Wednesday, July 09, 2008
This past Sunday we invited some friends from the medical community in Belém for a riverboat trip of the Tapajós and Amazon Rivers. It wasn't exactly our party because their cardiologist colleagues and families from Santarém did more than their share of providing hospitality and they took care of most of the expenses too. Our departure point was from a residential area on the sandy beach of the Tapajós River close to the old SUDAM headquarters. This home had at one time been the residence of one of the richest persons in Santarém, nothing less than a modest mansion. I remember it well from those days, but I was well aware that the owner has gotten old and is in poor health. He moved into house across from the street from the Tapajós River downtown and what was once a place of luxury has deteriorated considerably. The river and its sandy beach are still there in all their glory, but the residential infrastructure reminds me of some lost Mayan civilization. As expected, the departure time kept being pushed back, so I broke away from my friends to look at trees and plants. One of the first things I noticed was this fig-like tree that had taken over an old cashew tree. Looking at it closer, I came to the conclusion that maybe it wasn't a fig tree at all. Could it be that it's a Clusia? The two have a lot of the same attributes in that they produce enough roots and foliage that they eventually strangle their hosts. Next image, the trunk of the tree.