Travel Reference
In-Depth Information
The natives say that this dish is of great nutritive value, but even many of them refuse to eat
it, unless driven to it by necessity as we were then, and once more on another occasion. As far
as I am concerned, I would sooner try Voronoff's monkey glands than another pot of stewed
We were some distance from the sea and near the continental divide. At night we could
see fires along the mountain, from which we were separated by jungles that have never been
trodden by human foot. These fires were made by very primitive Indians who inhabit these -
to white man - unknown parts.
Having travelled in the damp heat all day, we came to a small, clear river where we un-
dressed before crossing to the other side. Seeing a nice clear pool a little distance upstream
I went there and was just about to plunge in to have a swim when, at the last moment, my
guide saw me and shouted 'lagartos'! (crocodiles). Needless to say, I did not dive in, although
I did not believe that crocodiles came so far up from the coast. Looking around the edges of
that pool, I could see two or three dark shapes, like big logs, just under the water. I took my
revolver, which was lying with my clothes, and fired at the biggest of them. In an instant what
had been a beautiful still pool was transformed into a bubbling, seething flood, the wounded
crocodile lashing about madly until he made a dive to the bottom.
Next morning the guide went back to the pool to see if he could find the dead 'croc,' and
after some delay returned with a tin full of crocodile fat, which is used as a cure for rheumat-
ism, sore throats, cuts - in fact, for almost every human complaint, much the same as grasa
de potro (horse's fat) is used in the pampas of Argentina.
Before reaching the Rio Grande de Terraba we came out of the jungles and rode over hilly
prairie land. The scenery was very pretty and the climate pleasant, and to my surprise this
seemingly excellent land for cattle raising was uninhabited. This may be due to the fact that it
is difficult to reach, being wedged in between jungles, swamps and the mountain range to the
north, but surely some day these regions will be transformed into a regular paradise.
The Rio Grande de Terraba was low, but even so we had considerable trouble in crossing
it. The guide said that we must be very careful and he swore that many of these rivers had an
encanto (evil spell) which often pulled horses below the waters to drown them, especially if
they happened to be fat. This seemed quite explainable to me, for it is obvious that the fatter
an animal is, the sooner will it tire whilst swimming.
a detour. In some places we rode among smouldering tree trunks, and finally were hopelessly
lost. We knew our direction, but it was impossible to go that way, for the jungle could not be
penetrated anywhere except where there was an animal track or a foot trail. We were forced
to cross and re-cross the Rio Grande de Terraba higher up, and to make things worse a heavy
rain fell, and I began to fear we would not be able to reach civilisation before the rainy season
set in again. The country was very hilly and the horses frequently slipped, stumbled and fell,
and as we had to advance with utmost caution our progress was naturally very slow. My boots
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