National Geographic : 1931 Jan
SKYPATHS THROUGH LATIN AMERICA Photograph by Jacob Gayer WHAT SMALL BOY WOULDN'T LIKE TO RIDE A LLAMA! On this dignified and mincing steed, a small son of Argentina inspects the Zoological Gar dens of Buenos Aires. The zoo itself offers a fascinating collection of animals, and the grounds present one of the best examples of landscape gardening in South America. Then it rained. Water fell all about us, shutting out a world-famed view we had waited for-the flock of odd, queer-shaped mountain rocks about Rio. These are a curiosity. They look almost artificial, as if on the earth yet not of it. You fancy that some big David on another planet used his sling to hurl these bowlders through space at our world, with Rio as his bull's eye (see, also, page 68). "This makes aviators gray-headed," said the pilot, as we bored ahead into the squall curtain. Horizons faded into rain. We never moved around in the plane when the pilot was "flying blind." He warned us not to. "I can't take my eyes off the instruments, to work the stabilizer," he explained. "But Rabbi Hawkins is always lucky," his fellow Navy officers used to say. "Even if he did crash in the Dole Race of 1927, he always gets a break." When a hole of light showed through clouds ahead, Hawkins gave the big Nyrba ship "all the motors had," and we fairly raced for that hole. And there was Sugar Loaf and Rio, overcast but visible, with one of its mountains, "The Finger of God," reaching up and poking into clouds. "Most beautiful bay in the world," the travel-stained call this. Brilliant capital of a nation that embraces nearly half the land and more than half of the people in all South America. But from the air you see Rio not as one big city unit like Chicago. A great city, with upward of 2,000,000 people; but broken into kaleidoscopic parts that are tucked away into green valleys, set on points of land, spread in the grace ful bends of blue bays. Some cling like Tibetan monasteries to steep, wooded hills. To develop films, to explore and picture this amazing city of theatrical architecture and scenic hills, the expedition halted many days. OUT OF RIO ON THE WINGS OF MORNING Then, to see at first hand how planes on regular schedule are run, I flew with the mail plane for Buenos Aires. Gayer and Stevens followed on the Argentina, when again in commission after repairs at Pernambuco.