Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Pink dolphin continued

And this is the penis bone of the pink dolphin. It's not exactly a "bone" but a sinew-like material that maintains rigidity. We weren't fortunate enough to find one on the rack of bones found on the Arapiuns River; indeed, it may have been a female. I bought this amulet at the Ver-O-Peso marketplace in Belém, maybe 15 years ago. The most popular legend of the Amazon, without doubt, is the one of the boto, or pink dolphin. In a personalized version, it goes something like this: "The boto loves a party, and there is always one going on among the numerous communities scattered along the river ways. As the festival gets warmed up, with the usual loud music and heavy shuffling of feet, the boto comes out of the water and transforms himself into a charming man in a white shirt, white pants and white shoes and even a white hat to cover his blowhole. He is very fast on the dance floor and also gifted for winning over the young ladies during the course of the night. Just before the sun comes up, the boto returns to his everyday life as a dolphin, and the young maiden returns home. Nine months later, the girl's parents want to know who the father of the newborn is, and more often than not the reply is, “It's the boto.

The sexual attributes of dolphins are widely admired by people of the Amazon and it is, therefore, not surprising that organs of the animal are used as amulets. Looking at a person you would like to befriend through the dried eyeball of a dolphin is but one of many beliefs associated with this friendly mammal. Penis bones and vaginas of dolphins are also to be found among the many amulets being sold at market places around the Amazon." Excerpts taken from my book, Santarém - Riverboat Town.

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