All day the red-flowered trees formed the most striking and characteristic feature of the forest. The palms, so characteristic of the woods for two hundred miles above Para, are almost wanting today. Palm thatched houses of the Indians occur at intervals of a mile or two on both banks. A canoe of course, for travel and fishing. Some of these Indian settlers had cleared a little space in the dense growth for a few banana trees. Lots of naked children come running down to the water’s edge to see the ship go by. A little rubber is collected at these lonely settlements for trade at stations of the Portuguese that occur at wide intervals, for calico, tobacco, coffee, coal oil, etc. These Indians are said to keep their lamps lighted all night for superstitious reasons. Meadow-like openings are becoming common. Passed sandstone bluffs with high ground back of them on the south side of the river. The strata horizontal. Very warm. Wind abaft, making almost dead air. At sunset a flock of the celebrated Brazil mosquitoes came aboard, and invaded the dining room, where we were seated at the tables, causing lively slapping and clapping, in defending ourselves from their stings. The clapping was so continuous that a stranger might fancy that a speaker was being cheered. The dead mosquitoes were piled on the table-cloth at the side of each plate and each seemed to be as anxious to make good use of the sport that he seemed to enjoy it, each claiming a greater number of the game than their neighbors.
Original journal dimensions: 7.5 x 13 cm.
Holt-Atherton Special Collections, University of the Pacific Library
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John Muir, journals, drawings, writings, travel, journaling, naturalist