So I left you long enough with such an unsubtle question, where am I? Of course I decided to go to the place every plant biologist wish to visit in his/her/its life, Amazonia. Note that I guess many other biologist kinds and non-biologists would have a little kid’s dream like this one.
When I eventually realised being a biologist is different from having an academic position, or a position in society at all, and since part of my family in law is here and there for some time now, I decided I better have to go. Some grow up, some go in.
After the fold, a few pix to describe a more precise area, since Amazonia exist only on a map, and we should probably better pluralise the place to better reflect changes in substance occuring between natural areas. But here it is.
First I crossed French Guyana after a staying a few days and give a talk, and have a look at the forest of course (it is completely different from Amazon, and at least near the frontier, much more primary). That’s not quite long, only a height hours drive from Cayenne to Saint George, but the road is much like what we get in French Brittany, turning and turning and returning, up and down, and not very large. This is forest almost all along.
A very interesting step is crossing the frontier between France and Brasil. That’s just a river to go, and many people will offer you to. Made me think as to what borders are, in essence. Historically, in many places borders are natural frontiers (rivers, mountains) that would be difficult for a whole army to cross. Amazingly, such natural borders are actually nowadays fairly easy to cross (and in this regard, quite difficult to control, as seems to be the rule in this area where golden forests are unfortunately growing on lands filled with a few actual gold stones and thus represent survival open resources to too many poor people).
The river crossed and you’re now in Brasil. You’ve to yourself get your stamp on the passport. Some day in a near future, the frontier will even be crossed by driving or walking through the new bridge. No doubt there will be a lot of economic activity around next.
Then I reached another port, on the Amazon this time. Macapa. Night Bus. But as the night took over the day, I was really surprised to see how the land was much more occupied in Brasil than in Guyana, way more villages, meadows populated with Cecropias, and secondary forests taking land back. The change is sensible.
Macapa to Santarem. A boat trip on the amazing Amazon. Pictures speak for themselves. There will be more about there soon… :-)
The long boat trip (about two days despite an impressive speed) revealed something interesting. The region is both wild and at places frequently inhabited… Rarely would you wait long before you see some house. Sometimes you would wait a few dozen kilometers. But the western part of the Amazon is of course the wilder jungle place…
Now I left the Amazon river to step on the Tapajos, near Santarem. I’ll post pictures, but guess what, I have few time to spend before a computer when there’s so much to see up there… :-)