Brazil, The Great Amazon Adventure Starts, Uncategorized

Trust in People: Belem – Museu Paraense Emílio Goeldi

After a a groggy start we stocked-up our energy on Tapioca pancakes (, caffeine and juice and tried to start to address the issues that had arisen. We had a quick win over breakfast when George’s EMBRAPA colleague Santarem came through big time – access to two sites, a vehicle and a cheap (almost free) field station to lodging – what a great way to start the day even if the restaurant coffee was a bit strange !!

But this too was rectified when we arrived at Marlucia’s lab at the Goeldi Museum – she is wonderful lady and quickly picked up that coffee is an constant and essentiel part of my diet. At this point I should describe the Goeldi Museum as it may not be what you think. Belem will celebrate its 400th birthday next year and the
Museum its 150th but the museum only has limited public exhibition space, the main site is a research station dedicated to collection and preserving the biodiversity, archeology and anthropology of Amazonia – its basically a research institute dedicate to that task.

After a wonderful morning with Marlucia and her students we went ‘next door’ to visit George’s EMBRAPA colleagues and have some lunch – and like clockwork after lunch it rained. I love tropical rain when you are NOT trying to dig for worms. After the torrential rain had stopped ……

…..we made our way back to the museum to meet with one of their Archeologists, Helena Lima. This was when things really turned around.  George presented a project overview followed by one of Marlucia students presenting her contribution to the project – but all along we were learning more about tera preta from Helena …. what a fantastic lady.  Then mid way through the session we were talking about our frustrations in finding accessible sites in Manaus with the correct permits to dig and it turned out that Helena had a permit for a dark earth site nearly in the centre of Manaus – this meant the field team could complete the site count we needed….fantastic news (I will leave the truly amazing storey about the pre-columbian people for tomorrows blog as I think it deserves a little more than off hand comment).

So two of our problems sorted and even better having got Helena fully on board with the project a very happy team returned to the flat ….. yes even happy there was a sudden silence as we all turned to our computers and the internet from which we had been starved all day. Then the best news of all came through – the team in Manaus had done both sites we had to abandon on saturday……what a achievement….the guys had done the impossible and pulled off two sites in a day!!

Time for a beer….or two.

Time for a beer