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Brazil, this page has pictures from 2 visits to Maranhao, in North Eastern Brazil, it is hot and dry and full of interesting things to see.
Getting there from London takes some time, London to Sao Paulo then Sao Paulo to San Luis, which is another
three and a half hours flight, then there is a 4 hour drive down to Barreirinhas, which is where we are based.
It is a dusty little town about 25 miles inland on a large river, once just a fishing village is trying to reinvent itself
as a tourist destination en route to the Lencois, the famous sand dunes along the coast, but it is a hard job.
Here are a few things I have noticed:
Açai berries, what you cannot see are the ants and sap suckers that are all over the stems,
the berries are hard and I beleive the pulp is extracted mechanically.
Butterfly, there are lots of large butterflies, unfortunately very few of them ever settle
so it is not easy to get pics of them.
Another one on a wall.
A hummingbird, possibly chlorostibon aureoventris, about natural size, when flying it makes a
sound a bit like an old fashioned alarm clock being wound up
Lizard, almost certainly Ameiva ameiva, this one is about a foot long (30cm) and was in the
habit of coming out into the garden dead on midday most days, struts around like he owns
the place. I once saw a much larger light and dark banded lizard that was about 18 inches
long, but alas the camera was in the kitchen.
This lizard is about 9 inches long, species unknown.
This one is about 7 or 8 inches, the thorax is a bronze colour and the tail is a pale, very pale
green. These lizards are just a few of the ones loitering in the garden most days, they eat
anything from ants, flies, small bees, beatles and most hearteningly of all, cockroaches,
which we have plenty of... there is nothing as pleasing as seeing a lizard with a cockroach
in its mouth.
Mangoes a plenty, these were particularly good.
A dusty road in Barreirinhas.
Another dusty road in Barreirinhas.
The road to Boa Vista.
The roundabout, which is next to a sand dune, sand gets blown over the road every night
and a large JCB is out every morning early to clear it.
Black vultures on a roof, there is obviously something interesting in that garden.
The tourist quarter of San Luis.
Cashews, the fruit is very tasty but does not keep so is never seen far from where it grows
The nuts have to be roasted to get them out of their hard shells, which contain a caustic layer, see below
Neither easy nor particularly pleasant, but the nuts, when you get them out are fantastic and better than anything bought in the UK
Another interesting fruit, the seliguela, this is the local name for it and I have no idea of its real name.
It is about the size of a grape, orange when ripe with a sizeable stone and very sweet, with a hint of bitterness.
I have never seen them here.
The beach at Barreirinhas, it is on a river, but is used as a beach by the locals for swimming and football
Tutoia, a coastal town about 35 miles away, but several hours in a 4x4 as it is mostly sand roads to get there.
Toyota in tutoia, this is the favourite vehicle for getting around where there are not many made up roads
In tutoia, translated says Rubbish dumping probhibited......
Papaya, big and fat, growing in a friends garden.
A spider in the kitchen, this one is a real giant, legs a good 4 inches long and pretty speedy too.
Flying in to Sao Paulo from Sao Luis, you can see how big it is...
Another view of the city, it is about 5pm, the London flight leaves about 11, see you another day....