National Geographic : 1952 Nov
/IU Jungle Heat and Tree Made of Palm Leaves Fail to Dim the Joy of Christmas Mr. Siemel played "Silent Night" on the piano, and his wife read The Night Before Christmas, substi tuting swamp deer for Santa's Donder and Blitzen. But when it came to explaining snow to these children of the Tropics, the parents gave up (page 712). Homemade dolls proved a big success, and so did a tiddly winks set concocted from cayman teeth. Sandra's pet parakeet (on the floor) shared the excitement. first few miles it has a relatively clear chan nel. However, as our strange flotilla moved southward, prodded gently by the little dug out, we began to find patches of shallow water clogged with water lilies and marsh weeds. Carlos, as pilot, planted himself confidently on the roof of the houseboat, near the forward end, and directed Lauro, who was guiding the dugout. Carlos was a stocky little man, with swarthy features and a black mustache which gave him a singularly ferocious appearance. He took his duties seriously. It was not long, however, before it became obvious that Carlos was not as familiar with the cutoff route as we had supposed. We threaded the narrow passage and suddenly emerged upon a lake almost completely green with water plants; the roots had matted to gether to form "islands" of vegetation (page 704). It looked as if the River Gypsy would have to become a sled. I yelled down to Lauro to proceed slowly. Carlos came running back, his dark face a picture of consternation. "I swear to you, Sefior Siemel," he cried, "I did not anticipate this!" I explained that none of us had anticipated it; and Lauro, growling from below the rail, explained a few things more in Portuguese, which did not increase Carlos's peace of mind.