Theodore Roosevelt (18581919). Through the Brazilian Wilderness. 1914.
of toucans, conspicuous even among the tree tops because of their huge bills and the leisurely expertness with which they crawled, climbed, and hopped among the branches. We went by several fazendas.
Shortly before noonJanuary 16we reached Tapirapoan, the headquarters of the Telegraphic Commission. It was an attractive place, on the river-front, and it was gayly bedecked with flags, not only those of Brazil and the United States, but of all the other American republics, in our honor. There was a large, green square, with trees standing in the middle of it. On one side of this square were the buildings of the Telegraphic Commission, on the other those of a big ranch, of which this is the headquarters. In addition, there were stables, sheds, outhouses, and corrals; and there were cultivated fields near by. Milch cows, beef-cattle, oxen, and mules wandered almost at will. There were two or three wagons and carts, and a traction automobile, used in the construction of the telegraph-line, but not available in the rainy season, at the time of our trip.
Here we were to begin our trip overland, on packmules and pack-oxen, scores of which had been gathered to meet us. Several days were needed to apportion the loads and arrange for the several divisions in which it was necessary that so large a party should attempt the long wilderness march, through a country where there was not much food for man or beast, and where it was always possible to run into a district in which fatal cattle or horse diseases were prevalent. Fiala, with his usual efficiency, took charge of handling the outfit of the American portion of the expedition, with Sigg as an active and