Francisco De Orellana’s Epic Navigation Of The Amazon

Francisco de Orellana Bejarano Pizarro y Torres de Altamirano was born in Trujillo, Spain, probably around 1511, although the precise date is uncertain.  He seems to have been a relative of the conqueror of Peru, Francisco Pizarro; and this sanguinary connection, combined with opportunities for glory and wealth, may have provided the impetus for him to emigrate to the New World around 1527.  He joined Pizarro’s army and served his kinsman well in the power struggles that were then rife among the Spaniards; and when the dust settled, he found himself in possession of substantial tracts of land in Ecuador, and an unsatiated ambition.

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The Positivism Of Benjamin Constant

I made an effort today to visit the house and museum of Benjamin Constant in the Santa Teresa neighborhood in Rio de Janeiro.  I had visited it some years ago and thought it would be a good idea to see it again to gain some perspective.  The site was closed for renovations, unfortunately, so I had to content myself with a few photographs of the surrounding area.  These can be found below.

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Selection And Supervision Are Critical In Any Great Enterprise

I have lately been rereading Candace Millard’s excellent River of Doubt, a narrative of Theodore Roosevelt’s ill-fated sojourn through the Amazon in 1914.  As is well known, the expedition was plagued by a lack of adequate food supplies and equipment.   This fact nearly caused the entire project to unravel once it was deep in the Amazon.

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A Pineapple Plantation, Sete Cidades, Ribeira Grande, And More

Yesterday saw a lot of travel around São Miguel.  We started at a pineapple plantation near Ponta Delgada.  Pineapples are here called “ananas” instead of the word they use in Brazil, which is abacaxi.  I’m told there is a botanical difference between these two words, depending on who you speak to.  Those interested in learning more can find an informative discussion on Quora about it here.  The cultivation of the pineapple is very sophisticated, and the fruit here is the best I’ve ever tasted.

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Visiting Lagoa Do Fogo, A Tea Factory, Santa Iria, Lagoa Das Furnas, And More

We explored more of the island of San Miguel today.  Starting off early in the morning, we drove by van to the volcanic lake known as Lagoa do Fogo.  It’s a very scenic drive from the city of Ponta Delgada, and I was impressed with how organized and well-planned the agricultural efforts are here.

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Ponta Delgada, San Miguel, The Azores

I arrived in Ponta Delgada on the island of San Miguel in the Azores early yesterday morning.  I have had a chance to do a bit of exploring of the city, and have some short trips lined up for the coming week.  I’m very impressed so far; the climate is temperate and pleasant, and the overall “feel” of the city is very congenial.  I was surprised at how different the idiom here is compared to the style of Portuguese spoken in Brazil.  It is very different, at least to me.

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Mundaú, Brazil

When a man is exposed to different modes of life, his sense of understanding and sympathy is correspondingly activated.  Preconceptions and prejudices begin to recede into the mist, and steps are made, perhaps still hesitatingly, towards a feeling of human commonalities.  And things that may once have seemed to be so important in our own lives take on a much more diminished aspect.

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