Brazil: Life, Blood and Soul by John Malathronas

By John Malathronas

Brazil is an eclectic country that conjures up photographs of brilliant carnivals, crowded shanty cities and soccer at the seashore. formed by way of its many cultures, the Portugese, African, local Indian and eu groups have ensured the evolution of a colorful, various inhabitants. John Malathronas fell prey to Brazil's seductive attract within the early Nineteen Eighties, a fascination that maintains to this present day. His odyssey throughout the adrenaline-fuelled, chaotic urban bars, the extravagant carnival, the plush rainforest and the destitute shanty cities finds the throbbing heartbeat of the rustic.

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Between 1898 and 1900, rubber was responsible for a quarter of all Brazilian exports by value, superseded only by coffee. But the seeds, if I may use the word, of the region’s eventual demise had been flown to London from Santarém in 1876. Botanists in the Royal Gardens at Kew were studiously cultivating the hevea brasilensis, eventually to acclimatise it for the tropics of South-East Asia. Once the rubber monopoly was broken, two things happened very rapidly: the region’s economic prosperity declined and the motor car took off in a big way.

Pretty strong proto-feminist stuff, Alexander. La Condamine actually developed a nice theory and Humboldt agreed: a tribe of women warriors conceivably lived first by the Amazon and then retreated to the mountains near the Guyanas. Perhaps they might 52 THE MYTHS ARE ALIVE have slowly developed a renewed taste for men: the daughters drifted apart from their mothers over three centuries with every successive generation. ’ However much we smile and shake our heads in the twenty-first century, one fact remains true: the people who visited the Amazon between the sixteenth and the nineteenth centuries and interviewed the Indians were convinced that the Amazons existed.

The fish is so voracious it has been known to leap outside the water and grab small birds. Pirarucu scales are so large that locals use them for sanding furniture. It has a tongue of bone where a set of secondary teeth grow – to enable it to eat those armoured catfish. It also breathes oxygen through its swim bladder, which reaches its mouth. It uses this anatomical oddity to create a vacuum in the water and suck up everything in its path. It is literally the Hoover of the Amazon. I ordered it with shrimp sauce and it tasted like cod.

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