Sunday, December 12, 2010

September 4, 2010 - Trip to a Waterfall


September 4, 2010 - Trip to a Waterfall
Hot and dry winter, being at least at 600 km from the nearest beach, the solution came with my daughter’s school project on a waterfall I heard of since I was a child, but had never been there.
I drove my daughter through a two-way country road, in a desolate scenery. What used to be a lush wooded forest had been cut down for coffee farms, and in a few decades, it was transformed into cattle pasture. Acres of dry grassy land, alternating with sugar cane plantation, a more recent invasion in our State. We crossed a few small bridges, some with no water running below it. Soon, we went through a little village with three dingy looking bars, an abandoned church, a wooden house, rare nowadays. A few more kilometers, we drove by a city jail. The gray concret walls with four watch towers showed nothing but some kind of austerity, opposed to lazy looking sheep grazing outside. “Poor sheep, it must be very hot. Look at the yarn!” – I observed. They were miserably dirty with the hair tangled like long hair homeless person.
Several signs warning of big sugar cane truck crossing the road. In spite of it, I found no trucks and very little cars, if any, heading to where I was.
From far, we saw a tall chimney releasing black smoke up the sky. Soon, a nasty smell invaded our car. On one side, a gigantic pile of what must be crushed sugar cane, as tall as two story building. “What a great mulching it would be” – I thought. On the other side of the road, a large puddle with mud, resulting from plant processing. It reminded me of Erin Brockvich film.
Just past the sugar cane plant (sugar and alcool fuel factory), everything went back to look just as before. Just a parenthesis here to tell that sugar plant is not as sweet as we taste. It is disgustingly destructive to nature (and to our health).
Thirty three kilometers after we took this road, we finally arrived at the waterfall. In spite of short height, the view was impressive, and it made us very giddy. The strong fall produced some welcome fog, cooling us a bit. We sit down on a rock to sink our feet in water. That was the most we could do. The unfriendly water flow didn’t allow us for any mellow swim.
I went after the information for fish a friend had told me about. I dreamed of buying some fresh fished tilapia as I had seen some large bones on the beach. “No, it’s forbidden to fish now. Police has been here. It’s piracema (time when fish swim up against the stream, just like salmon). But if you want, you can drive past the big bridge and knock at the first house on your left. You may find some fish there.” – a local man informed me.
As I was at the waterfall for my daughter’s research discussing ecology, I pondered that it was somewhat unethical, immoral, and illegal to buy some fish to satisfy my glutony. Thank God I decided so. Two patrol cars suddenly appeared in front of my car. They were stopping suspicious fishermen or drunk drivers. I was above any suspicion. I was a lady driving a girl that couldn’t in the world do such a thing. Well, just in thinking. A cold beer would be good in a dry hot Saturday afternoon.

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