Discovering the environment in Chapada Diamantina
Abstract : I got to visit one of the most beautiful regions in Brazil, Chapada Diamantina, which means Diamond Plateau in English. I got to hike up hill, swim under waterfalls, and explore caves, and I have pictures to show it all! Take a look at my adventures in nature.
Introduction: Chapada Diamantina is an area of Brazil with beautiful mountains and rock formations. Natural changes of the Earth over hundreds of thousands of years have created natural beauty from mountains and hills to caves and waterfalls. There are also different ecosystems. Some places are dry, with sand and not many trees. Some places look like a jungle, with a lot of trees and water. Another interesting thing is that the mountains here used to be naturally filled with gold and diamonds, and people would come from all around the world to work there and mine for these precious materials. The gold and diamonds are all gone now, and tourists come and visit to see how beautiful it is instead. This area has been through a lot of change in its history.
Local Time: 11:45am
Time Zone: Brazilian Standard Time
Location (Latitude, Longitude): 13° 49′ 0″ South, 41° 43′ 0″ West
How far did I travel this week? To get to Chapada Diamantina, I had to travel 260 miles from Salvador. The bus ride took about seven hours. Many parts of the road were bumpy and not paved, so we had to drive quite slowly to be safe.
How far have I traveled on your journey so far? So far I have traveled almost 6,000 miles since I left my home in Chicago. This is just the beginning, because when my classes end in June I will travel for a month all over South America. I’ll be able to get to know even more cool places. I still have 3,500 more miles to go!
How did I get around this week? First, we had to take a bus to get from Salvador to the where we stayed in Chapada Diamantina, called Lençois. The roads are very old and not very good, so the ride was very bumpy and a little scary. This week I also got to go on many adventures to see beautiful sights in nature. For most places, we first had to drive through the woods. We rode in a jeep with no windows so we couldn’t easily see the pretty views on either side of the car. Then, we got out of the car and hiked the rest of the way to places that cars cannot access. The longest hike we had to do was 5 hours each way. That’s a lot of walking!
What was the most interesting place I visited this week? A really interesting and beautiful place that I visited on this trip was a hill called Morro de Pai Inácio. People say that it has the best views in all of Chapada Diamantina, and I agree. The top is flat and you can get a 360-degree view, seeing the region in every direction. We had to climb 1,300 feet to get to the top, which took half an hour. The view from the top is beautiful, and you can see other hills covered in green trees and bushes and a very beautiful blue sky. It feels like being on top of the world!
Other travel news: When we got to the top of the hill, our tour guide told us to sit down so that he could tell us a story. There is a legend that tells the story of a man, called Father Inácio that was in love with a woman but her dad did not approve. When the dad came looking for Father Inácio, he hid up on this mountain. There is a rock on the top of the hill that is naturally in the shape of a heart, and people say that it represents the heart of Father Inácio.It really looks just like a heart!
Weather Tally (enter the # of days for each weather type):
Partly cloudy: 1
What is the air temperature right now? 70 ° F
How was the weather this week? The weather this week was amazing! For the first time in Brazil, I was a little bit chilly! The weather here is only a little bit colder than my regular home in Salvador, but since we were climbing hills high up in the air, the temperature was even cooler. The sun was out and the weather was beautiful, but it was nice to not feel hot for the first time!
What animals did I see this week? This week I saw many horses and donkeys, because people use them for transportation through the mountains and bumpy land. I also saw a few little monkeys that live in the forest here. They were hard to see because they blend in with the trees. Look at the picture and see if you can find them!
What was the coolest thing I saw in nature this week? The coolest thing I saw this week was Fumaça Waterfall, which is the second highest waterfall in Brazil. It is more than 1000 feet tall!
Other Nature News: Fumaça Waterfall is so tall, that the water does not even touch the ground after it falls from the very top. The wind blows the water in different directions, so it looks like a mist. What an amazing part of nature!
What languages are spoken here? People speak Portuguese here, but there are also a lot of people who speak English, since so many tourists come to visit. It was very different speaking to people in English since I am so used to speaking in Portuguese!
What type of money is used here? They use the Brazilian Real here.
How much does a bottle of water cost? Water was a little bit more expensive here than usual, since there are so many tourists. A bottle of water was about 3 Reais, while normally it is 2.
What was the best meal this week? The best food I had this week were all the fresh fruits I found growing on the many trees in this environment. One of my favorites is a guava, which is hot pink on the inside and green on the outside, and it tastes sweet and flowery. They also had many mango trees, from which you can pick off fruit from the trees and eat. The best part is all of the different types of fresh fruit can be made into juice!
What music did I listen to this week? This week I mostly listened to all the sounds in nature as I hiked through forests. I heard birds, insects, monkeys, and the creaking of people stepping on leaves and branches. I also heard the rushing of waterfalls and the quieter movement of little streams of water. It was so peaceful!
What activity was the most fun this week? This week, I got to snorkel and look at fish inside a cave! It was so dark that you had to use an underwater flashlight to see the fish. The water was very blue and clear, and it was a really cool experience!
What did I read this week? This week I am reading a book called On the Road, by Jack Kerouac.
What games or sports did I play this week? This week I had a lesson of how to do Capoeira, the cool mix of martial arts and dance that is traditional in Brazil. I was not very good at it at first, but I am definitely learning. I want to keep taking classes when I get back to the U.S. What else do you remember about Capoeira?
Other news from this week: Another cool activity I got to do this week was to hike underground, inside a cave. Everyone in the group had to wear a hat, so they did not hit their head on the low and bumpy ceiling. Everyone also had a flashlight so that they could see inside the dark cave. One time, the tour guide stopped the group and told everyone to sit down and turn their flashlights off. Without the flashlights, it was completely dark, the darkest place I have ever been. Even with your eyes opened, it looked the same as if you had your eyes closed. Do you think you would have been scared?