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Theodore Roosevelt (1858–1919). Through the Brazilian Wilderness. 1914.

Page 62

forged steadily onward, hung the tropic night, dim and vast.
  On December 15 we reached Corumb&á. For three or four miles before it is reached the west bank, on which it stands, becomes high rocky ground, falling away into cliffs. The country roundabout was evidently well peopled. We saw gauchos, cattle-herders—the equivalent of our own cowboys—riding along the bank. Women were washing clothes, and their naked children bathing, on the shore; we were told that caymans and piranhas rarely ventured near a place where so much was going on, and that accidents generally occurred in ponds or lonely stretches of the river. Several steamers came out to meet us, and accompanied us for a dozen miles, with bands playing and the passengers cheering, just as if we were nearing some town on the Hudson.
  Corumb&á is on a steep hillside, with wide, roughly paved streets, some of them lined with beautiful trees that bear scarlet flowers, and with well-built houses, most of them of one story, some of two or three stories. We were greeted with a reception by the municipal council, and were given a state dinner. The hotel, kept by an Italian, was as comfortable as possible—stone floors, high ceilings, big windows and doors, a cool, open courtyard, and a shower-bath. Of course Corumb&á is still a frontier town. The vehicles ox-carts and mule-carts; there are no carriages; and oxen as well as mules are used for riding. The water comes from a big central well; around it the water-carts gather, and their contents are then peddled around at the different houses. The families showed the mixture of races characteristic