátima, who now has another baby girl, Julia. He likes Spain where he spent his sabbatical while we were in his house, and told us of several things there.
On the second floor walkway of the Vet. school I noticed a Datura type plant in the ornamental planter. It has 6 pods three of which were dry. I collected the dry ones and next day discovered that the gardener had entirely removed the plant. It is definitely one I had not ever seen before. Ill have to grow it to increase the seed.
We have spent part of each day looking at houses and apartments except on this last weekend because Lotus birthday was Sunday. But on Tuesday, I also worked in the lab. analyzing phenogroups and planning absorptions of the previous antisera made 2 years ago, and starting on those I have sent down recently. This weekend, Denise and Marcelo had to go to São Paulo to renew their car license and visit family. Tuesday 15 Aug is a holiday for Belo Horizonte--so therefore, Monday is too--the Brazilian way!
Monday, 14 Aug 95, Márcia came about 10:30 to take us to her family home at Tripuí. It is 60 km from Belo Horizonte, a fact which we discovered in a video tape which they had just made the week before, advertising their eating place and tourist shopping. It is to play on channel 25 sometime soon. Then we showed them the 2 hour tape Douglas had made about Brasil 2 years ago.
The highway had lots of bumps and holes, for which Márcia was continually slowing down and speeding up. The countryside was often bare, sometimes had groves of Eucalyptus trees, and occasionally showed the native gallery forest in the stream bed areas. Strange rock formations on the hill tops showed about 2/3 of the way there. Some forest showed up and was very dry with burn spots.
After a really good meal, including pão de queijo (cheese bread spheres), from the fogo a lenho (a special kind of wood stove), Márcia took us out to the pasture area to look at whatever wildlife we could note. Besides the black and white Holandes (Holstein-friesian) and Brown Swiss cows, we noted in various places white mallard-type ducks, geese, Urubú (black vultures) in the trees, 2 kingfishers, bem-ti-vi (flycatcher), quero-quero, andorinho (swallow), and a white headed marsh bird. A strange tree in the middle of the pasture had strange seed pods. I managed to get one off the ground. It was round, about quarter -sized in diameter, and had one spine which split when the seed halves opened. I found it naturally partly open with an inside orange cover over a black seed. The tree was about 30 feet tall with leaves small and entire that reminded me of a live oak. Nearby we saw gray cupim (termite ground nests about 3 feet high), a paper wasp nest high in a tree, a red and yellow lantana bush, a bamboo clump about 40 feet high and 25 feet in diameter, ipê trees bare of leaves but beautiful with 2 inch yellow blossoms, a bromeliad about 7 feet tall in the ground, another bromeliad 12 feet up on a tree trunk, an orchid about 8 feet long growing on the side of a tree trunk from the ground, and MANY unidentified plants. I caught a glimpse of what could have been a sagui (marmoset) causing a big branch to wave by its jump(?)
On the way home we saw 4 burning fires. Two of them were immediately by the roadside. No one was doing anything about any of them.
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Marcelo and Denise have been hosting us very nicely and taking us all over to look at apartments and houses, but we must get out of their hair soon. We think we found an acceptable house, but it wont be ready for several weeks. Meanwhile a student leaving for the University of Wisconsin said we could use his apartment until the house is ready. So now we are in it. It is north of the lake in Santa. Amelia bairro.
We spent $R300 at Bon Marché on food and a few items for the apartment. We shopped for a bed in a furniture center and selected the next to cheapest. It was a simple but beautiful wood frame. The wood was "Mogno" (mahogany), very fashionable now. The mattress was density 28 foam "latex". It is a very firm mattress, better than you can get in the USA., and only 33 density is harder. But the toxic fumes, if it ever catches fire, makes it prohibited in the USA, I understand. The cost of mattress and bed was $404 or about $435.
This apartment is to cost R$450 per month. We got the price wrong at first. I measured and drew a plan of it. It has about 550 square feet, a total of 8 electric outlets (3 in the kitchen, 2 in the long thin living room, one in each of the bedrooms and bath) and 6 telephone outlets. Several things dont work right (3 windows, one door, the toilet flush noticed so far). The entrance way out of the bedroom and bathroom wing is 28 inches wide so they had to leave one "armario"= (free standing closet) in a bedroom. There was also a cupboard and refrigerator in the kitchen. We looked for a gas barrel to power the stove. I found out it is about knee high and has 13 kg (about 29 pounds ) of gas compressed in it when full and weighs a lot more.
We are currently using two of the cardboard shipping boxes for "tables". Today (Sunday) Dennis Poague brought over our desk and chair which we had left with him in 1993. We gave him greetings from his brother Lee in Ames. We were also very happy to see his wife, Doctora Sueli, and the two children, Luiz (2 1/2) and Cassandra (1). With the chair from the lab we now have two chairs and a desk, which we also use for an eating table.
Monday I walked over 6 km to work. I missed the correct turn on Jefferson de Oliveira Avenue because there are seldom street names on the corners. But I knew generally where I was going and ended up by the lake side which I followed to the dam site over which there are 3 of traffic in each direction. If the dam broke, the Pampulha airport runway would be under 20 feet of water till it ran off. The road has a nice walkway across to the other bairro (neighborhood) in which we lived two years ago. I walked along past palm trees until I found the Avenida das Princesas, which I took over the hill past the north end of the block where we lived two years ago. The Brugmansia tree, a Datura relative from which we got seed, and which the Des Moines Botanical Center germinated to flower, had been cut down. Que Pena! But the ipê de jardim with beautiful clustered yellow flowers was still blooming. From there it was an easy walk on to work past the Minerão. From the Minerão it was still 41 steps down to the parking lot on the south and 38 more to a lower level then across the parking lot and street before I reached the Veterinary school entrance. Tuesday morning my alarm clock was broken and we overslept. So I took the red 2212A omnibus to the east end of the campus and walked about 2 km to the Vet. School. On the way I found a new seed on the sidewalk. It was winged, just over an inch long and flat.
Then in the evening I walked home and missed street signs again. But I got home in time to take Lotus to the Sacolão = "huge sac"= vegetable/fruit store. They had 4 cages of birds. One was a canary male, another a canary female, another a chopim ( a black parasitic bird), and finally a Coleira type
finch but unidentified by the half-owner,Janet. I sure miss that box of books which we packed to take to Brasil, but which got lost in the shuffle of moving things to storage in Ames. It had lots of information in it including a nice book on Brazilian cage birds.
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I have been having trouble getting e-mail to work. They are changing to a fiber optics system and several times daily "crash" any message you are working on. Besides, even if it is working, here is what you do. (Non-e mail types can ignore the rest of this paragraph). Turn on the machine and get an LCC in big letters on screen after 10-20 seconds (it is a slow system). Type in vm and enter, find codigo and type in bloodlab then automatically it switches down so you can type in your secret code and enter. Then type mail and enter. Then use Alt clear twice with screen changes between saying you have so many days before you have to change your secret code. Then if things arent working right, you try icms or "note" to get it going. Now you have your messages listed. I generally have a full screen because I couldnt get my Brazilian Noticias, etc. stopped. (They said I wasnt receiving them and, therefore, couldnt stop them.) So I delete (F9) most of them. I use F2 to read the messages, F3 to quit that message, F4 to print [but it prints in the Physics bulding one km away], F5 to reply, F7 to page up, F8 page down, and F9 to delete. F10 is supposed to give you a menu, but it doesnt! If you want to print out in the same room you are in, you type mudrimps veterina and press PF4. then you ask the assistant why it doesnt work, and he takes 2 minutes to try to tell you it crashed. The system is slow, and if you see an X at the bottom you have to wait until it goes away. Sometimes it never goes away, so you know it crashed.
Speaking of crashes: On Saturday the 26th of August, Lotus and I took the red bus 2212A to the front of the Univeristy, then took an SC05 yellow bus to just before the Centro (center of the city) and about 3 blocks south past the Civil Police (who wear civilian clothes) Station. On one side of the Police Station we saw an ambulance turned on its side, crashed, with lots of broken glass. Five blocks down the street we alighted and found the next street west, Rua Itapecerica. Three years ago we saw lots of used furniture there, but on Saturday afternoon we found only three hole-in-the wall type stores. A couple of pieces interested us, but they were not what we needed NOW. So we continued up the blocks to the police station and now the ambulance was pulled to a parking spot about 50 feet from the crash site. It was terribly askew but upright. This reminded us of Dennis Poagues warning that we ought to use a larger American-made car which has the roll bar type of construction or whatever you call it. The smaller Brazilian-made cars crumple in any direction.
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I have walked the whole distance to work a few times now. At normal commuting time the traffic is bad. I have to wait to cross two or three of the worst avenues. It takes 1 hour and 8 minutes. But if I start early, I can make it in an hour! This time "translates" to 4 miles. It takes 8 minutes to cross the lake Pampulha dam, wind blown by the traffic. Last night, 30 Aug 95, I took the bus but the traffic was so bad, I missed two buses. The first was stuffed, so I didnt mind, but the other had only 6 people standing up, yet the bus driver passed me in spite of my waving like mad!!! @#%***&%$#@ So it took me the same time to go home by bus as it takes to walk it. Some of the time I take the 2212A to the east University entrance and walk the 2+ km to the Vet School. Instead of walking on campus I can take either the yellow SC05A or B to near the Vet. School, or better yet, the white University bus which is free for everyone.
Today I found two new trees I had not encountered before. One was on the walk from the University entrance. It has seeds very like the Bauhinia but slightly larger and darker (like an old penny). The trunk, limbs, pods and seeds say "Bauhinia", but the leaf is lanceolate from 4 to 8 inches long. The usual Bauhinia leaf is shaped like a cows footprint, i.e. inverted point. Maybe this is one of the 13 or so other species of Bauhinia and it has a different leaf. Botanists help! I found the other tree while walking home up the last hill. The seed is like a propeller with two opposite wings, perhaps 1 ½ inches long. The parent tree was tall, about 60 feet and well shaped.
I do see lots of birds, but cant identify most of them. Lots of white herons are on the stream by the airport runway with an occasional buff necked ibis by the landing strip. The anum branco, Guira guira, is around here and there, as is the anum preto. (Also lots of "English" or house sparrows). The gavião. Caracará, is seen almost daily. Urubú, the black vulture is prominant in the sky. Bem ti vi, flycatcher, is seen daily. Rolinha or the tiny talpacoti dove is frequent. I have not seen the red eared finch (introduced long ago) which was very frequent 3 years ago. I hear a wren now and then. While walking to work one morning, I saw a pair of Columba picazuro (?), (white winged pigeons) in trees in a residential yard. I also saw one flying fast and direct to the west near the Vet. school. I have to dredge up the names from my faulty memory, since we lost the book box. Lake Pampulha has olivaceous cormorants and black capped scissor-tailed flycatchers with an occasional white heron. Chopim, the black parasitic nester, and andorinhos (swallows) have been seen from the lab. windows. And I saw an alma do gato (cuckoo) from the bus window. Outside our apartment living room window is a white Bauhinia tree which frequently has beija flor = kiss flower or humming birds. A sanhaça tanager pair were feeding in the ant tree outside our apartmento window the morning after 7 Sep., Brasils Dia de Patria or Dia de Independencia. Lotus saw a bananaquit in the bushes by the bus stop.
Several people have commented that this winter is hot and drier than usual. Many trees show the effects. For example, the hat tree, chapéu, often has very few leaves. One dry small tree across from our apartment has a bunch of seeds hanging down. They turned out to be the "maple seed" legume type of the "reverse"connection. That is, instead of the head end connection of the seed with wing hanging down like the tipuana tipu, it has a tail end connection of the wing with the seed head hanging down. It is about twice the size of a regular silver maple seed. I couldnt reach most of the seeds but found several on the ground.
Last week Eliana came into the lab! She is nearly recovered from Lymes disease that she contracted in the USA. She had lost a lot of weight (down to about 90 pounds), but now was recovering nicely and regaining weight. Her hands now work OK, whereas earlier she couldnt straighten her finger out. In fact she felt well enough to help us go furniture hunting Saturday morning (2 Sep. 95). We checked out several stores in a new place. Half of them had used furniture. The old preference of sucupira wood is being replaced by a preference for mogno, even though sucupira is a harder, longer lasting wood with a nice grain.
Friday as Marcelo, Denise and I were on the balcony walk of the Vet. School going to lunch, I looked over and saw Maria Inez Ferolla, a zoology professor and birding enthusiast. She had just returned from Paraguay. She told us of her sisters immenent brain operation as well as of her prize dogs....dying from leishmaniasis (mosquito borne). We hope she can find time to take us birding soon.
At 5 PM bus traffic is very heavy. Once I counted 61 busses that passed before ours came (it is supposed to come every 20 minutes during the day and early evening). The throng of waiting bus riders really take chances. They wait out in the street trying to see their bus number. If a bus is to stop there, it swerves into the curb missing people not just by inches but by an inch!! Another time we were passed up by full busses and no more of ours (2212A) came for over 45 minutes. It was getting dark, so in desperation we took a 2212C (Copacabana) bus which we knew passed a corner near our apartment. It went clear out to Indians "bairro. We were "treated" to a real roller coaster ride down and up hill. The streets are often so narrow two little cars can hardly pass in opposite directions, and here is this large bus holding 80 people (35 sitting and the rest hanging on bars "barreling"around tight corners and passing cars on sometimes "pe de moleque"rough cobble stone streets. Americans wouldnt believe it! Youll have to visit us and take 2212C (or many other such) to believe it. Sometimes a long hill forces the driver to snake back and forth across the street to get up the hill. There are so many busses that they break down daily. Once on just our route I saw abandoned busses three days in a row. One bus either had a crash or broke down blocking two of 3 lanes of traffic. It took several minutes of stop and go driving by Marcelo to get round it because of the heavy traffic. One good thing about the within-city busses here is that for people over 65 a free ride is guaranteed! But you have to get on in the FRONT! With my white hair the driver has no problem. But Lotus has to show her cane. It is a bit disconcerting to have a young girl get up and offer me her seat! But I go with the "flow". Usually the busses are too full for anyone to move. An offloading passenger really has to struggle to get off by the front door.
Saturday night we were invited to a "Cha de panela"for Márcia and Andre, who will marry in November. This turned out to be a kitchen shower for the bridal couple at Tripuí, the open air restaurant and tourist shop of Márcias parents. At least 40 people of all ages were there, including families. There were delicious pates and breads and beautiful fruits in elegant dishes. Beverages included guaraná, coca cola, and low alcohol coquetels of fresh tropic fruits. The first item on the program was a "Brinquedeira", during which first Andre, and then Márcia had to sit a chair atop a table and answer questions about their courtship posed by a leather-jacketed interrogator who knew how to get the most response from the audience. Many were hovering around the wood burning stove because the night had turned quite cool and most of us were from Belo Horizonte, which is lower and warmer. Márcias Mother then introduced a young Presbyterian minister, who gave a half-hour sermon. The evening concluded with a lovely buffet dinner of rice with three entrees, beef filet in mushroom gravy, tuna in a salmon colored sauce, and cod in a rich creamy sauce.
Just after these events we "acquired" a motorista (driver). Armando Rita Nascimento, who recently retired from an office position at the University. He is handsome and athletic, has black and white in his background, and there is a distinguished touch of white in his curly haiir. He owns an old tan VW with a rack on top.
Carlos Gomes Silva, our landlord to be, told us that we could have the house Friday. We went with Armando, our motorista, not in his brown "bug" but with Carlos in his 2 year old white 4 door Fiat. We measured, discussed, tried out all the windows and doors, noted the deficiencies, and received the keys (4 for all the outside doors--those keys to be kept inside were additional). We were then invited to see Carlos house next door. Carlos, a technician in the Vet. School, had a marvelous house. He has a daughter, Paloma, about 6 years old. And his wife, Tánia, teaches Italian, but lived in the United States for a year and needs to practice English with us she says. The front was mostly yard with two canary cages under a covered entrance way for a car, a volley ball court, swimming pool, fogo a lenha for churrascos (outside stove for the equivalent of barbeque type picnics) complete with a full rack of impaling swords, and Palomas pet Himalayan rabbit was grazing among the plantings of hibiscus, two palm trees, bamboo, lime, acerola, and others I didnt identify. The house, extending across the entire back portion of the lot, was two stories high. Downstairs were a utility room, pantry, kitchen, livingroom, social bathroom, and stairway to the next floor (in that order right to left). Upstairs there were two small bedrooms, a regular bathroom and a master bed room with its own bath room and walk-in closet.
Then we returned to Armandos car and he took us to "Shopping del Rey". In 4 shops we received prices on a refrigerator and stove of the brands we wanted. Kit Electric, Aripuá, Ponto Frio, and Graves e Agudos were the stores, the last store being recommended by Marcelo as ready to undercut any other prices. They already had a special on the refrigerator well lower than any of the others and reduced the price on the stove for us. We ended up writing a check for $1.535. The Bras Temp duplex frost free 39ACA refrigerator cost $1.100.00. The stove was a 4 burner Century with acendedor (automatic spark ignited gas stove) for $R435.00. In Brazil the period is a comma and the comma is the period of English usage. Ill remind you that currently one dollar = 0.95 Real so that we were paying about $1.612. The next day, Saturday, we went shopping again at Shopping del Rey and got , among other things, two-liter cartons of Parmalat orange juice for $0.99 each instead of $R1.70, and a beautiful orchid plant with 5 three inch blossoms, purple and white, for $6! By the way, for those of you who didnt read (or forgot about) the noticias 2 years ago like this one, Ill remind you that milk is sold off the floor in cardboard liter boxes, 2. It is held at 145oC for 3 seconds then rapidly refrigerated. If it is boxed on 21 Nov 95, it can last until 21 Mar 96 at room temperature.
We moved into a house on Friday 20 Sep 95. The address is 45 Rua Guarda Custódio, bairro Ouro Preto, 31310-140 Belo Horizonte. The rent is $650 for this ground floor which includes 3 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, kitchen and living room. The kitchen is about 7 feet square with a door which opens inward from the back patio. The livingroom is about 10 x 15 feet and the bedrooms are nearly normal size. The house is underpowered, as are nearly all Brazilian houses from the viewpoint of a first world inhabitant. The landlord is Carlos, a technician at the Vet. School, although I believe the house actually belongs to his wife Tánia. He is very liberal and says we can do anything we want to with the house. He lives next door in a larger house and has two Fiat Uno Mille cars.
The house is unfurnished but does have one armário, one electrically heated shower head, and a built-in seating area in the living-dining room. We now have purchasd a refrigerator and stove for $R1.400 and the next day, another armário made of sucupira wood with a beautiful grain for $R490. Both deliveries came about 6:30 PM as it was getting dark. The stove and refrigerator are BrasTemp brand, one of the most trusted in Brazil, which we just found out is made by Frigidaire. We also bought a white plastic table from Lojas Americanas and two near black plastic chairs from Bon Marché. We still need a clothes washer and dish washer, but the water supply and drain may both be outdoors. Well the stove is all ready!
Saturday, 23 Sep 95, we rented a car from Carlos and with Armando driving we picked up Sr. Luziano Dieguez Perez in eastern BH. He is of Spanish ancestry. He and his grandson showed us how to get to Entre Rios de Minas near Congonhas, MG. On a country estate there, about 50 rich Brasileiros met this day to attend an auction. Senhor Alexandre Mendes Gordo from Lisboa, Portugal had collected 50 homing pigeons that were race champions of Portugal and a few more from Belgium and Germany. He brought them across the ocean to this place of auction. The owner of the fazenda and co-organizer of the auction. Octavio Riveiro Junior, graciously took us up to his house and introduced us to his wife and three other wives of pigeon racing enthusiasts. He then showed us his birds and set up, which was impressive even by US standards. Their rations were whole corn, peas, sunflower seed and pellets. After a few hours viewing the birds and with light refreshments including beer, they started the auction. The host, who is a physician in Belo Horizonte, alternated as auctioneer with a professional cattle auctioneer who was also a pigeon racer. They were loud with an augmented loudspeaker 10 times louder than necessary. They were animated, persuavsive and struck the table several times with the hammer each in an individualistic manner.
Senhor Luziano, who had invited us, had guessed that the birds would sell for about $R150-200 each. They brought much more than that. The highest bid for a single bird was $R820 US. A few youngsters were sold as a group of 4 and a few adults as a pair. All these millionaires were wearing blue jeans and T shirts with an occasional different but non-descript shirt. Beer, whisky and Pepsi were offered during the bidding by a guy moving among the bidders, I suppose to get a better price. Most bid by raising their arms briefly. The pigeon colors were ash red, and blues in T-pattern, check, bar, and few pieds. One had pearl eyes and one youngster was dilute (=dun) check.
I got portions on video tape and talked at length with a dentist from BH who was a beginner at homer breeding. He bought 2 adults and 4 youngsters. I also talked for some time with Antonius Henricus Maria Kneft, an electronic engineer, who told me he had bought equivalent birds here 2 years ago for $80 apiece. He was going to New Orleans next week to give a scientific paper on something to do with mathematics of crossing over!?! But he said he didnt know basic genetics. He had a wife and 4 youngsters attending, two of which were twins, possibly identical. I got them on tape, I hope , to view later. I also learned from Luziano that homers home only from the north of Belo Horizonte, the iron in the mountains confusing them from other directions.
It is now 1 Oct 95, Sunday. We shopped around quite a bit and finally have added a big fan, another armário, a 21"Sony TV, and a Sofa-cama (bed) coming Monday. Carlos has been a big help, offering to put in the washer and a "chuveiro"= shower which was missing in the bathroom of the master bed room. Well he did. He also arranged to have a construction worker from a job next door build my viveiro de aves = bird pen. The labor is to be $150. The front wire is a fine wire "cyclone fence" type for $50. (One of the nice things about Brazil is that they dont have sales tax. If they say it is $R16, 30 for a mosquito net, then that is what you pay!) The price of the bricks and wood is $R88,98. The wood is parajú, a dense reddish 2 meter long board in the form of a rectangular post. They are 1 1/2 inches x 4 ½ inches in cross section. There are about 4 of these plus some 2 5/8 inches square types, but in cm of course. The wire is the interlaced diamond shaped cyclone type but quite fine in diameter. The openings are 5/8 inches across but ¾ inches from corner to corner. Will this hold zebra finches???
On one of our many little trips about town and campus, we found a new tree (what else all the time) called pitanga. It has a fruit like a miniature pumpkin, orange with vertical ribs and a green tip end hanging like a jack-o-lantern, but only 5/8 inch in diameter. It is edible, but slightly acidic. The tree was by one side of ICB (Biology) and a student showed it to us because he saw my interest in another new tree there with seeds mimicking a dried leaf!!
I think I know now why people walk in the center of the smallerstreets-or at least on the side if a car is coming. About ¼ of the sidewalks (or more?) have either a 10-20 degree slope to the gutter, or they have stumble hazards on steep streets to divide one property from another or to guide rain torrents to the gutter. It is simply easiser walking on the street. Further, many sidewalks bordering empty lots are not paved, because the lot owner is responsible for installing the sidewalk, apparently in any way and whatever material he chooses (cement, stone, blocks of wood in grass, etc.). The ground is not often muddy, but it may have ticks on it if any horses have traveled that way. The street doesnt. Moreover, many of the narrow sidewalks are occluded by big trees or tree trimmings or by piles of dirt dug during construction on the property (!) so that one must go off into the street. So I have taken to the streets too!
Walking to work, I go downhill one block east passing bauhinia trees which are popping seeds, then turn south with many more bauhinia. Then I stop and pick up new seeds on the street. They turn out to be ipê seeds something like catalpa. These are from a big tree, therefore, not ipê de jardim, but ipê roxa or amarelo. I turn east again on a downhill unpaved street, cross a tiny stream at the bottom and climb up through a vacant lot with new construction. Roaming free on the vacant lot are a muscovy drake and duck, pied black in color, plus two roosters and several hens, mostly blackish. They are reminiscent of Cornish game type. At least one of the roosters has a three-ridge, pea-shaped comb. I come out on a pe-de-moleque (rough cobble stone) street, cross to the sidewalk with 12 foot high concrete retaining wall with a 4 foot castor bean growing out of the middle of it, walk north to the corner, turn east again on a 20 degree slope sidewalk because half the time a big bus is coming and I am not yet used to being missed by 2 or 3 inches as are the Brasileiros. The next corner divulges students waiting to get into the school there. I continue east, downhill now, under primavera, hibiscus, palm tree, and a rubber tree with dense shade. The next street east, still downhill, has some unknown legume trees. Right where some guard dogs threaten my existence from behind fences, Lo and Behold (!) another new species of legume tree. How do I know? It has a seed pod Ive not seen before. Some are fallen on the street and sidewalk. I brave the din of barking by the 6 or 7 guard dogs of three properties to stop and pick them up. I did this every day for about 2 weeks (except week ends) until I could see no more pods on the pavement. Why this species dropped pods instead of seeds, I dont know. After two weeks the dogs still do not accept me.
After collecting these seeds I reach the bottom of the hill at a boulevard, Avenida Alfredo Camaratti, with a 10 foot deep drainage ditch. I turn south and walk thankfully on the level for a long block. Even while I am on the sidewalk, cars whiz by at 40-60 miles per hour about 1-2 feet from my left elbow. I still havent gotten used to this. Then I cross the traffic to the other side and turn uphill east for the equivalent of two blocks. This is unpaved and I must be careful about ticks here because mounted police go by daily on these paths. This is a boulevard again and now University property. Jacarandá trees are now present among the unknown species of legume trees plus. At this corner coming home, I found a car smashed into the concrete light pole at the bottom turn. A police car was "protecting" the remains of the car. I cross the boulevard to the south as traffic allows and continue to the top of the hill where I turn in the Portão (big gate) with University guards standing by. It is another blocks walk to my department, Zootécnia (Animal Science), which is on the second floor of the Vet. School.
Footnote 3 Feb 96. My walking route now has changed a bit. The vacant lot I walked through is surrounded by a wall now and a house is being built inside it. The chickens and ducks have less forage now. The builders also scraped the sides outside the wall free of plants, although some grew back fast enough. A horse or two are tethered there about once a week, but dont roam free like the three goats on the street in front of our house. I have to walk more within the stream bed each time now to reach the street. Also I found a street, the Rua Expeditionário Bemvindo Belem de Lima, parallel to the one busy with traffic and can use it. So naturally I found a different tree and vine. The tree is the Japanese white mahogany which we first found in Jaboticabal 17 years ago. I dont have its scientific name. Its clusters of grape-sized, round woody fruits are dotted with white, with bright pink seeds inside. I collected several bunches when they ripened, since they do well in the laboratory test for cattle blood types. The new vine has beautiful pink clusters of lantern-shaped blossoms backed by dark green velvety leaves. This new street is better shaded. On the power or telephone lines sit andorinhos (swallows) warming in the sun 14 to 18 inches apart. I counted 37 one morning. Where do they roost? Other birds to be seen here are the oven birds, joão de barro, a family of Guira guira (=anu branco), humming birds, talpacoti doves, wrens, bem ti vei, and a sabia (thrush). The bananaquit can be seen almost anywhere, especially sipping the base of hibiscus flowers. At the southern terminus of this street the gradient is steep! I think it is at least 25 o. I cross the busy boulevard. The two block walk up the hill to the University gate has two Erythrina speciosa trees starting new shoots after being cut down. Also, concrete is being filled in between the vertical concrete posts almost hiding the recreation field.
It is now 12 Oct 95. Today is Childrens Day, a holiday on Thursday-so Friday is a holiday too. Yesterday afternoon while I was walking home and picking up another seed pod from the tree that looked much like a black locust about 14 feet tall, I was met by a nice looking gentleman with graying hair whose name turned out to be J. A. Tavares. Very casually and diplomatically he inquired about my interest in seeds. He spoke very little, if any, English, but we got along OK in Portuguese. I gave him my background and card. He told me the tree was pau-Brasil (!), after which the country is named, and that it was one of the variety that had NO SPINES. He asked if I were using them as lectins! How could he know such a biologically sophisticated thing? Exactamente!" I exclaimed. We were having a 15 minutes conversation when suddently a Taxi driver drove up and pulled up his shirt and showed his scars from an operation. it suddenly dawned on me. "Voce debe ser medico! (You must be a doctor!) He was, and invited me into his home, past his viciously barking dogs, but I declined since it was late and I was trying to get home to Lotus with her knee problem and also to see the stage of construction of my new aviary. On a later occasion he identified a beautiful blooming bush across the street as a flamboyant (flame tree) of the garden, i.e. small. It has the same blossom as the type I so admired two years ago which I also found had been cut down.
On 14 Oct 95, Saturday, Douglas arrived at 10:50Pm on Varig flight 454 having changed his planned arrival from the day before. (He notified us three days before but our e mail wasnt working, so we drove 35 km to the airport twice). We picked him up at Confins airport using Carlos 4 door Fiat with Armando as driver. Carlos had planned to drive the car himself, but had a sore right shoulder for 3 days. [Yo dad! I left a message on the Visa message service 4 days before that flight and leishmaniasis is transmitted by the bite of a bug called the assasssin bug. It is incurable so if mosquitos carried it, it would be a VERY BIG PROBLEM!]
It rained half the time Douglas was here, but he managed to get to the Mangabeiras, the zoo, and Rio Doce for video taking. It was alternatively hot and cold. We got to see his videos of the Pantanál and Rio Doce. He has some really great shots of wildlife. Doug left by bus on Thursday, 1 Nov 95, for "Rio" and then the Galapagos islands, off the coast of Ecuador. His around the world trip must have been something; New Zealand, Australia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Turkey, Greece, Germany, Belgium, USA, then later Brazil, Ecuador (Galapagos), Costa Rica, USA. Maybe hell write it up. We only got pieces.
I came down with the "grippe" before Doug left and had to go to the banheiro a dozen times that one night. I stayed cold and used the heating pad a lot. The aviary is "finished"except for the door. The wood is parajú. I have germinated several seeds now: two mogno (the new popular furniture wood type and the one that has seeds looking like brown plastic with a curious slanted bevel to the end of the winged seed), a biroska (or guarapuruvú), the new Datura, an ipê that was killed by aphids in one day, and a Bauhinia. Our double sweet corn from Iowa has tasseled out by Thanksgiving. Lotus found two big turkey legs by chance at the last minute, so we had turkey and dressing for this holiday. She even made a pumpkin pie two days later from a different squash that was a good as the regular.
Miscellany: I finally can verbalize on more aspects of Brazilian style. The blue jeans are worn long so that 1,2,3 or more horizontal pleats are evident above the shoe.... Most Brazilians dont drink from the pop bottles or cans like Americans. They pour it into clean glasses, except at counters where they dont trust the dishwasher. Wrist watches are worn loose like a bracelet. I am reminded again of how the ants not only use cracks in the concrete to protect their entrances, but even "eat "through unbroken concrete to make a nest opening....I got my membership in SOM = Sociedade Ornitologica Mineira. This will allow me to keep and breed native Brazilian birds like Azulão, curió, tico tico, etc. I was sponsored by Professor Maria Inez Ferolla who started this COA here. Dr. Mario Viegas is now the head of this organization. He is a handsome gray haired gentleman of the old school (kisses the hand of beautiful women like Lotus).
We finally rented a telephone line on 17 Oct 95. Our number is (031) 498-2081.
Eliana had a relapse of sorts and was in the hospital for 3 weeks. She is home again now and gaining weight according to her brother Israel. We were so busy we didnt get to go see her, for which we lose a point or two. We did finally get to see her the first week in December. She has been diagnosed as having porphyria, which produces the symptoms she is displaying now. The USA doctors missed it. Her family fed us on four kinds of meat or cheese treats and guaraná drink, packing it up for us when we had to leave earlier than they expected.
We finally got two cages built to order. A pair of society finches (Manon) is in one now. The male has a crest, and both are pied dark and white. After several days they still dont know how to build a nest. Carlos left his pair of canaries with us on a week end, and I found that the male doesnt feed the young. Brazilian birds are different?!
On Friday and Saturday, 24 and 25 Nov we attended the VII Feira Mineira de Artesanata Nacional show of Brazilian handcraft that we had enjoyed very much two years ago. It was a little different (fewer original paintings for a reasonable price) but on the whole very good. We purchased about $170 Reais worth of stuff, including a hunting club of the Karajá Indians of the Isla de Bananal [tribe Karajá] (the largest island in the world surrounded by fresh water). The club is made of pau Brasil and naturally red in color.
On 28 Nov I came down with another "grippe". By 30 Nov I am just blowing the nose a lot. The night of 1 Dec was really bad with stomach cramps. (How many times do I have to change my intestinal flora?) I have felt colder during this spring than during the winter. At least there were more hot days in August and September than in October and November. the temperature inside the house has been 60-65o F almost every night. At least in the rainy season the pernilongos (mosquitos) disappear.
I cant avoid mentioning one lab result that is just beautiful. My lectins extracted from seed have yielded 10 reagents showing good individual differences. The last one is classic. Pachyra aquatica, a "silk" tree from Guiana did not react (zero reaction) with three Nelore cattle but reacted completely and rapidly (4 = total reaction) with 3 other Nelore! Two years ago I had sent back some of these seeds to the French lab, but neither I nor the lab here have heard anything about it.
Sunday, 10 Dec 95, Lotus and I tried another restaurant 3 blocks from our house, south, up the hill. I walked and bought a newspaper, Estado de Minas (State of Minas), while Lotus caught a bus up the hill. The paper cost $1.50. We tried the Cervejana ("beer joint") there. The pleasant second story balcony, two tables wide and 5 long, provides a wide view of lacy street trees and small mountains on the skyline. Since its on a hill, the entrance is only 3 or 4 steps up from the sidewalk. We chose maminha de alcatra (200 grams), arroz com alho, vinagrete, and sucos de laranja to drink. The alcatra cut of beef is grilled on a sword, then sliced at your table onto an alchohol heated metal plate (chapa) You can let it become "bem pasada" or even more well done, if you want to. The rice with garlic was 10 X our desired capacity. The angu was molded corn meal mush. And the vinagrete was tomato, onion, and sweet red pepper in "tempered" vinegar and olive oil.
At noon on the 15th we participated in the Vet. School Christmas party, which was a churrasco (= barbeque) in the adjoining recreation area. That (Friday) night, we went to a catered party by Carlos and Tánia for a 90 year old Argentine-born friend, Chalita. She liked my Castilian "lingo". Then Saturday we sent to a Xmas party give by Luiz and Mercia Pinheiro in their newly stone-paved back yard and we got to say hello to the rest of his family. He had invited some American singers to sing Xmas songs for us in English and Portuguese. The leader was Alan Pratt, who had 5 (?) of his children and wife Patricia with him. He was a Rock Star some years back and then "saw the light" and became a sort of missionary. They put an upbeat easy "rock" to missionary purposes. The two older girls swayed attractively between the two guitar playing boys for most of the songs. Then their youngest daughter, about 7 years old, starred in the penultimate song. Alan sang the last song, Cantique de Noel, exhibiting a very talented voice. They "sold" (give a contribution) some video tapes and regular tapes after entertaining us. They only brought one in English which was entitled "Break Out" for which I gave $10. They are up beat, lively songs and well done. They are living in Sabará now, a small town close to Belo Horizonte and much older.
Sunday we were going to visit Monica Maakaroun and husband Aldemar Castro, both oftalmologistas (eye doctors) at their country condominium after meeting them at Tánias party. Monica had spent some years in Baltimore and Boston working on degrees and was now working on a Masters degree in Neurosurgery. But it was rainy and we didnt go. Lotus went off to Del Rey Shopping and I cut cardboard for cage bottoms and nests and went to sleep. When Lotus came home and woke me up, I heard the cotton candy man honking his horn as he walked down the middle of the street.
On the 21st we had the Zootecnia Xmas party, much like the one 2 years ago with songs by Gilberto, the retired veterinarian. This time Dr. Bergman had vistors from the USA, Dr. William D. Hohenboken and wife, Lynda. They were from the Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Blacksburg, VA. They knew Dr. Sponenberg, whom I had met at a meeting in Kansas some years ago. At that time I hope I influenced him when a tabby tortoishell cat walked in front of us as I was describing one (which the text books cant account for).
We finally arranged to buy a car, Chevrolet Monza, with automatic everything including shift so that Lotus could drive it. It is a 1989 four door gray sedan, $9,000 Reais "a vista". The second owner was Antonio Valdir Cunha da Silva, a Masters degree student at the Vet. School 2 years ago and now a University teacher in Belem at the mouth of the Amazon, and namorado of a sister of Marcelo. He had to have an automatic shift since his leg is partially disabled. We paid $2.000 and faxed our Bank in Ames for the rest. The fax didnt get off until 5 days later! Five days after theyd wired us that they had sent it, it still had not shown up in our account. That was only one day before Waldir planned to start back home from São Paulo where he had gone to spend Christmas and buy a newer model Monza. By that time we had flown perhaps a thousand miles for our Christmas (summer) vacation and were returning, via São Paulo, to Belo Horizonte, well aware that we had not paid for the car setting in our car port and that Waldir needed a vehicle to drive 2.000 miles back to his job. Marcelo Kuabara, of our lab, who had arranged for the car sale in the first place, demonstrated a mastery of the Brazilian art of "dar jeito" (resolving an insoluble problem) in absentia by finding that our bank clerk didnt know we wanted the money put into our account(!!), and also arranged that Waldir could get the money on Saturday. So everything was solved at the last minute, as usual. The license number is GPC9719 and the license costs $119,50 per year.
Our son Alan arrived Tuesday, 19 Dec 95 from San Jose, via San Francisco and Miami to brighten our holidays. Weds. evening our genial neighbor and landlord, Carlos, gave us a private churrasco in his walled, well-appointed front yard. [Thursday was when we tried out Waldirs car (newly arrived from the Amazon) decided to buy it, gave him a partial payment and he signed the "sale by owner"document.] At 1 PM we attended the Veterinary and Zootecnia School staff Christmas dinner, served buffet style in the hall, and were able to hear Dr. Gilberto play his guitar and sing folk songs.
Saturday 23 Dec. we flew by Varig Brazilian airlines to São Paulo (25 minutes late in starting), and thence to Iguassu Falls, starting 45 minutes late after changing departure gates twice! We had arranged a package deal in which we were met by Cassino Tur (tour) and taken to the Hotel International where we got room 1214 in an 18 floor round hotel. Excellent buffet breakfasts were included, as usual in Brazil, with several kinds of fresh fruits (usually pineapple, watermelon and Amazon papaya) and breads, toasts, rolls both plain and fruit-filled, cake, butter and jam and baked bacon and really good scrambled eggs in a chafing dish, plus 3 kinds of fresh fruit juices, usually orange, maracujá (passion fruit) and cajú (cashew). After you chose a table from which you could see the swimming pool and tropical vegetation, a pot of hot milk and a pot of hot coffee appeared on the table, with which you could make your own mix of cafe com leite, or cafe au lait. On the day of Christmas Eve we went to the Brazilian side of the Foz Iguaçu (Guaraní Indian name for Great Waters). Our tour guide, Celio, did not speak much English, but his Portuguese was more understandable by us all than most we talked to. The pronunciation of Portuguese in this southern region is reminiscent of Spanish. On the way we saw the great Kiskadee, Pitangus sulphuratus, and the fork-tailed flycatcher, Muscivora tyrannus. We started by watching the quati (coati mundi, cousin of the racoon) which were roving in the dozens, if you include the youngsters, among the tourists. A couple of the young were dark and could have been chinchilla color, but all others were agouti colored. Riding with us in our well-outfitted microbus were two young men, one German and one Mexican, who were both working in São Paulo, and Alan and they took a Helicopter ride to see the falls. Then we started a kilometer walk down to the major falls that accounts for 80% of the water. On the way we saw plenty of other falls. There are 272 falls according to one pamphlet, and they were formed 150-120 million years ago.
I saw a green tanager (?), a sabia= thrush, the purplish jay (Cyanocorax cyanomeles), lizards including one 2 feet long, a red-breasted toucan, 3 toco toucans (Ramphastos toco),and a chestnut-eared Aracari (Pteroglossus castanotis). Many urubú = black vultures (Coragyps atratus), neotropical cormorant, Phalacrocorax olivaceus, egrets (probably the Great Egret, Casmerodius albus), and black crowned night herons. There were also hawks and what we presumed to be fruit crows. The walkway out to the lower falls over the volcanic rocks was just below the Devils Throat, a great horseshoe of roaring falls, and we were sprayed pretty well. There was a complete rainbow below us! We didnt have much time for shopping in the shops off to the side, but we watched the Great Dusky Swifts, Cypseloides senes, fly through the falls to the perches or nests under the overhang. An elevator took Lotus and I up to the top. The two stage falls descends 82 meters, but the elevator goes up less than half of that since practically no one gets to the bottom.
On the way back to the hotel we stopped at a big tourist shop with many interesting items including enormous amethyst "logs"
That night (Christmas Eve) we had the traditional supper (Ceia) in the Hotel restaurant. The food----including wine, was really good; but the bill came to $75 (Alans treat). Christmas day we went to the Bird Park = Parque das Aves, which is just outside the Brazilian National Park. They had 160 species of birds, the majority native to Brazil. The many cages were spacious with two large flight cages (perhaps 150 feet long); the birds were well cared for and accurately labelled, prices in the snack bar and souvenir shop were more reasonable than anywhere else we looked; and we recommend this as a must if you are in the region.
Several red rumped caciques, Cacicus haemorrhorus, landed on our shoulders, arms and head in the first big flight cage, and then on our hands where they pried open our fingers looking for ?insects? underneath?! Two Englishmen were in charge of the operation of the park while the owner was waiting for an operation. Both were from Great Britain but knew the owner during their years in Africa. All three had returned to England in order to retire there. John Leggett was a mining engineer (mostly computer work) in Africa, and had switched to computer work in England in anticipation of retirement. Insects were his hobby and the owner had persuaded him to join him after he started the bird park (at his wifes suggestion) in order to start a butterfly garden enclosure. However, John was currently preoccupied with managing the finances of the park and was one of the directors. The owner made his fortune in silver of which he had plenty when the Hunt brothers of the USA tried to corner the market a few years back. John gave us a pass for a free return to see the back woods down to the river. Stuart Kearsley with strikingly patterned gray eyes was the other English friend of the owner and in charge during his absence.
That night we had Christmas dinner with a girl, Linda Larach, and her father who had met Alan in the Bird Park. Alan, our son, had put her up to confronting me in the Park and asking if I was the "famous geneticist". I was non-plussed, but she couldnt keep up the charade. We decided to meet in the city. Some places were closed so we ended up eating at the Arabé Carneiro de Ouro listed in the Quatro Rodas Guide Book; it was Lebanese food, mostly quite good. Linda works for the World Bank in Asuncion, Paraguay, in the area of education and social services and her father, of Lebanese extraction, is a medical doctor in Honduras.
The 26th we took a Safari ride and walk in the woods down to the river and a boat ride up the rapids to the falls. It was wet, but we dried out well later. Of course, we snapped about 11 rolls of film on the vacation. That afternoon we used the free pass to see the bird park again and did take the walk down an overgrown path through the wild woods. I saw two trees that reached more than 100 feet, and one over 150 feet tall. We saw a toucan and a hawk only. Lotus stopped about 3/4 of the way when the gradient got steep over some rocks and Alan and I went on down to a fishermans hut by the river. It was primitive, but he could live cheaply there raising bananas, other fruit trees and eating fish as well. Otherwise he was a bus driver!
The 27th we went to the Argentina side. On the way the guide stopped on a bridge over the river Iguaçu and pointed out Paraguay at the T-shaped confluence where the Iguaçu runs into the Parana River at right angles. Argentina is on the left and Brasil is on the right of the Iguaçu. Later we saw the outside of the Argentine International Hotel, within the Argentine National park, which was a landmark from the Brazilian side. We added a plush crested jay (Cyanocorax chrysops), and the already mentioned Toco toucan (the largest toucan) in the wild. The scenery was completly different in aspect but we got close to the falls themselves. The shops there were a bit expensive but one peso = one real = one dollar. More flowers were evident on this side of a different kind. The golden web spider was abundant. Lizards were more numerous.
That evening I sent Alan off with my empty suitcase which had been damaged on the baggage conveyer on arrival at the airport. Alan got them to buy me a new one! Next morning Alan left at 5 AM for Belem, and Lotus and I left at 11 for Belo Horizonte. The departure room seemed to have giants in it. I suddenly realized that ordinarily the people around me in Brazil included perhaps 5% who were taller than I, and generally, the rest could walk under my horizontal arm (Im 5 10"). But in this room (perhaps predominantly German and Italian heritage ?) the general size was definitely taller than I.
In São Paulo we had 3 hours between flights. Hurriedly we found the Banco do Brasil and found that our $7,000 had finally arrived, but they used the lowest commercial exchange so it became only $6,601! This at a time when the parallel dollar just became equal to one Real! We called Marcelos mother and she told us how to transfer it to the car owner (through Marcelos account).
The last leg of our journey home, from São Paulo to Belo, was delayed, perhaps waiting for more passengers. We ended up with 6. And they had been telling us how hard it was to get reservations during the holiday season! At the Confins airport we called Carlos and Tánia 498-2317 to get OUR CAR from our carport to drive us back.
2 Jan 96 = midsummer. It has been cold (62oF) almost every night. I have used the heating pad almost every night. It has been so rainy that it broke a 30 year record already! The past several days- even weeks - it has rained 2-3-4 or 5 times a day, sometimes very hard. But only one day had no sun!
This is true through 11 Jan 96 (so far). Nevertheless, you can assess the amiability of the climate by the fact that doors and windows are left open most of the time. Try that in Iowa one of these days!
Alan returned from his long-distance trips to Belem, San Luiz, and Cuiabá, then hiked to the lovely nearby forest reserve/natural park of Caraça with Leonardo, son of Luiz Pinheiro, and later went out on the town with him. Sunday morning we went to the weekly street fair on Alfonso Pena street in front of the city park in the Centro. This is a big fair with a few hundred booths. Lotus and I concentrated on paintings while Alan roved all over. We bought three small painting by an armless man, Pio. His paintings by foot were just as good as most were by hand.
Alan came down with sinusitis from grippe he got from a tourist in Cuiabá. We took him to a doctor on Monday, the day he was to leave for California. Every place was closed until the afternooon except for a heart hospital which was open 24 hours a day. For $70 he got an appointment which lasted 5 minutes. He got a prescription for a $30 shotgun" antibiotic for it, and felt well enough that afternnoon to shop for some semiprecious stones. Then he left at 11:15 PM on United for Miami and San Francisco.
Vestibular has had a second run of 3 days. This is an exam for students wanting to get into college (free if they pass!). All non-essential personnel are excluded from the sites of examination (major buildings like the one our lab is in). So I had three days off (ruining our immunization plans as well). We needed the time to start working on the process of putting our new car in our name and paying the new years taxes on it. We planned to do this on Wednesday with Armandos help. We planned to go to 3 places to accomplish this. We ended up going to 7 places necessary for this and didnt even finish after using up Wednesday and Thursday. We would have had to stand in line for many hours, but Armando told the guards we were "idosos" each more than 70 years of age. So we got special dispensation and got to the head of the line. Also we used a "despachante"(expeditor) to speed other things up. One thing we couldnt speed up was a line of cars 3 blocks long waiting to be verified as to identity (by inspection of the number on the engine).
Saturday, 13 Jan 96, we were invited by our new "neighbor" upstairs. Pedro Paulo Netto e Silva, to go out to a place that had lots of native birds! We picked up his brother (?), Joao Carlos who owns the CASA DE RAÇOES PAQUETA, a bird feed and supply store. Then we drove out of the city a few kilometers to the north, turned on to a rough road and traveled perhaps a km more of turns to a sitio(?) owned by Roberto Azeredo, cousin of the governor. Once inside we were greeted by furious barking and activity by any of 8 Fila Brasilera dogs which were in 12 foot square cages or in runs. They were definitely guard dogs! We saw Alma-de-gato", Piaya cayana, and Rolina doves, Columbia talpacoti, on the way in. The place was fantastic!
With the permission of IBAMA, the governmental environmental agency, he had 75 endangered species of native birds which he was trying to breed, in order to release into the wild. Besides many ordinary cages there were big flight cages for smaller birds including the white bell bird with a brown streaked female, and bicudo, curió, azulão, several species of tanager including the brilliant 7 colored one and some others including several species of doves and pigeons including the violet dove, Claravis pretiosa. Luis Fábio was an assistant there. He remembered us from two years ago on a field trip with the local bird club, COA!
Well the most fantastic aspect there was the many individuals and many species of Tinamou (Ratites) and Crax types (more or less pheasant relatives). We saw some glossy intense robins egg blue, and brown eggs from the Tinamous. They use a "chocadeira" (incubator) in which they turn the eggs by hand since the commercial egg turners shift the egg but dont actually turn it like parents do. This plus cooling daily increases hatchability substantially. I was reminded of Dr. Hollanders pouring room-temperature water over muscovy duck eggs once a day for the same reasons.
The Crax types were turkey sized. They were everywhere including many loose in the surrounding "mata" or original forest. We remember seeing the names Crax fasciolata, C. alector, C. blumenbachii. C. globulosa, Mitu mitu and Penelope, but there were perhaps 6 more curassow types. There were several species of guan also. I was surprised to see several ninhos (nests) of the Crax from head high to 12 feet high in the trees. One large flight cage had 75 crax due to be released back into the wild, but they were having trouble finding a forest where the birds would not be hunted. I heard many strange vocalizatons including several types of "whistles" (alarm notes of several species [?] that I could imitate whistling through my teeth) and a "barking" quite reminiscent of a dog. There were also quero-quero (Southern lapwing) = Vanellus chitensis, horned screamers, Anhima cornuta,( a goose relative), and a Psophia (all black species).
There was a rare harpy eagle, Harpia harpyja, whose mate to be was coming from Germany in February. This is the largest eagle species in the world. Another crested eagle called false harpy, zone tailed and barred on the front, was also there. After 3 hours we started home. I was surprised to see the onibus 1183 stopped at the junction with the highway. The city busses go a long way into the country because slum housing makes a strip city of the highway.
On Monday, 15 Jan 96 Pedro Paulo brought a dove breeder to visit me, Castelo Branco Pedro Diniz. Castelo has left his address and number with Marcelo in order for me to contact him, but I have been so busy that I havent had time and having no doves here, had nothing to show him. But we drove over to Castelos house and saw many species.
What is so unusual in Brazil is that Castelo is not rich, but had managed to keep over a dozen species of doves. Even better, he knows scientific names! He has Geotrygon montana, Streptopelia senegalensis,Columba guinea, Columba speciosa (a beautiful big pigeon), C. palumbus, C.oeas(or is that Oena capensis), C. picazuro, and C. cayennensis. He has Claravis pretiosa, Columbina minuta, ( and probably Uropelia campestris and Metriopelia melanoptera), a zebra dove from India (or nearby) Geopelia cuneata or striata, the Australian crested dove, Ocyphaps lophotes, the eared dove, Zenaida auriculata, diamond doves of 3 colors, and 9 colors of ringneck dove that he calls Streptopelia decaocto (dark, blond, white, tangerine, pearled, white, blackeyed white, pied and Pied with normal eyes)! Most of his pied have minimal white spotting, and I have postulated that such should have normal eyes on rare occasions. But here it is common! Perhaps this pied is a separate, independent mutation? [Note added Dec 99--It seems likely that this pied could be the homozygous frosty?]
He has one of the quail species from the USA as well. I cant remember the name, but it is not the bob white nor valley nor mountian quail...maybe Mearns quail? His address is Rua DN. 269, Bairro Serrano, Belo Horizonte (telephone 441-6768= where he works I think).
My aviary has not been finished yet. It seems to go in spurts. I do have one cage of 3 female "manon" = society finches. They are dark pied, two with "topete"= crest. I got two from the Casa de Curió three blocks south and one block east of our house. They had African Cape doves, mascara ferro, for $80 a pair; Peking robin, for $35 each, and calafate canela, Java Rice birds, for $40 for cinza (gray). They also had Monsenhor for $100 a pair.
I found another Datura in the Vet. School tub pots. So I went looking for Jesus. (Did I hear some gasps!) He is the gardener. He promised to conserve or salvar the plant for my later lab use (but he did not). He also identified a tree growing in front of the Vet. library as a fedegoso which blooms yellow when it has flowers. It has a pleasing growth structure and only gets to 4 meters high? I have not run across it in any of the tree books I have had nor the one we bought here.
Our two orchids are growing new stems. One is labled Bic. Waikiki gold "Lea x Bic. American Heritage. It has not yet bloomed, but we hope it will this year.
We will write more about our trip to Diamantina, but for now see these two remarkable photographs. See Gruta do Salitre.
Today is Sunday, 28 Jan 96, the sixth day without rain. Lotus took off by onibus for Campinas which is hosting the national Ornithology meeting. The bus station has only a few hundred in it, since Sunday is a slack day. I contrasted it with the airport at Foz Iguaçu which had lots of tall people. Here I found only one guy taller than I, although there were several as tall as I am. Lotus took a Marco Polo bus which had six steps up to the riders level. Armando ran to get her a bottle of water for $1 when she heard a guy chanting Agua...Agua..." She wasnt the only one who bought a bottle. Most, however, had the forethought to bring their own. Lotus had planned to do so, but found it too heavy to carry??
Wednesday, Dennis Poague picked up the Monza to fix it up. He found a dead bat on the radiator (!) with a moth in its mouth. A gasket was getting worse and needed replacing. The rear brakes also were nearly worn down. He found that the car had been repainted (and he said not a good job either) which usually happens only after an accident or crash. A rear light was out also. He returned it Saturday.
TV shows from USA that are currently popular are Kung Fu, the red haired lady detective, Robo Cop...and various movies. I havent seen enough local ones yet. But on Sunday at noon channel 5 sbt/Alterosa has a program which pits two beautiful bikini-clad women against two handsome muscular men in a water tub tossing out soap while prevented by the "partner". Later they danced the Brazilian samba. Still later they have a mud wrestling contest and then are washed off by attendants (a man for the women; and a woman for the men). The washing is shown is great detail by the camera and takes over 5 minutes. Faustão is still on also, on channel 12.
The paina trees are blooming now about the first of February. Quaresmeira ("Lent") trees have been blooming during January and before, and presumably will continue through Easter. Flamboyant bloomed about 6 weeks before Xmas. Ipê bloomed around November or before. Ill have to get that phenology straight next year. Lotus was told that the tall grass which is now blooming (Feb) is elephant grass from Africa. It blooms at shoulder high to 12 feet.
Well today, 17 Feb 96, Saturday, we planned to go out to...Prof. Claudios place in Lagoa Santa to pick up our former caretaker Fátima and her daughters Raquel and Julia for some shopping at Del Rey and jogando chadrez (playing chess) at our home. Armando came before 8 AM to drive us. Just past the Policia Rodoviara Estadual Posto #10 (State Highway Police Post #10 ) we hit a fallen coil spring on the speed bump or "spring breaker" which wraped itself around our left rear axle and punctured the tire. We made it to a "borracharia" or "rubber repair"shop about a km away. This one was in a thatch roofed shed where local fruit (small pineapple, passionfruit. papaya, pequí) was also being sold, but the proprietor removed the offending spring and fixed the tire for $3 Reais. While we were waiting we toured the open-air restaurant nestled beneath the tall trees down the slope behind the tire repair shop. We looked for monkeys in the trees while our guide told us the owners had remodeled the building from a cattle shed of colonial vintage which was built of local "noble" trees now protected by law, and antique roof tiles.
So we got to Fátima and daughters late. But she showed us around the orchard in back of Prof. Claudios house which included mandioca, Jatobá trees, mulberry, banana, dwarf coconut, pequí in fruit, and other. Pequí is a famous native fruit that requires great care in eating. It has to be baked or cooked and then only partly eaten or the spines on the seed will get you.
It is the size of a tomato and smells to me like an apple/orange. Fátima fed us carrot cake and maracujá (passion fruit) drink.
We started home before noon to take them to a shopping center. We got as far as the Posto #10 when our car overheated and died on the aforementioned speed bump. We got help from the police and pushed it across traffic to their post. They looked it over, watered the dry cooling system which boiled over, and then called an electric system specialist. He didnt arrive very soon so we called our insurance help number. Meanwhile the specialist arrived and said it needed a "correa dentada". He went back to Belo Horizonte looking for one. The insurance companys tow truck arrived about when they returned without the belt. The consensus was that the car couldnt be fixed there. All this took 4 hours. The police were very nice. They had given us chairs to sit in in the shade. There was a Sargent Queiroz and a (private?) Santos as well as three others. We managed to send Fátima and daughters back to their home with the tow truck driver. We got a free taxi ride back to Belo Horizonte, courtesy of our insurance company. Very seldom do ones plans in Brazil go the way one expects!!!
Dennis came over Wednesday after Carnavál to check out the car. He put the front end on metal supports and removed the overhead cam and gasket block to be ground down. He said 10 minutes at the shop in Ames, Iowa could fix it, but here....We loaned him a plug-in rechargeable flashlight, which we had brought from the USA, called First Alert, to see better. I think we paid $12 for it. He said he had been looking for just this type here, and found it ---for $67.
On 2 and 3 March (Saturday and Sunday) Professora Maria Ignez Ferolla, now retired, took us to the COA (Clube de Observadores dos Aves) trip to a research station of Embrada "(like our USDA) near Sete Lagoas. We stayed overnight but did not use their swimming pool nor billiards tables. It took over an hour to get there so after we arrived we ate a Brazilian breakfast of bread, butter, cheese and milk about 9 AM. Our party consisted of 3 cars. We walked southeast to a gruta (cave) observing species of birds and the (to us) fantastic Brazilian plants. A burrowing owl lived close to where our rooms were. There were cows of various ages in different parts (mostly gir). We passed some "wild" goiaba (guava) trees and so picked fruit as we walked to add to our breakfast. The limestone caves had been carved by water action it appeared. Half of us didnt go into the cave part since it involved some difficult acrobatics on a slanting tree trunk, etc. But the entrance area was fantastic enough with several openings and erosion carved structure.
At 12:30 we had lunch and rested until 4 PM. Then we went off to see the ninhal (rookery) of 4 species of herons. The grass was wet and we got rained on, but the rookery was worth it. The herons sail in beautifuly. There were lots of young of various ages. The big dark youngster was a black capped night heron I concluded after seeing the parents. The young of the cattle egret (native to Africa) included a tan-like crest and stripe down the back. The little egret, Egretta thula, and the great white heron, Camerodius albus, were the most numerous. We saw them feeding, and some fighting. I suppose there were about 1,000 birds in a rather small area nesting and roosting on trees. A few "outriders" evidently were not paired, and roosted further away. One was several hundred feet away and a pigeon, Columba plumbea, flew in a few feet away from him and stayed about 10 minutes on the skyline for me. There were frequent flights of pair of single plumbea and Columba picazuro overhead as well as larger groups of parrots. The reeds around the rookery were full of chestnut-capped blackbirds, Agelaius ruficapillus. The pasture had lots of white-browed blackbirds, Sturnella superciliaris. These have a striking red breast and are about 1,000 km south of their supposed range!
We ate around 7 PM and went out looking for an owl, but it had departed its nest in the rafters of a porch. We had to explain ourselves to the Embrapa security police, but they seemed satisfied at Elianas explanation. The next morning we again went to the rookery. This time I picked up some legume seeds that seemed ripe. One type seemed to consist of three species depending on the leaf narrowness and pod size. There were lots of sensitive plants also with the pink pompom blossoms and reactive leaves. Then we went back to the area of another cave, seeing several cattle on the way . But some of us didnt start early enough and didnt get all the way. But we did see a giant snail (about 4 inches long and two wide) by the path and a marmoset, Callithrix sp. (brown with a white forehead spot). Best of all was the incoming flight of two species of parrots. The larger one was mostly green with red on the "wrist", Aratinga leucophthalmus. The smaller one was the canary winged Brotogeris chiriri.
Other birds included olivaceous cormorants, tree creeper, sparrow hawk, house wren, yellow headed caracará and relative the black vulture, a falcon (Milvago chimachima), the aplomado falcon, the white tipped ground dove (Leptotila verreauxi), a pipit (Anthus lutescens), lapwing, smooth billed ani, guira cuckoo, squirrel cuckoo, rufous fronted thornbird, great Kiskadee flycatcher, monjita, ruddy ground dove (Gallicolumba talpacoti), tropical flycatcher, bananaquit, and a purple throated euphonia. We visited three more lakes and saw jacanas, coots of some sort, and parrots flying in to eat milo(!). By one lake the smaller herons flew in to roost with a couple of cormorants in the tall eucalyptus trees (about 90 feet up). The group recorded 57 species, some only by ear. The surprising thing to most Americans would be their knowledge of the scientific name of all the birds!
Henrique was the most knowlegeable about birds, second only to Maria Inez. He remembered us from 2 years ago and was quite helpful. Also Helena was very nice and remembered Lotus very well. She was the organizer of this trip. Maurice, who wants to work with wild animals, was a veterinary student new to this group, but he knew his birds well. Vania, who was quite knowledgable, was another woman in the group.
I dont think I have described the plants in our front "Yard". There is a croton 8 feet tall, palmettos, a beautiful pink hibiscus always blooming and masses of white and orange primavera (bougainvillea) up to 12 feet overhead. The walk from the front gate to the porch has that strange coarse grass between the board steps.
Casuarina trees grow in our north neighbors yard. They look like pines, but are more ancient and have needles jointed like horsetail rushes. Some seed from them blew into my milk carton "mudas"= starts --i.e. seedling growths. At least 3 seedling casuarinas are doing well. They branch into several very fine = thin green limbs early.
Mid-March has the paineira trees blooming pink and the spathodia trees (native to Africa) blooming red-orange. The spathodia trees bloom over a longer period of time.
Our Mogno (mahogany) bed is supposed to be of the better types. It fell down on my side. It had 7 places with brads=little nails fastening it to the side board. The side board warped out and loosened the fit. The brads had given way. With Armandos help we put in 14 screws and have not had trouble again (yet).
On Friday 22 March, Lotus and I joined the first field trip of an ecology class taught by Rodrigo Matta Machado, who took his PhD in Georgia on agroecosystems (sustainable farming). The class was composed entirely of freshman veterinary students. We travelled 6 hours to get to the National Park of Caparaó (water which falls). There were 49 students in two buses. Some of the boys broke into team songs with words which the teacher said were better not translated. They kept this up off and on and mostly ON for the entire 6 hours. Rodrigo also mentioned that they didnt know the meaning of sexual harrasment. Every town we went through had some young girls on the sidewalks, etc. who were treated to banging on the sides of the bus and hoots and howls of approval. At one place where we ate, 12 of the boys got behind a trio of young beauties and followed them for some distance. The 9 girl students took all this "in their stride" and some even seemed to expect having their bill caps pulled off their heads and similar attentions. I noted the words on the various bill caps. There were: Boston, Nike, Bulls, Yankees, Martins, Oceans, Tortuga and Agricolo. There were more that I missed, of course, but note that 2 of the 8 were in Portuguese! This is a much higher percent of words in Portuguese than the T-shirts bear.
Caparaó Park includes the third highest park in Brazil and is on the borderline between the state of Espirito Santo and Minas Gerais. It is a wild spot and rather high in altitude (3,000-4,000 ft). We stayed overnight in a blue concrete igloo for an agreed upon reduced price (for two) of $41.95 for the night including an excellent supper and breakfast. We required a blanket (and quilt that we had been advised to bring). Some boys stayed up past 4 AM in order to see the comet (which no one had told us about) and generally carouse. The next morning we were waiting for breakfast by 7 AM and saw tens of canario-da-terra (a brilliant yellow and orange finch), quero-quero, flycatchers, talpacoti doves, hummingbirds, Joao de Barro, and a black-faced Dacnis male (white belly, blue body) Dacnis lineata acquatorialis.
Well, breakfast was supposed to be at 7 but didnt occur until past 7:30 AM. We got a bus ride another km and then had to walk up to the auditorium of the park headquarters. A large brass plaque honoring ornithologist Helmut Sick had been mounted in front by COA. The park director gave us an orientation talk and showed slides of the area. Then we walked up and up past big Embauva (Cecropia) trees and other species, some laden with ferns and bromeliads....to some small falls cascading down over bedrock and attractive rapids then on to a limestone cave with crossbedding at angles suggesting that two BIG rocks had fallen to make the triangular cave with a falls inside. Lotus had hard going on steep, poorly maintained trails with her Bengala (cane) and knee problem, but she made it, with help from me and typically helpful Brazilians. I pointed out that one of the plants we saw by the path was toxic (nettle-like sting). It had the same blossom and berry as that at Iguaçu Falls, which one of our companions there verified by accident was toxic!
Capara-Ó means falling water, but not the same kind as caehoeira. It obviously comes from an Indian name. As we walked along the path, Rodrigo pointed out various ecological aspects including the fact that the top 4 inches of brown soil in the soil profile had more organic matter and was more fertile than the nutrient deficient red soil below it, that the Cecropia tree is a pioneer species and, therefore, indicates a clearing at the time it became established, and that the evergreen Araucaria angustifolia tree by the path represented the northern outpost of a large forest in the southern states of Brazil which has been largely eliminated by lumbering. We returned to the lower lands to see how a combination coffee plantation-dairy farm has (with the help of the extension service) established an agroecosystem by adding the cow manure to earthworm beds and using the resulting rich soil to fertilize the hillside coffee farm. A German cooperative group inspects the operation from time to time and pays twice as much for the "organically grown" coffee as the going market price. By this time some students had latched on to the fact that I knew some genetics and I was plied with questions. I even was able to point out a near wild-type colored cow lacking only the gray muzzle ring. I was telling them other things also which they said no one in the University knew about. ....
Thursday, 4 April 96 we started our Easter vacation--at 3:30 AM! At that time Dilton, who is a veterinarian in Betim as well as a member of COA (Clube dos Observadores das Aves), picked us up by the Coca Cola plant on a nearby highway. We were off to the Forest Reserve of Linhares, 765 kilometers to the east in the state of Espirito Santo. The reserve comprises 22,000 hectares, much of which is virgin Atlantic rain forest and shelters a large number of endangered animals and plants. It is about 10 km wide and 4 times as long, and lies about 10 km from the ocean. Driving in the dark on a Federal highway (#262) instead of a state highway or city street means that only occasionally does one encounter chuckholes, and sometimes if you are lucky there is a yellow median line and a white line on the side of the road. The town of Manhaucu has 15 lombadas = ondulacão = quebra molas = speed bumps. There was fog on the road, but sometimes the clouds were in the valley below us and sometimes above us. Palm trees changed from our coqueira type to "feather duster" ( possibly Orbignya speciosa, the babassu palm) type, then a little fan palm. Our speed was usually 90km/hour but sometimes we reached 140 km/ hour--all on winding and mountain roads.
We arrived at noon, were admitted by the guard at the gate and found the Pousada Verde house which had 6 or 7 bunk rooms (and a library with 6 books) and a similar number upstairs. We were surprised to find an air conditioner high above the window. It worked if you could reach it. We needed it in the afternoon but needed a blanket at night. Lotus and I got an "end" room (about 7 x 10 ft) next to the womens bathroom. Our room was panelled in wood on all 6 "sides" and was furnished with a free-standing closet (called an armário). The boys bathroom had 5 showers . All was quite well constructed for Brasil. But the water wasnt working that afternooon since the mayor of Vitoria and his retinue were staying in the VIP structures to the east of us and they got all the water. The luxurious rooms were for vacationing politicians!! They even had a swimming pool.
The next morning we had our first experience with the network of named dirt roads in the park which enabled you to drive out through the forest to a known point, park, and then start walking along the road to watch for birds, etc. We drove out along Flamengo Road to Oiticica Road with Henrique and Vania and heard a cricrio or tropeiro (muledriver) bird, which answers any kind of loud call, and saw a yellow headed woodpecker, a bell bird, 3 trinca-ferra (saltators) eating fruit, 5 toucanets with a yellow upper bill and lower black bill, and urubuzinho in the top of a dry tree. We walked 2 km to a broad marshy area with cattails, rushes, and young trees dotted throughout, with a creek running through. Here Vania found in a high tree on the left the endangered urubú rei = King vulture, with a juvenile over a foot tall!! After watching us walk around perhaps 100 yards from them they finally flew off. I hope our photos and video turn out well. We also saw a red headed vulture that Henrique said was a yellow headed vulture, a brown ant bird, beija flor (flower kisser) or hummingbird, baleira, red rumped caicique, tuim parrolets, several talpacoti doves, euphonias...I found quite a few seeds including tapeiriba and terminaria. Some ant-lion inverted cones in the sand reminded me of Oklahoma. The other party of observers reported seeing a black onça = jaguar. There are 366 species of birds listed for the area.
That night a morcega (bat) was flying in our hallway. I assume it was not a vampire bat. The next day we saw the "mudas" of many species of trees that they grow in a nursery there. It was extensive including 2 square blocks. Saturday all the rest of the bird club left for Belo Horizonte except for Dilton and us. We sent out on the Bicuicba road without wearing our protective leather leggings. So naturally we met our first poisonous snakes in the wild. They were probably Bothrops jararacussu just over 2 feet long and they much resembled the numerous dead tree limbs on the path. We got good photos and video I hope, and they finally got tired of the attention and slithered off the path. We saw all-green parrots, a brown spider monkey, a saguí = marmoset, a male trogon with a red belly, flycatchers...that evening we saw yellow headed woodpeckers in nests high in a palm tree.
The next day we traveled to Santa Teresa in the mountains where there is a Museu de Biologia Mello Leitão, founded by the famous ornithologist Augusto Ruschi in 1949. Entering the extensive gardens around Ruschis house and the museum cost $1 real per person. There were back and white humming birds and other colors. There was a big flight pen where some 8 inch size bird was being hounded by 4 or 5 Penelope (?) guans. There were several species of parrots and other native birds, as well as a small native deer within. In the auditorium building they had pictures of many of the species of humming birds discovered by Ruschi, photos of his life and 4 large boards of samples of wood of Brazilian trees contains 2 x 6 inch (in centimeters) plaques of 395 species.
We returned to the main highway and went south to the beltline around Vitoria where we were involved in a kind of motorcycle accident. At one of their peculiar turns, three motorcycles going over 40 miles per hour raced out to the side of the cars starting up from a red light nearly a block away and nearly ran into us as we were crossing. One lost control and slid into and over the curbing. This was at 5:43 PM. He broke a rear view mirror, the glass over the odometer, and his pride. Dilton spent 40 minutes talking to him and finally gave him $50.
We began travelling west on the long road to Belo Horizonte but turned north a short distance into the mountains to stay in the town of Domingos Martins, which used to be called Campinho. It was a German colony, but now the city hires a teacher to teach the German language to the children. We stayed at the Dom Pedro II pousada for $40 Reais. The owner was Harry Freitas Barcellos who reminded me of my Uncle Walter Knoebel. His father had started the Caroa bottling works for that state, selling guaraná, lemon soda, etc. The Pousada was a nice place with a swimming pool and lawn furniture in the sun, but shade trees with humming bird feeders, a jambo tree which had laid a brilliant pink carpet of stamens on the ground by the restaurant, a big budgerigar cage under the stairs and another to one side of the restaurant. They werent expecting anyone after Easter and the cook had to make up our beds. She was an attractive young red head in tight shorts. Her name was Rosimery Colombo, 2!
The next morning we visited the Culture Center of the city, where they directed us to the house and nursery of Robert Kautsky, 72 years old, who had discovered more species (200) of Bromeliads than anyone else. He also discovered many new orchids, and even a fish and some frogs. Eight of these species were named after him. He said that all the BIG orchids of the world originally came from the Atlantic Rain Forest of Brasil. He owned a steep hill behind the house from the top of which you could see Vitoria and the ocean. He claimed that many new species of orchids and bromeliads as well as other wildlife remained to be discovered right in the same area.
On our way to Belo Horizonte we stopped long enough to see the water falls called São Floriano.
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I was given the name of a new tree with seeds ostensibly like an oak seed, but with perhaps a hundred litttle seeds inside. Its name is Gameleira.
On 20 April 96 Armando finished our vivero (bird enclosure). I had sewn the top netting in 6 places in the middle. He finished the ends. 1 May 96 we visited, high on a hillsde, Aureo Alves de Miranda. Armandos son, Rodrigo, started working for this bird breeder and wanted us to see his 200+ cage aviary. He has most of the native cage bird types and a few more. A wild Maria Branca, or curraleiro, was also flying about the place. Passaro preto, azulão, curió, bicudo, canário de Peru, canário de terra, azulinho araponga, sabiá laranjeira, bigodinho, marreteca, tico-tico rei, trinca ferra, canário Belga, ....He liked Lotus so much that he gave her a dominican cardeál (cardinal), food and cage. It has a bright red-velvet head....We have Aureos phone number: 462-0831.
Some national background seems warranted. Did you know that teachers in Brazil average $78 per month! Doçentes = University teachers average $238 per month, although 30 years ago they averaged $1,188! In general half the students do not finish grade school. The minimum wage recently went up to $112 per month.
(22 May 96) I have decided that trees are not well cared for except for a few on campus. Passers-by usually break (not saw) off an offending limb. Some vandals break down saplings planted along the streets. People break 12 inch holes in the sidewalks to plant trees. The concrete or paving-stone sidewalks leave very little soil exposed to absorb water (or air) for the trees. Most of the 14 or so Japanese white mahogany trees with the pink seeds which I pass frequently have leaves which are pale green compared to two with deep green leaves which are near open ground. They frequently burn trash, grasses and dead limbs right under a tree! This generally kills at least half the tree. One of the mahogany trees just mentioned was so treated 10 days ago. One of the nice mature biroska trees whose seeds I carry around in my pocket was so treated on campus and only half its limbs are alive now. Trees are generally desired for their shade. But they dont seem to realize that the trees need open ground to produce the best shade.
I have noted previously that I find a new species of tree nearly every week. This time I can identify the tree from a $140 (cost $49 in 1963) book Lotus got me. It is a Senna macranthera. It has a round pod about 3/8 inch thick and about a foot long with black sticky stuff inside surrounding the 1/8 inch seeds. Luckily, the sticky stuff is soluble in water since the seeds are very hard to remove otherwise. Another two trees that I discovered near ICB on campus are likely Cybistax antisyphilitica with pods about 8 inches long in May. This book has only 452 species in it. I have 3 other Brazilian tree books and very few species are repeated!!!
OK another new species of tree, Clitoria fairchildiana, has pods and seeds on the sidewalk just north across the street from the Reitoria (administration building) . And I found the name of another legume tree that I noted 2 years ago whose lectin is active in the cattle test, Stryphnodendron adstringens. There are about 38 of these 35 foot trees lining each side of the pé de moleque street between the Vet. school and halfway to the Biology building. This year only one has many pods and it seems to be dying. The pods are very sticky inside, but the very hard seeds themselves are not. The Erythrina trees are starting to bloom in June now. I found that all of these I have seen here are E. speciosa and not E. verna as I thought, since that is the one supposedly planted all over Belo Horizonte.
Lotus flew off 10 June 96 at 9:10 PM to Portland to attend the 50th Reunion of her Reed College class of 46, plus visit relatives. Then she will fly to Des Moines to be met by Mary Richards with whom she will stay in Ames for 3 weeks in Ames while she works on income tax, pensions, medical checkups and a long list of things to bring back to Brasil.
14 June 96 I went on an overnight trip to Rio Casca on the road to Vitoria with the Animal Science Class which Denise is teaching. The same students were in a nutrition class taught by Flavia, and they also had invited an agronomy specialist, Almir Vieira Silva along to give some additional lectures in the field. We were supposed to leave in a commercial bus at 7 AM. We left a little after 7:30 in a University bus for which they finally found the keys [Brasil@!!]! This bus had no luggage racks, so that made for difficulties. Further, the seats were not well padded. Next we got stopped after nearly an hours travel. It seems that a 14 wheeler truck had gone off the road and started a fire. It had slid down a steep embankment, but we were told that the driver had only scratches. I got out my video and recorded the event plus surroundings. After 40 minutes, the driver discovered that there was a detour we could take. It was essentially one lane completely filled by the bus so two or three times we had to find a passing spot. If you dont see the video, you may not believe the steep hills/mountains and dirt road, etc. over which we passed for several miles. In fact you might not believe that a main highway could have such hills unless you were there. The driver never exceeded 90 km per hour and went down to 30 km/hr up hills. There was a lot of erosion on the hillsides and the highway had gaping holes in the outer side walled off by a curb in several places. A new grass with russet seed heads turned up. Some cream colored horses with red mane and tail reminded me of the red dust getting all over our luggage, bus and selves. Part of the way Almir, then Flavia, then a student, Claudia, were my seat companions.
We got to the hotel Residencia in the noon hour to check in and leave our luggage. It cost $12 for a double occupancy room. Almir roomed with me to get a little more English practice, since he was going to Madison, Wisconsin in three months. The bus we had ridden on was wider than our room, and no door nor complete walls separated off the bathroom. I got out my video camera again to record a tabby calico in the courtyard. That afternoon we spent nearly two hours driving on some of those one lane roads to find the fazenda (ranch) Brasilia. We had to move way over and nearly stop to get by some sugar cane trucks. But fortunately this area was nearly flat!! We were met by Prof. Décio, a nutritionist in our department. He took us to the selected milking herd of Gir cattle. They are multi-colored, black, red, brown/black (=standard type), gray, and spotted. They have horns swept back in a curve or curled nearly like some water buffalo. These were crosses with Holandes (Holstein-Friesian). The top producer, Ginger, had produced 10,000 kg of milk. We also went to another site where the cattle were in the field. Lectures were given about the cattle, the nutrition and the grasses.
After we returned to the hotel we showered and gathered to go eat at a pizza place. While waiting, I showed off my genetic party tricks, recessive ear lobes, hypermobile thumb, and curled tongue.... I went back to the hotel to get some sleep since it was 10 PM by now. But the students stayed up till The next morning we ate breakfast at the hotel and got off in the bus only a half hour late to go to new places at the Fazenda Brasilia. It is 3.000 hectares in area, and owned by Rubens Resende Peres, the son of the man who established the ranch in 1955 in the valley of Rio Doce. At a special area for growing forage they had giant lawn sprinklers throwing water in a radius well over 50 feet. The grass was a special bermuda hybrid that gave 9 crops a year! Tifton 85 was one type of grass and another was "coast-cross". There were lots of quero=quero birds (southern lapwing) in these fields. I counted 20 within a block of us and undoubtedly missed some in the grass. Many more were further off. The swallow types there had white rumps. In nearby fields of burnt sugar cane I saw perhaps a hundred caracará (a common hawk) that had gathered to eat the tasted insects I suppose. Cattle egrets were interspersed with the cattle. This fazenda was 240 meters above sea level (low compared to the mountains we had crossed) and 400 km from the ocean but still in Minas Gerais. At the main headquarters we were given additonal lectures and shown the best cattle of the herd. The wood beams in one building had been cut from ipé amarelo trees of the original forest.
More random Items.
While Belo Horizonte is just high enough to exclude malaria, there was an epidemic of Dengue fever in Venda Nova, the neighborhood on the northern border of Belo Horizonte where our faxineira (house cleaner) Ivonete lives.
Somewhere I discovered that there are 205 species of birds within the city of Belo Horizonte; 46 species are within the city park; 119 species are in the Mangabeiras mountains ringing the city, and 60 in Pampulha bairro (neighborhood).
In Brasil it is almost impossible to get a HAMburger!! However, it is easy to get an ahmBURger! One must get the accent on the right sylLAble.
73% of heads of households in Brazil make an average of 2 minimum wages ($110).
Two years ago I made a list of things other Americans would like about Brazil, and things they would not like, or at least would be unexpected. I can now add to the list.
1. Honking of gas trucks from 7 AM on. They want you to buy their gas barrels and they drive the streets honking to let you know they are coming. I think this is daily. (Since they passed a new law, the gas trucks play a tinkling xylophone version of "Green eyes" instead of honking).
2. Drawer and cabinet pulls. The pulls on drawers have a long bolt on the inside that is left long and catches on clothes, hands, and whatever. The cabinets or closets have a keyed "lock" above a short floppy pull handle. The lock is not really secure and is awkward to use, but the doors wont stay closed unless you lock them. Also the drawers are not "guided" so they stick to the side often. The finish is only toward the front or side. Tops and backs and sometimes the side of the armarios (closets) are untreated and unfinished wood. In fact all constuction seems to be unfinished!
3. Steep streets in Belo Horizonte, Ouro Preto, and similar places are hard to drive up, but harder to walk up OR down! The grade is frequently 15- 20 degrees and some places approaching 30 degrees (?).
4. There is only 12-14 hours of daylight. In winter here 6 to 6 is all one gets of daylight. In summer 6 AM to 7 PM is available. Since the houses are poorly lighted, one doesnt get much extra work done after work hours.
5. Traffic!! Horrendus! Sample: Brazils own statistics cite the month of August in the Federal District = Brasilia which had 78 traffic fatalities and 1.127 injuries! This is probably the highest in Brasil since the traffic laws there are not enforced well. The reason? -Many residents have prestigious connections so, if they are "bothered", the policeman loses his job. They pass on the right, seldom stop at stop signs, and generally are reckless. Some are pretty good drivers.
On 17 August 96 we went on a COA trip to an acreage named Grimpas rather near BH. We gathered at 6:30 AM in front of Shopping Cidade in downtown BH. Helena chose to ride in our car (Armando driving) and we turned off the road toward Ouro Preto at Posto Chefão just a few km from BH. We saw a new field plant blooming dark crimson, and then started on a series of real hairpin turns on one lane dirt roads. Did I mention that we were descending the Rola-Moca mountains? After getting down into the valley and passing a few clusters of houses, we arrived at Grimpas and were greeted by the owners who have dedicated the center of the "sitio" as a wildlife refuge. IBAMA, the national environmental agency, has recognized it as the first private wildlife refuge in Minas Gerais state. A daughter of the family, Susana Santana, is an architect by profession and interested in birds. She invited the local branch of the national bird club, COA, to visit when she attended the August meeting. That Saturday morning we saw a native forest and 14 species of birds. The rest of the group stayed overnight and counted 85 species, I learned later. We saw sanhaça tanagers, tico-tico (sparrow), the Chopi black bird (passaro preto). Rolinhas (small doves), juriti (dove) swallow-tailed humming-bird, fogo-apagou (dove), a lesser woodcreeper, small hawk, the long-tailed tyrant-flycatcher, Colonus colonus, papa capim (double -collared seedeater), a yellow-billed seedeater, an orange-headed gray tanager, and several trinca-ferro (saltators). We ate at a local restaurant and saw a troop of sagui (marmosets) in the trees. Lotus got a video of them. Also we saw a strange white gall. We retuned to BH late that afternoon and by next morning discovered only 3 ticks on wjm and 2 on Lotus.
On Sunday, 25 August 96, we held a "Festa" for Lotus Aniversário (birthday). Since it was delayed it also served as a celebration for our 44th Wedding Anniversary. Carlos and Tánia very nicely let us use their spacious front yard next door., complete with a churrascaria (tiled brick building with a barbeque oven). Carlos, Armando, and his wife Marilda helped Lotus plan and prepare the food and tables, etc. Lotus made some dip from Dennis avocados, but basically it was a Brazilian Churrasco with marinated "broiled" meat plus pineapple salad, rice, and lots of Coca-Cola, guaraná, cerveja (beer), and some pinga. I had finally gotten together for the first time a "flauta doce"(recorder) group of a pediatrician, Lucia, and recorder teacher, Tereza. So we played Hooks Terzetto, Drive the Cold Winter Away, Rondo by Mozart, (and one Ive forgotten) for the first time together. Tereza has a plastic bass instrument and I now have hopes of playing some of the quartets, etc. that our Squaw Creek recorder group in Ames played. Tereza is a better player than any I have played with and can play any of the voices, while Lucia is close to our Ames group in ability. Lotus got some presents even though we had tried to minimize that. Fátima made two beautiful pineapple upside-down-like cakes about 18 inches in diameter but ¾ inch thick and Maria Tereza and José Claúdio, our absentee landlords three years ago, brought Lotus some excellent Brazilian needlework, and fresh green beans and a bouquet of roses and babys breath from the garden. Maria Inez brought a really nice pink orchid plant. Ivan Sampiao brought a "country" seat cover and me a vegetable sponge and some of its seeds. Jonas brought Lotus some Cologne. Denise brought a big beautiful pineapple-filled cake 18 inches long. Prof. Viana brought Lotus a book on the Brazilian people (o povo brasileiro) by Darcy Riberiro, 1995.
12 Sep 96 Lotus and I flew to Rio de Janeiro, where I gave a "palestra" of 90 minutes for the Monogaster Simposium [XII Semana de Zootecnia]. It was really two symposia, one on wild animals and one on production in monogasters (animals with one stomach). My paper didnt fit either category, but having an American contributor seemed to be the thing. I had added to my 1995 paper on Neglected Advances in Classical Genetics with Dr. Hollander and slanted it a bit more. This Week of Animal Science is run by the students and the speakers dont necessarily listen to each other. We stayed in the hotel on the campus of the Federal Rural University of Rio de Janeiro (UFRRJ). We were treated to meals at a good Brazilian restaurant, Varandão, off campus. Prof. Francisco Carlos Donatti was to be my translator, but after nearly two hours of going over my paper with him that afternoon, he called for two more to assist him. Prof. Pedro Azevedo and Dr. Alexandre Araujo. Prof. Walter Motta Ferreira, of our UFMG Zootecnia Dept. had asked me to be on the program. The Friday morning talks overflowed their time. So mine--the first in the afternoon--was two hours later getting started. About 50 were in the audience.
Saturday morning, Ana Raquel Gomes Faria drove us together with Gisele de Sá Corrêa and Daniel Dias Fernandes to Maria Inezs apartment (#1503= 15th floor) in Rio de Janeiro, Rua Sigueira Campos No 158, edificio Fiorenza. Then Alexandre and his wife took us to a shopping center in Barra. We found imported California strawberries at $32 for 20 berries! Brazilian strawberries are usually $1.50 to $3.00. But Lotus finally found cheddar cheese in Brazil there, and Tillamook at that, for only $4.30 or $3.50 for 9 ounces. That night Alexandre and his wife took us to dinner at Aurora Restaurant in Botofogo district to meet his former major professor, orginally from Columbia University in New York, Martha Sorenson and her husband Lee. Martha and her husband are chemists and biologists from the USA, but have working at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro (UFRJ) here for 16? years. Sunday, Ana Raquel [571-1953] and Daniel took us to the Jardim Botánico. Anas mother came also and bought me a hat to replace the one I lost in Alexandres car. The first big tree we saw was in a line of cannon ball trees = Couroupita guianensis. One of the main walks was lined with Imperial palms with several about 100 feet tall--very impressive. Daniels father met us there and showed me some of the more interesting trees, including the original source of rubber, Hevea brasiliensis, and the mulatto tree, Calycophyllum spruceanum, with very dense, hard, green surface wood. The rubber tree had seeds dropping down, so, of course, I collected some. We collected three other kinds of seeds also, and saw at least two trees 175 years old. An enormous Ceiba pentandra = sumaúmaa = kapok tree was the favorite spot of Tom Jobim, composer of "The Girl from Ipanema" to muse, and this fact was marked with a plaque. There were other species from other parts of the world too. I noted the Sterculia rubiginosa from Burma and Malaysia which bore beautiful orange seed pods.
Driving through various tunnels I counted 50, 65, and 120 seconds to get through them at 60 km/hour. Ana and Daniel took us to the Rio zoo where Ana is doing research on nutrition of wild animals. On Sunday she had introduced us to the President of the Friends of the Rio Zoo and he had invited us to see the zoo. Most fenced public parks and museums are closed for cleaning on Monday, but Ana had asked permission for us not only to enter the Zoo, but ride around on the new 4 person motorized electric cart that the director received recently. So we went in style. The technical director, Ricardo Cristalli, showed us the vet facilities and we also saw the food prep rooms. We did see lots of birds species plus many others. Some names I wrote down are:
Jaguatirica = Felis pardalis, jaguarundi = Felis yagouaroundi, Tayra = Eira barbara, Irara, tailed agouti = Myoprocia acouchy, white bellied Cacique = Pionites leucogaster [range = band across mid Brasil], Treron waalia = a fruit pigeon with a range across the bottom of the Saraha. They had a very good representation of parrots including a pair of endangered mealy parrots, Amazona farinosa, and 9 of the endangered golden parakeet, Guaruba guarouba, a National Symbol. In the recovery hospital area were some capuchin monkeys, one of which loved to be tickled, and a puma which loved to have its ears scratched.
In the late afternoon we were joined by Maria Clara Dominguez Vernaza, director of the zoo in Cali, Colombia, who had given a talk at the symposium. We all went to dinner at La Mola, but they were out of everything Anas mother asked for so she ate very little.
Tuesday morning we went to H. Sterns jewelers workshop and Museum where we took a guided tour using headphones to listen to talks taped in English as we viewed precious stones and watched technicians cut, polish and mount stones. They also had tapes in 14 other languages. Then we got to see and perhaps buy beautiful jewels. The highest price of the types we asked about was 3.996 Reais. We then had to leave in order to get to the airport and return to Belo Horizonte.
On Friday, 27 Sep 96 Lotus and I accompanied her University Ornithology class of about 10 students taught by Dra. Livia to the Petí Reserve of CEMIG (electric company of Minas Gerais). Armando drove us in our car, about 1 ½ hours away. Lotus and I got a room to ourselves in a "dormitorio" at the research station within the reserve. Besides setting up 6 mist nets in shady areas to catch birds, we and the class saw various ages of yellow jacaré, Caiman latirostris, that are being raised there. We also saw some agouti, several matings of tinamou [the cordorna = Nothura maculosa, has a shiny brown porcelain-like egg and Tinamus solitarius = macuco has a bright blue egg], and a Crax being propagated in the reserve area as well as some mudas (starts) of native trees. We were given a lecture by Dra. Maria Beatriz Ferreira, an attractive veterinarian who remembered me from 3 years ago. She gave me some tree seeds for my lectin experiments. Another attractive girl was assisting her, Denise O. Jicone, who is currently a vet. student.
Birds we saw there include: alma de gato [a big cuckoo], southern roughwinged swallow = andorinha = Stelgidoptery ruficollis [which may have been digging out nests in the dirt bank], tico-tico, Bem-ti-vi (2 species), bananaquit, sayaça tanager, pula pula warbler(caught in the net)[= Basileuterus culicivorus or golden-crowned warbler, with its orange crown stripe and yellow underparts, in the family Parulidae], the parasitic chopim = Molothrus bonariensis, sabiá = Turdus leucomelas (a thrush), hepatic tanager = Piranga flava, Tangara cyanoventris = gilt edged tanager [one pair with a knee-high nest in front of the resaurant & very beautiful], trinca ferro (several saltators), slaty ant shrike (netted) [Thamnophilus punctatus], jet ant bird (netted) [Cercomacra nigricans], long tailed tryrant-looks like it has a tail projecting out of its tail, Colonia colunus, Beija-flor = Amazillia lactea (netted & weighed 28 grams), Elaena (all gray), something all green, pair of swallow tanagers = Tersina viridis (male blue, female green), white shouldered fire-eye (netted) [Pyriglena leucoptera = antbird], buff-browed foliage-gleaner, Syndactyla rufosuperciliata, common thorn bird [Phacellodomus rufifrons], spine tail, plus +++. We saw new trees too, especially the alligator tree and the cows eye (black and red seeds)!
Sunday, 6 Oct 96, COA went to the Zoo in BH to assist in the Festival Mundial de Aves (World Festival of Birds). This had a good write-up in the daily newspaper "Estado de Minas Gerais". Ricardo, the new president, and Maurício, the new vice-president of COA predominated in leading explanatory trips for small groups of zoo visitors around the bird park. Vania and Patricia (Ricardos girl friend) also "officiated". Henrique Nobre and Marco Antonio de Andrade (who has written several popular bird books) came later. They concentrated on explaining the endangered species. This zoo has several of those species on the "red list". They have a pair of the largest macaws (the hyacinthine macaw), a pair of the Harpy eagle, a pair of the yellow and green jandaya as well as several of the jandaya of these colors with reddish feathers in addition. Also endangered were the Charão, a green red-spectacled papagaio (parrot) with red and yellow accents which is the National Club emblem, a mealy parrot, and the bare-faced [Crax fasciolata], and red-billed [Crax blumenbachii] curassow, and finally the urubú rei, the King vulture! Lotus and I attended also, getting our car in free for this festival ($6 otherwise). The zoo had some English translations on the signs, two of which had incorrect spelling. One owl species was printed Owe. Lotus assisted in watching the two table exhibits and calling peoples attention to the newspaper article. I wandered around looking for birds with my binocs. I saw a green barred woodpecker (with a red head), Chrysoptilius (genus now included in Colaptes melanochloros, João de barro, perched beside two mud nests, plenty of bem-ti-vi flycatchers and rolinha doves, a tesouro (scissor-tailed) flycatcher, and plenty of the pardo (house sparrows) and feral domestic pigeons. Two wild pigeons did fly over in a very fast and direct manner that had to be wild native pigeons. There was a long-legged seriema stalking around loose that Ricardo said was completely free to fly away. I also saw a wild sagui, the local species of marmoset. The Crax fasciolata curassow female had a nest of eggs 10 feet up, and the male was sounding his characteristic low "blowing across the neck of a large bottle" song. A relative, Cras blumenbachii, was making an even lower call. The calls were so low no one could tell where they came from. By watching the males head, wings and chest movement, I could make the association. The yellow legged tinamou male made a lot of calls (with an 80 degree open mouth) that were a three note "whistle"! Before the public was let in I got a 30 minute walk to see the chimps, silver-back gorilla, a brown bear, and two new species of trees. One species was labeled! It is the pau-terra, Qualea sp. family Vochysiaceae.
Several members were interviewed by a reporter from the largest newspaper in Belo Horizonte, Estado de Minas, and Lotus was also interviewed for an opinion page as a non-native of the city. This appeared on Quinta-feira (Thursday), 10 de Outubro de 1996. Her picture, about 4 ½ by 5 ½ inches, was quite good even though her eyes were almost closed.
Perhaps a sampling of the news I get on my Portuguese Noticias is of interest here. I will translate: 12,000 Brazilians are in Framingham, Mass. and want to use the Portuguese language officially. The cacique (chief) Iuromu of the Caiabi tribe wants WAR against the trespassers on their reservation in Brasil.
Only 50% of the Brazilians consider democracy the best government. The Argentine and Brazilian armies each contributed 400 soldiers for mutual army exercises with a view to protection against Paraguay and its corruption and Mafia/drug traffic [look whos "talking"; but there must be a whale of a difference--wjm]. And finally one from O Globo (newspaper) portion of Noticias on 15 Oct 96 which Ill quote first in Portuguese and then translate:
---O President Fernando Henrique Cardoso admitiu ontem que o Estado não esta preparado para atender aos pobres, mas apeanas aos ricos, e que o Governo esta tentando modificar essa estrutura. Durante a cerimonia de lancamento do carimbo comemorativo dos 50 anos da publicacão do livro "Geografia da Fome", de Josué de Castro. Fernando Henrique destacou os avancos na area social com a implantacão do Plano Real e com a establidade economica, mas admitiu que ainda existem no Pais o clientelismo e a corrupacão.
---President Fernando Henrique Cardoso admitted yesterday that the state is not prepared to attend to the poor, but only the rich, and that the government is trying to modify this structure. During the ceremony of launching the rubber stamp commemorative of 50 years of publication of the book "Geography of Famine", by Josué de Castro, Fernando Henrique emphasized the advances in the social area with the start of the Real Plan and economic stability, but admitted that there still exists in the country favoritism and corruption. [wjm--Past presidents Collor (who was impeached) and Itamar Franco said much the same thing.]
On 19 and 20 Oct 96 we again went to Petí, this time with the COA group. Lotus and I got the same room to ourselves. The same primavera (bougainvillea) TREE was there by the front porch. To describe it more fully, its trunk was 18 inches in diameter, but it had divided into 4 trunks, one of which was cut out. On the following day we found, just around the corner to the east, the nest of a sanyaça tanager in a large shrub. Three thorn bird nests were hanging down from a jatobá tree at the corner of our driveway. At least one was occupied. Later we saw a gilt-edged tanager trying to start a nest in an old frond hanging down from a palm tree. Another place exhibited a sayaça tanager trying to start a nest in the crook of an alligator tree (pau jacaré). Almost right away Maurício, the club vice president who is a vet. student, saw a Thraupis ornata (with an orange epaulet) which is rare and has a limited range. Almost in the same tree was the more common palm tanager, T. palmarum. Maurício pointed out two white-tailed trogon males to me which I wanted to call yellow-bellied trogons. While we were on the road a big and black Penelope superciliatis [type of chacalaca] flew across the road. At a cross road I found a fig tree with marble sized fruit colored yellow (unripe) and red. That evening down by the power dam we saw several dark colored fishes at least 2 feet long swimming at the surface, plus a light brown type the same size. A jacaré floating in the river ignored the fishes. This was the first wild jacaré full size (about 7 feet long) that I have seen in Minas. A long (100 foot?) swinging foot-bridge allowed us to cross over to the other side. We did it the next day too and saw a turtle there as well. The first night we went up to a rocky Mirante or viewpoint on the top of a hill with a illuminated cross to look for nighthawks. I saw 7 such flights, but I dont know the species. Owls were not evident. Late the next day we returned there for the panorama view and Armando found 3 bats flying and taking refuge within a large cleft in the rock.
The first afternoon Ricardo and Patricia, his namorada, and the next day our group consisting of Ricardo, Patricia, Maurício, Vania, Henrique, Edson, Lotus and I, and Armando our driver, noted a few birds also. We missed Helena, the past president. At a misty lake with picturesque rocks we saw many species including an Elaenia (small flycatcher) which Lotus found was feeding its catch of insects to a nest of yellow-gaping young. A spectacular blue Tersina (swallow tanager) male with a black mask was traversing the same area, perching on a branch by the lakeside and swooping out over the lake for insects. Richardo pointed out still more birds for me. All these guys can identfy many species by the song! And again I must say that they use the scientific name for identification! Of course, the Portuguese accent made it hard for me to spell even the scientific names. We totaled 133 species, including the endangered urubú rei, king vulture, which we saw the next day about an hour before we left. I could claim 31 species identified, but many that I saw I couldnt ID. I even wrote downs the name of one, but couldnt find it in the book later, sooty fronted spinetail = Synallaxis frontalis sp? A mystery bird that I saw had a black head or cap with a boad russet neck ring and greenish on the sides, bottom, and rear. We had suspected that holes in a bank signalled nests of the southern rough-winged swallow which was swooping about, but when Lotus inserted her cane into an apparently empty hole, a small, brilliant green bird rushed out and flew off. One of the side excursions by Maurício, Henrique, Edson and myself was across the footbridge up the hillside and along a seldom used road which had at least a dozen armadillo holes along the 2 km that we walked.
Saturday, 9 Nov 96, by invitation we went out to José Claudio and Maria Teresas house in Lagoa Santa. They took us on a tour of the house first. Most of it was finished off very well. The dining room had elaborate 50-year old Portuguese style furniture with tooled leather backed chairs. Its anteroom had 150 year old lightweight Austrian rattan-like chairs with a 3 foot high beer dispenser on the table. These all belonged to Maria Teresas parents and grandparents. The upstairs kitchen was not yet finished, but Fátima had ample room in the downstairs kitchen to serve noon dinner on the solid, one-piece, 6-7 cm thick, beautifully grained Angelim wood table that seated 8 easily. Before dinner we toured the outside plantings, including a hen house of red hens that laid dark reddish brown eggs. The orchard had many species, a few of which were remnant of the Cerrado forest still around. This included the pequí, jatobá, acerola, caju (cashew), carambola (star fruit), goiaba (guava), maracujá vine (passion fruit), pitanga (Eugenia uniflora), grumixama (Eugenia brasiliensis), a couple of peach trees, and Coco anao (dwarf coconut) as well as several more species. They also had a cage of the big toucans, budgerigers, and a parrot resembling, Amazona autumnalis, without the red forehead.
Ivan Sampaio (who won the Premio Zootecnista for 1996 award entitling him to 6 months off) and Lucia joined us for dinner, bringing a rose colored Datura for me (which we forgot to put in the car). José Claudio fixed the churrasco meats of boi (beef), frango (chicken) and pork. I had two helpings of almost everything except the pork (to which I am allergic). This included a chocolate caramel sorvete (enhanced ice cream) and pineapple torte. We tried some of Ivans jaboticaba topping on the ice cream. It was delicious. He gave Lotus and I a jar of it. After dinner we had a near siesta, but Raquel wanted me to play chess. José and Ivan rested in the hammocks. They have spaces for 4 hammocks that I know of and probably more. José put on some Spanish dance music (he had spent 1 ½ years in Spain when we had his apartment 3 years ago). Ivan danced with Julia (1 1/2). Raquel (10), and Lucia.
Then Ivan took José Claudio, Raquel, Lotus and I to his place in the eastern part of town. He has a large lot filled with a beautiful garden with ponds and big trees of several species including a biroska. A family of sagui (marmosets), Callithrix jacchus penicillata, would take bread from his hand or Raquels. He had some pigeons, a cage with two male ringneck doves, a maritaca parrot (Aratinga leucophthalmus) and a red eared-like turtle. We also found in an old 6 volume botanical work the name of my double purple manto-de Cristo, Datura fastuosa, which is a Brazilian plant native to Goias and southern Brasil, not Africa as I had been told. The white blooming Brugmansia I already have is probably B. suaveolens, or babosa = trombeta-cheirosa which is native to Mexico and can grow to 5 meters high. We returned to José Claudios to sit on the back veranda and watch the sun go down with a view toward the lake. The vista was a calming close to an interesting day. We were just lucky to have a beautiful day after several cool rainy days (Spring and Summer is the rainy season).
I just found the name for the strange weed 12 feet tall in our garden. It is the assa-peixe, Vernonia polyanthes, also known as cambará guaçu. It is said to be used as a fishing pole, and is the source of nectar for the best honey.
Last Friday was 15 Nov, a holiday first because it was Proclamation of the Republic or Independence day (18) but doubly so because of a run-off election for Mayor. So COA used the 3 day weekend to go to Ibitipoca, a biological reserve about 260 km south of BH rather near Juiz de Fora. After we left the paved highway, the wet road in was pretty bad, especially after it started raining again. After perhaps 40 or 50 miles we passed through a village which had pousadas for tourists to stay in, but drove on until a mile and a half from the park entrace where 7 cars stuck on a slippery hill blocked our way. People were walking downs the hill in shorts and plastic transparent raincoats. We had already slipped to one side of the road twice ourselves. By this time the rain was pouring down, but Suely and Helena got out to lighten the car and Ricardo, Patricia, Maurício, and Marco helped us turn around and, shortly, get out of a ditch. We managed to get back to the village, park in a safe place, and join the rest of our party in pileing most of our luggage (in two trips) into the 4-wheel drive Toyota of the park director, Otacilio Geraldo Lage. He drove the precarious route to the camping area of the park where we had a cabin reserved for the 2 nights. Address: Conceiçao do Ibitipoca, Lima Durarte MG, CEP 36.144.000 (fone: (32)281-8130. Already it was quite an adventure.
Two pairs of our group of 12 had tents which they pitched on the front porch of the "cabin". Lotus and I had one of the 3 bedrooms. Marco Antonio Andrade had arranged the trip. His wife, Márcia, was also there along with COA members Ricardo, Patricia, Rosalba and her daughter, Bárbara , Maurício, Helena (our COA past president), and a new member, Suely who with Helena rode in with us. This reserve is at 1.335 meters altitude more and less (peak at 1784 m) with a river running through it. Part of it is quartzite, with white sand crumbling off the slanted layers of rock. But above and below the lichen forest area adjacent to our cabin were bands of better (black) soil which supported forests. It was cloudy almost all the time with clouds creeping up the valleys below us (!) as well as a layer overhead. Our cabin was surrounded by leafless small trees covered with lichens. It was the first time Lotus and I had seen cactus (single pole type) up to 8 feet high with Usnea lichens (looks like Spanish moss) growing on the cactus! That night I brought out my chess set and played Bárbara 3 games, and then taught Suely how to play. Ricardo finally sat down and tried. He said he had about 10 games experience or so. After I lost my knight right away I decided he had more like 50 games in the "or so" category-maybe more. Fortunately, after 20 more moves he made a couple of slight errors and I finally won.
Many strange and still new plants were blooming with plenty of orchids and bromeliads of several species growing on the trees and ground! I used 3 rolls of slides and Lotus got some video footage. We visited two small grottos (caves). They had long round tunnels carved by water. The second day, Saturday, we walked up to the canteen area and then down to the river. The group waded across the river, Lotus being carrried by Armando. I stayed and took slides of orchids growing on rocks, etc. Their trail turned to the right following the cliff above the river and I watched them from below on the other side. They had spectacular views of the water falls and large pools of the river at the foot of a high cliff. We went down to the "Bridge of Rocks" where we met part of the group coming back through the mountain where the river had carved a hole about 30-40 feet in diameter. One could hop from rock to rock through this open ended cave under the arch. Lotus, Márcia, Armando, and Marco came over the top of the arch. Most of this area was up and down like most of MG. Lots of mica came out of the quartzite, and Bárbara picked up several flakes to show to Lotus. We ate at the tourist point where hikers and campers did, overlooking the river and ridge. That evening we got a good prolonged view of a diademed tanager with a red crest set in white on the head and a beautiful blue body. That night I played Suely again and taught Helena. While I took a shower they played each other and Bárbara. I found out that Suely Nunes da Silva (432-4442) mãe or 224-8693 amigo) played and even taught the flauta doce. So we plan to meet with Lucia and Tereza, etc. for for 3 and 4 voice pieces.
The next morning we went up = UP the road to the park entrance looking for birds. At various places we saw quite a good selection, including toucans, tiziu, an orange breasted sabiá (robin) singing....etc. Lots of parrots were seen each day, usually in pairs. Some nested in the grottos. It is really fascinating to see these colorful birds in the wild and not just in pictures where the brilliant colors look artificial.
On our way home we stopped at the church of Bom Jesus de Matosinhos in Congonhas, to see the 12 soapstone statues of the Old Testament Prophets which are considered to be the summit of Brazilian baroque art. They were the last sculptured by Aleijadinho who probably had Hansens disease (leprosy) and finished the carving with tools strapped to his arms. The statues are life size with individual facial expressions, dramatic and intense. They represent not only the Prophets but each also represents the features of one the Inconfidentes who were exiled or killed after they plotted independence from Portugal in 1789. The church was richly decorated with gold inside on the statues and carvings. Andorinhos (swallows) were flying inside the 35 foot high arched ceiling. Ten foot black Chinese dragons on two sides held up elaborate candelabra. I think the church was finished in 1805, but the miracle room to one side of the church housed testimony to the miracles from 1722. There are perhaps a thousand pictures and quite a few letters. One picture is of a dead horse fitted with riding equipment. The horse had been killed by lightning, and the rider had just prayed that he would not be harmed by it. Outside a black and gold Euphonia tanager was flying and posing for Lotus to use her video. (This reminded us that the church gold was black in the original ore.) The steps up to the church were worn deep from the visitors. Aleijadinho also had sculptured wooden figures in scenes from Christs passion. These were housed in six 15 foot square cupolas on the hillside below the church. 75 foot Imperial palms were in the stone paved courtyard in front.
Ibitipoca birds I identified [Of course, COA had many more.]
Turdus rufiventris rufous bellied thrush sabiá-laranjeira Knipolegus lophotes crested black-tyrant maria-pretadepehacho Carduelis magellanica hooded siskin pintassilgo Volatinia jacarina blue-black grassquit tiziu Chiroxiphia caudata blue manakin tangara dançarino Stelgidopteryx ruficollis Southern rough-winged swallow andorinha-serrador (Notiochelidon cyanoleuca) blue and white swallow andorinha-pequeno-de-casa Dacnis cayana blue Dacnis sai-azul ou sai-bico-fino Polyborus plancus crested caracara caracará Coragyps atracus black vulture urubú Ara nobilis (Diopsittaca nobilis) red-shouldered macaw maracanã -nobre Ramphastus dicolorus red-breasted toucan tucano-de-bico-verde (Muscivora tyrannus) fork-tailed flycatcher tesoura Stephanophorus diadematus diademed tanager sanhaço frade Zonotrichia capaensis rufous collared sparrow tico-tico Saltator similis green-winged saltator trinca-ferro Crotophaga ani smooth-billed ani anu preto
Sunday morning (24 Nov 96) at 7 AM we went to the Zoo to meet COA and count bird species in the woods. There were very few, probably since the natural area was too small to support a more complete complement of species native to the region. My list included the anum preto, pica pau do campo, tesouro flycatcher, Bem-ti-vi, sooty fronted spinetail (with Mauricios help), beija-flor (swallow tailed humming bird), wren, tico-tico, Empidonomus varius (variegated flycatcher), and the burnished buff tanager. I also heard the Leptotila dove call. There were cicadas, strange herbaceous plants, hundreds of mushrooms on the forest floor (half inch to inch size), and a bright white fungus on a dead tree. A half-tame Seriema, with some important flight feathers missing, was stalking around one area.
That evening we went to Dennis and Sueli Poagues house to take an early Thanksgiving dinner. He couldnt do it on Thursday. Cassandra and Louis, 2 and 4 years old, were very active. Other guests were Harley Cecil Robertson and his Brazilian girl friend. He is nearly my age and a computer consultant in Brazil for several years now. Dennis had a superb meal again, chicken garnished with roast apples, dressing, elaborate antepasto, carrots with pineapple, etc.
On the last day of November Marco Antonio Baptista, his mother Maria Inez and his two children led us to the Fazenda dos Poçoes to visit Sr. Arturo Filizzola and some of his family and see the Mangalarga horses, Gir cattle and the general environment. His wife, Vera, has furinished this home with beautiful antiques from Europe, Brazil, and India. She and his nephewAntonio Filizzola, an insurance salesman (phone/fax 55031.2929-7355) were there to greet us. A polished wooden Krishna from an Indian temple graced one living room and a double door from India carved with figures of the elephant God, Ganesh in 8 defensive positions, was leaning against a wall waiting to be installed. There were many carved wooden statues from colonial churches in Brazil (some for hiding gold) and from Portugal, and a family heirloom votary displayed in appropriate places throughout the first floor, as well as several marble statues.
Arturo came in later after planting soy beans. He is quite a handsome and genteel civil engineer and business man. Monday he is flying to Cuba to negotiate on setting up a plant to manufacture by-products of molasses. I collected more cashew seeds. The Gir cattle were very tame. One red one completely free to roam came up and we petted her head and scratched about the bases of her beautiful horns. We saw full grown examples of the Gonçalo-alves tree, pau-dAlho, and the tropical Asian Golden Shower tree, Cassia fistula. Their fields were full of rolinha doves, but I also saw a pair of scaled doves, fogo-apagou (fire went out) = Scardafella squammata. There were several wrens, a hooded siskin = pintassilgo, Carduelis magellanicus, andorinho pequeno da casa, urubú, João de barro, suiriri, and bem-ti-vi, forked tailed flycatcher, the tesourão humming bird, as well as probable euphonia. A white tailed hawk, Buteo albicaudatus, was seen on the road home.
I just found my note about the vine growing so enthusiastically over the citrus tree and the assa peixe in our garden. It might be the fuzzy faveiro or faveiro-do-cerrado, Pterodon pubescens. It looks related to the soybean in leaf and kind of seed pod which, however is small, holding about 6 seeds in a pod about an inch long and 1/8 inch wide.
December 21 and 22 we went to COAs "annual" end-of-the-year celebration, a relaxed visit to Ricardos fathers fazenda, Bocaina, which is just north and west of Sete Lagoas. His father, also a dentist, and staff run a milk dairy of mixed Gir and Holstein-Friesians. The HF bull was "brava" always moaning and occasionally pawing the dirt back. This bull ate mango fallen from the trees uphill from his pasture! One calf had light colored eyes which somewhat resembled "wall eye" in horses. A flock of chickens contained lots of colors as well as naked necks, bearded, and two frizzle mutant type chickens!! They had a swimming pool (with a six-inch toad sitting nearby), volley ball court, churrasco shelter, and mango, jambo, ameixa, and cashew fruit trees. A big cedro tree in the front yard as well as some legume trees were visited by sanhaça tanagers, humming birds, and the peach fronted parakeet, Aratinga aurea. There were lots of rolhina (talpacoti) doves (Columbina talpacoti), and pombão = picazuro pigeons (Columba picazuro). We took a short walk on the first day, Saturday, and a long one the next day. On a bush in the steep erosion gully called the boca (mouth) we saw half-inch insects mating that showed genetic variation in the black spots on the back. At least 3 patterns were common:
We saw native araticum, the wild pequí, Jatobá, jequitibá (Cariniana legalis)trees, a chuva de ouro type, a capirão tree, the triangle-stemmed fern-like plant (carqueixa?), etc. On the long walk we turned around at an outcropping of quartz. There were glass like and 6 sided crystals, as well as the more common opaque quartz pieces. We saw a burrowing owl (Speotyto cunicular) and its nest, the parakeet (Aratinga aurea), trinca ferra?, canario da terra (singing), masked water tyrant (Fluvicola nengeta), white heron, João de Barro, royal heron, Xolmis velata and X. cinerea, Savanna Hawk (Buteogallus meridonalis) also called casaca-de couro, pica-pau do campo (Colaptes campestris), a pair of swallow tanager (Tersina viridis), tico-tico rei, the tuim or blue winged parrolet (Forpus xanthopterygius), Maria branca (Xolmis cinerea), the grassland sparrow (Ammodramus humeralis), sabia do campo (Turdus leucomelas), the common urubu vulture, suiriri, Garibaldi= chestnut-capped blackbirds (Agelaius ruficapillus), blue-black Grassquit (Volatinia jacarina), Amazon Kingfisher (Chloroceryle amazona), curl crested jay (Cyanocorax cristatellus) which travels in family bands of 5 or 6, and the Helmeted Manakin, (Antilophia galeata), brilliant red and black) responding to Ricardos record of its own song. Ricardo helped a lot in pointing out birds, especially the curl-crested jays, and other things for us. He gave me some mulunga (white bean) seeds and pointed out the Fruta de Conde relative.
That night Armando drove to the bus station in Sete Lagoas and picked up 2 friends from Rio (Petropolis). The next afternoon Patricia, and 2 friends from Rio, and a brother of Ricardo went swimming and I got some photos of the girls in their bathing suits. Suely, who came in our car, was one of the main workers helping Patricia, Ricardos mother and his aunt in preparing meals. Henrique played chess with me that evening and became the COA champion after winning 2 games. In general it was a restful, pleasant time. Edson came back with Suely and us that late afternoon.
Christmas day (Christs Mass) we took a so-called lanché (sliced turkey, ham, and a traditional Portuguese cod for entrees) with Dr. Hélio Espinola and family. He is a parasitologist who has travelled a great deal working for the World Health Organization. He is a really good conversationalist in English and is a good friend of Dr. Vianna. who took a Masters degree from Dr. Bryon Thomas in Ames. Dr. Espinolas wife, Clara, has an 1884 document with the Russian czars seal...on it relating to her grandfather, who emigrated from Russia.
On 2 Jan 97 we went to meet with the rest of COA to finish off our foods from the fazenda visit. Suely and I played some recorder music for them, and B. and I played recorder and piano. They received our efforts enthusiastically and vociferously ---Thanks!
About 20 Dec the RAINS started to be continuous daily--much more than last year and during our stay here 3 years ago. One day I counted 6 separate downpours. About 4 Jan 97--57 people lost their lives in the state of Minas Gerais from flooding and landsliding. I couldnt get into our Department since the second Vestibular was in progress, so I tried to go the Physics e-mail room. That room on the corner at ground level had been rained out--flooded.
Mari Flores, whom Wilmer calls the Inca princess (shes from Bolivia), and husband, Eduardo, and daughter Mary Eduarda visited us on 31 Dec.
On 4 Jan. Saturday, Fátima and Raquel came to visit us for 2 and ½ hours in the afternoon. Raquel loves the computer for its games, especially chess, and for writing short messages. She reads quite well now, and evidently rapidly. Then Eliana came in the evening, especially to see our festoon of Christmas lights above our garage and porch. It has 8 programs of flashing ($25)! Their visits are rare, but give us an uplift. We are especially happy to have them.
For New Years 97 I bought a pair of Diamante Sparró = Diamond Sparrow (?) from the mercado central. Then 6 Jan I added a pair of Bavette, Poephila cincta (or acuticauda?), which also cost $40.
Our faxineira, Ivonete, lost $30 or more from her purse when a street rapaz (rascal) entered our gate, found her purse in our house, and grabbed the money which was readily apparent, leaving $50 which was hidden in a separate pocket. The people who live upstairs in our house came home and evidently scared him off, because he threw the purse into their entryway, perhaps by throwing it over their stairway from our back porch. Then Monday we leaned that Denise and Marcelo had been robbed while they were in the north of the state visiting her family there.
One COA trip was to the country home, Passo Tempo, of Marcos Antonio, a COA member and author of many bird books. While bird watching we found a Brazilian cauboi nearby. Some of the members were horse back riding near dusk and found a rattlesnake. At his parents house nearby was an enormous cactus 15 feet tall blooming.
Lotus's addition in Dec. 2000
Our last foray into the wilderness with COA was a trip south almost to the border of São Paulo state. The town where we turned south from the highway, Aiuroca, may mean "little parrot" in the Tupi language and as we bumped over the dirt road we began to see the mountain called "Bico de Papagaio" (Parrot Beak) near our destination, Matutu.
We were thrilled to enter the region where Araucaria trees grow naturally and marveled at their candelabra shapes with needle clumps borne like pompoms at the end of the branches. You could imagine the dinosaurs wandering among them as they did in the Mesozoic era. We hiked through a grove looking for the bird species restricted to Araucaria forests, like the Araucaria tit-spinetail, and then down to a stream where some climbed a steep bluff looking for more birds.
It had never occurred to me that the beaks and tongues of parrots and macaws were particularly well adapted to cracking open the "nuts" or seeds of the Araucarias, in Brasil popularly called pines of Paraná. There used to be many specialized nuteaters in the Araucaria forests of Paraná state to the south of São Paulo.
Our lodging was a chalet-like house owned by a physician in São Paulo who loaned it to Marco Antonio for the weekend. Her cook prepared dinner for us and we relaxed on the sunny porch afterwards some in hammocks, playing with the cats, some around a table with bird books, researching the bird species seen, and some riding horses in the Araucaria -studded valley.
*Not native to Brasil
Scientific Name Family Common Name [often several possible] Astronium fraxinifolium Anacardiaceae Gonçalo-alves Xylopia aromatica Annonaceae pimenta-de macaco Nerium olander* Apocynaceae oleandro, ou espirradeira Tabebuia roseoalba Bignoniaceae ipê branco Cybistax antisyphilitica " caroba-de flor-verde Jacaranda cuspidifeliz(?) " caroba (jacarandá) Stenolobium stans " ipê mirim, ou ipe de jardim Tabebuia avellanedae " ipê -roxo Tabebuia heptaphylla " ipê -roxo [twisty long pod] Zeyneria tuberculosa " ipê -tabaco Bixa orelana Bixaceae urucu, açafroa Pachira aquatica* Bombacaceae monguba Licania tomentosa Chrysobalanaceae oiti [fertilized by a bat?] Terminalia argentea Combretaceae Capitão Joannesia princeps Euphorbiacae cutieira Cariniana legalis [estrellensis?] Lecythidaceae jequitibá -rosa [or branco] (nail pod tree) Hibiscus rosa-sinensis* Malvaceae hibisco, ou mimo Tibouchina granulosa Melastomaceae quaresmeira (purple) Tibouchina mutabilis Melastomaceae cuipeúna; patch work quilt, pink to whitish [Tibouchina sellowiana?] " quaresmeira (purple) Tibouchina granuosa " quaresmeira roxa Cedrela fissilis " cedro Melia azedarach* " [Chinaberry: native to Asia] Swietenia macrophylla " mogno [mahogany] Myrciaria trunciflora Myrtaceae jaboticaba Eugenia uniflora Myrtaceae pitanga, Brazil Cherry Eugenia malaccensis* Myrtaceae Jambo; rose apple Bougainvillea glabra Nyctaginaceae primavera Attalea dubia Palmae indaiá (feather duster palm) Euterpe edulis Palmae içara (tall and thin) Terminalis triflora [triseed] Kielmeyra variabilis pau-santo Feijoa sellowiana goiaba-serrana [hanging green fruit] Calophyllum brasiliensis guanandi (or Holocalyx balansae) p. 154 Sequieria langsdorffii Phytoleceaceae agulheiro Gallesia integrifolia " pau-dAlho Triplaris brasiliana Polygonaceae pau-formiga Grevillea robusta* Proteaceae silk oak Rhizophora mangle Rhizophoraceae mangue-vermelho [American; mangrove] Balfourodendron riedelianum Rutaceae pau-marfim triangle seed Dombeya wallichii* Sterculiaceae astrapéia Guazuma ulmifolia Sterculiaceae mutambo [blackish golf ball p.p. with nubs] Salvertia convallariaeodora Vochysiaceae Goncalo-alves,colher-vaqueiro, folha-larga Qualea grandiflora Vochysiaceae pau-terra; yellow flowers ~Dec. in Cerrado Acacia polyphylla Leguminoseae monjoleiro [Mimosoidaeae] Caesalpinia echinata " Caesalpinoideae pau-brasil " ferrea " " pau-ferro (two seed colors) " peltophoroides " " sibipiruna " pulcherrima " " flamboyant mirim Bauhinia candicans " " pata-de-vaca [white flower] Cassia grandis " " geneúna Hymenaea courbaril " " jatobá Schizolobium parahyba " " guapuruvú, birosca Senna macranthera " " manduirana Senna multijuga " " pau-cigarra [crossways cigars in pod] Anadenanthera macrocarpa " Mim. angico Inga uruguensis " " ingá -do-brejo Mimosa caesalpiniaefolia " " sabia; [a WEED tree;pod with rectangular sections] Stryphnodendron adstringens " " barbatimão Centrolobium tomentosum " Papilionoideae araribá Dalbergia villosa " " canafistula-brava [by sch.vac. lot/pod imitates leaf] Clitoria fairchildiana " " sombreiro = shady tree [light purple flowers] Erythrina speciosa " " mulungu-do-litoral, ou eritrina candelabro Erythrina verna " " suinã Machaerium aculeatum " " pau-de-angu Ormosia arborea " ôlho-de cabra (red and black seed) Peltphorum dubium " ? faveiro Platymiscium floribundum " Pap. sacambu: imitates dead leaf ~ ICB [Pterogyne nitens or Luetzelburgia auriculata - needle nose maple seed-like] legume Pterodon pubescens?? Tamarindo tamarind [Couepia grandiflora (fruta-da-ema) or Rollina silvatica white seed ID?] Cassia fistula* " Caes. golden shower [tropical Asia] At the Jardim Botanico em Rio de Janeiro [especial]; (pai de Daniel = Alcimar Fernandes) Basiloxylon brasilensis pau rei Calycophyllum spruceanum Rubiaceae pau-mulato; mulatto tree Ceiba pentandra sumauma Couroupita guianensis Lecythidaceae castanha-de- cacao; cannon ball tree Eugenia caryophyllata Myrtaceae India Leis Caes= Copai Holocalyx balansae Caesalpinoideae alecrim [green ping-pong seed] Piper arboreum ? Sterculia rubiginosa orange pod from Burma/Malaysia New at Petí at Caraça 27 Sep 96 Bowdichia virgilioides Leguminoseae Pap...sucupira-do-cerrado [many small purpl;e flowers] Ormosia arborea " ôlho-de-cabra/boi red & black seeds Piptadenia gonoacantha Leguminoseae Paú- jacaré alligator tree
Anacardium occidentale Anacardiaceae caju, cashew Mangifera indica* " manga, mango Annona squamosa Annonaceae araticum, sweet sop Araucaria angustifolia Araucariacea Pinhão, Paraná Pinenui Ananas camosus Bromeliaceae abacaxi, pineapple Carica papaya Caricaceae mamão, papaya Caryocar brasiliense Caryocaraceae pequí, Souari nut Persea americana Lauraceae abacate, avocado Bertholletia excelsa Lecythidaceae castanha-do-pará, Brazil nut Malpighia glabra Malpighiaceae acerola, Barbados cherry Artocarpus integrifolia Moraceae jaca, Jackfruit Musa X paradisiaca Musaceae banana Psidium guajava Myrtaceae goiaba, guava Myrciaria cauliflora " jabuticaba Eugenia malaccensis " jambo, rose apple Averrhoa carambol Oxalidaceae carambola, star fruit Orbignya speciosa Palmae babaçu, babassu Coccus nucifera Palmae coco-da-bai, a coconut Passisflora edulis Passisfloraceae maracujá, passion fruit Paullinia cupana Sapindaceae guaraná * Not native to Brasil Sample observation of Birds at Petí: Observacão de Aves Local: Petí Nome cientifica Data : 27-29 Set 96 (Set = September) Captured in net (rede) Identified by song (canto) (P. = Passeriformes) Scientific name Nome comun Ordem Familia Phacellodomus ruber João graveto Passeriformes Furnariidae Thraupis sayaca sanhaço cinzento P. Thraupidae Turdus leucomelas sabiá-barranqueiro (Rede) P. Turdidae Chaetura andrei andorinhão-do temporal Apodiformes Apodidae Turdus rufiventris sabiá -laranjeira P. Turdidae Tangara cyanoventris saíra-douradinha P. Thraupidae Molothrus bonariensis vira-bosta P. Icteridae Stelgidopteryx ruficollis andorinha-serradora P. Hirundinidae Zonotrichia capensis tico-tico P. Fringillidae Piranga flava sanhaço-fogo P. Thraupidae Chiroxiphia caudata tangará (canto) P. Pipridae Aratinga leucophthalmus maritaca (canto) Psittaciformes Psittacidae Colonia colonus viuvinha P. Tyrannidae Mivalgo chimachima pinhé:gavião-carrapateiro Falconiformes Falconidae Formicivora cerrana choquinha (rede) P. Formicaridae Euphonia chlorotica vi-vi (canto) P. Thraupidae Camptostoma obsoletum risadinha (rede) P. Tyrannidae Turdus amurochalinus sabiá -poca (rede) P. Turdidae Nyctidromus albicollis curiango (canto) Calprimulgiformes Caprimulgidae 28 Set 96 added Pyriglena leucoptera papa-taóca (rede) P. Formicariidae Saltator similis trinca-ferro (rede) P. Fringillidae Amazilia lactea beja-flor-de-peito-azul (rede) Apodiformes Trochilidae Thamnophilus punctatus choca-bate-cabo (rede) P. Formicariidae Myiodynastes maculatus bem-ti-vi-rajado (rede)P. Tyrannidae Ilicura militaris soldadinho (rede) P. Pipridae Megarhynchus pitangua Neinei P. Tyrannidae Elaenia sp (rede) P. Tyrannidae Basileuterus culicivorus pula-pula (rede) P. Parulidae Syndactyla rufosuperciliata trepador-quiete (rede) P. Dendrocolaptidae Idioptilon nidiperidulum tachuri-campainha (rede) P. Tyrannidae Tolmomyias suphurescens bico-chato-de-orelha-preta (rede) P. Tyrannidae Dacnis cayana saí-azul P. Coerebidae Platypsaris rufus caneleirinho-de-chapéu-preto P. Contigidae Antilophia galeata soldadinho (rede) P. Pipridae Tangara cayana sanhaço-cara suja P. Thraupidae Phalacrocorax olivaceus biguá Pelicaniformes Phalacrocoracidae Casmerodius albus garça-branca-grande Ciconiiformes Ardeidae Egretta thula garça-branca-pequena Ciconiiformes Ardeidae Tyrannus melanchoalicus suiriri (rede) P. Tyrannidae Eupetomena macroura beija-flor-tesoura Apodiformes Trochilidae Automolus leucophthalmus barranqueiro-de-olho-branco P. Furnariidae Columba cayennensis pomba-galega Columbiformes Columbidae Piaya cayana alma-do-gato Cuculiformes Cuculidae Phaethornis preteri rabo-branco-de-sobre-amarelo Apodiformes Trochillidae 29 Set 96 added Penelope superciliaris jacupemba Galliformes Cracidae Tachyphonus coronatus tié-preto (rede) P. Thaupidae Forpus xanthopterygius tium (canto) Psittaciformes Psittacididae Coereba flaveola cambacica (rede) P. Coerebidae Thraupis palmarum sanhaço-de-coqueiro P. Thraupidae asileuterus flaveolus pula-pula (rede-predada) P. Parulidae Hylophilus poicilotis P. Vireonidae Otus choliba corujinha-do-mato (canto)Strigiformes Strigidae Todirostrum poliocephalum teque-teque P. Tyrannidae ??not certain pomba-caldo-de-feijão Columbiformes Columbidae Por Renata 16 Oct 96
US VISITORS TO BRASIL: from 1993 revised 12 Dec 96
If you plan an extended stay, you may expect "Culture Shock"after 6 weeks or so. The first few days may see "Atalhaupas Revenge"as your gut gets new E. coli strains. Tourists in hotels, etc. may escape these events.
Conditions that may distract or startle you:
1. Most building and houses have NO HEAT!
2. Window SCREENS to keep out mosquitos and flies are RARE!
3. Practically all houses and apartments have a resident GECKO (small lizard). No real problem, they are nice, eating ants, mosquitos and cockroaches. Ants are common inside houses.
4. Light fixture covers over light bulbs in the ceiling are frequently missing--j just the bare wires and bulb hanging out, even in the nicest modern rooms.
5. Town houses almost always have DEFENSIVE WALLS around the property, often with nails, broken glass, or barbed wire embedded in the top. Attack dogs (rarely lions) are contained within some properties, and by their sudden rush and barking may really startle pedestrians walking by.
6. CRAZY DRIVING is the rule in Brazil. Pedestrians often walk in the MIDDLE of the side streets.
7. Almost no one can tell you which way is NORTH! And YOU will have direction difficulties!
8. NO HOT WATER is in the tap, bathtubs are rare, but showers have electrically heated heads. Watch out for shorts and shocks.
9. Tomatoes and oranges are usually partly green in the store!
10. In lieu of door bells, the poorer houses, and in the country, hand CLAPPING is the way to announce your presence.
11. Old style European-colonialism is rather evident, most noticeable on a short term basis by the presence of servants, especially maids and cooks and gardeners.
12. INFLATION was ever present with over one percent per DAY for nearly 30 years! But since July 94 the Real has replaced the Cruziero and is more stable. In two years the Real has lost only 20 cents. (Oct.94 one USA dollar = 0.85 Real; Dec. 96 one USA dollar = 1.05 Real; 99 Indonesian "crash" --one Real = 0.56 cents.
13. Car/truck/bus wrecks, breakdowns, etc. will have broken off tree branches in the road in the lane of stoppage. Therefore, trees and bushes nearby are often in bad shape. Roads are generally bad. Some hills are very steep. (At least two or more in Belo Horizonte reach 30o incline.)
Every case is different. The particular city sometimes makes a difference. Rio is bad for armed theft. We are in Belo Horizonte, MG which we think is much better. Even so, in crowds watch out for pickpockets. Men: try to have both hand and arms free, which is likely a good deterrent.
What to wear? ....Stone washed or used jeans and T-shirts with English words, if you want to fit into the street or public scene. I found simple double pocket shirts were useful for carrying "documentos" , pen and note pad. [But keep passports, etc. hidden.] Close up you will almost certainly be easily marked as a foreigner no matter how you to try to fit in.
MONEY: Never keep large sums of cash on your person. Use a checkbook or credit card most of the time for groceries or any larger transaction. Be prepared to pay local urchins the equivalent of 10-50 cents (or more to a more adult person) to "guard"( = not injure) your parked car. Radios and anything of value are transferred to the trunk when parked on streets. In big shopping centers the cars are reasonably well guarded.
Take/bring "after bite" for the mosquitos or fleas that you might encounter on unexpected occasions. Actually, we never encountered mosquitoes, etc. in high numbers. In the winter you might want an electric room heater (or electric pad for the bed). There are small heaters that will fit into your suitcase--ours worked very well. You probably will not need this in coastal cities, because they are at low altitude,nor in the Manaus (Amazon) area.
You will miss: free water in restaurants...screens on the windows...bath tubs...automatic shift on cars...good rubber bands, non-breaking denatal floss, dependable postal service, and as foods: American pie, pecans, pepper in shakers, cheddar cheese, parsley, celery, tender beef, packets of sugar on restaurant table, and "Tums".
You will notice things such as wrist watches are often worn very loose like bracelets. Jean pants legs on men will usually have 1-3-5-7 bends above the shoe (top count = 11)!
US Visitors to Brazil--What you probably will like:
Climate: Depends on where you are. Pro: the city of Atibaia in the state of São Paulo is reputedly among the best 3 places in the world: Highlands of Minas Gerais such as the city of Belo Horizoante with temperatures from 45 oF minimum in the winter to 90 oF maximum in the summer. The rainy season has short thunder showers. Con: Amazonas (Manaus) is very hot and humid,--uncomfortable. And we were there in the winter!
1. Guaraná (especially Anarctica and Tai brands)--a soft drink.
2. Cheese bread (Pão queijo, specialty of Minas Gerais state).
3. Cupim (hump meat) in Churrascarias--sliced and served directly to your plate from sword. (50% fat?).
4. Exotic fruits including properly ripened Mangoes; Pineapple which is tasty even in the center.
Biology: It is fascinating!! There are many more and different species of:
Blooming graceful trees--some exotics like flame tree, spathodia, and munguba, as well as many natives like biroska (with a neat green trunk and graceful leaves against the sky), coqueiro palm, ipê (one species with white, others yellow, and purple-pinkish flowers), Erythrina with red fingers for blossoms, Quaresmeira (a pink or deep purple blossom) near Easter time...
Birds-- small flocks of parrots may fly overhead; the bananaquit may cheep at you from nearby shrubs; hummingbirds (beija flor or "flower kisser") are frequent....Not enough can be said about the birds -- fabulous!!!.....Very long legged wolf, armadillos, butterflies..etc. etc.
Animals...fascinating--see the jacaré, capivari, quati,...
Insects....Fascinating--various degrees of blue on Morpho butterflies, strange caterpillars, genetic varieties in one colony of some insects....
People: Generally, people like (gostão) Americans and are very helpful. They have a strong sense of family and have frequent "get togethers" with meals almost picnic style to which friends and visitors are made welcome. Racial mixtures are frequent with beautiful skin tones. English is frequently spoken rather well by the educated.
Language: Brazilian Portuguese has many words of African and Indian origin.
Mouse, for example, is camundongo [from Africa]. They use pedra for rock as well as ita [Indian]. The pronunciation is rather different than Spanish. Any word beginning in R is pronounced as an H. Thus, no native Brazilian goes to Rio [de Janeiro (rolled R)], but to HeeOh! Even in the middle of some words double rs are hs. Carro = Cahoe. Many, but not all, pronounce de, di, te, and ti as ch wherever it may be in the word. Many words similar to Spanish have the middle dropped out as a "lazy Spanish", so that salir in Spanish becomes sair (to leave).
Change: Conditions change rapidly as things are adopted from other countries, so some of the above will be wrong by the time you read this!