National Geographic : 1937 Dec
BONDS BETWEEN THE AMERICAS farms more than 12,000 acres have been cleared and planted to 2,200,000 seedlings. In a nursery about five million more young trees are being grown. The com pany has built its own town, with water works, sewers, hospital, stores, homes for the United States staff and native workers, a sawmill, dry kilns, electric plant, miles of roads, docks, warehouses, etc. It is also experimenting with a view to growing and marketing other tropical products, such as fibers, nuts, and vegetable oils. At Santarem, near Ford's new town, a now vanished colony of "unreconstructed" Southern States citizens settled after our Civil War. FLOOR WAX FROM AN AMAZON PALM Carnauba wax, the map shows, originates in northeast Brazil. It comes from a palm; Europe burned carnauba wax candles more than a century ago. Brazilian natives call this palm "the tree of life"; to them it is anything from food, drink, and medicine to hat, mat, broom, hammock, and cow feed. Only its wax interests us; we use it to help make talking-machine records, to cover coils in radios, but mostly in floor wax and polishes (page 787). At Fortaleza, chief port of Ceara, the Johnson Company, of Racine, Wisconsin, operates its own laboratory and also owns experimental palm farms in the interior. Few angles of our trade geography reveal modern trends more graphically than do the adventures of the airplane exploring party sent to Brazil by this company. Says H. F. Johnson, Jr., who led the expedition: "We not only flew all the way from Racine to Brazil in our plane, but flew it up the Amazon to see Ford's rubber farms on the Tapaj6z; hunting palm trees, we made many flights along the Parnahyba; we flew up the wild, little-known Tocantins, over savage Indian country and vast, track less forests, and back and forth, up and down streams that didn't show at all on our maps. Along the Jaguaribe we saw heavy stands of carnauba palms. "Flying over high country between Ceara and Pernambuco, with all its canyons, rocks, and palisades, reminded us of the high plateau described in Conan Doyle's Lost World. Landing was often a problem. One native had told us we could come down on a large lake near Iguatfi; the lake proved to be just where he said it was, and just as large-but it was too full of trees! "Every day brought some new experi ence. Often I caught and sketched colored insects, butterflies, lizards; one little fellow had glue on his feet, and stuck to my hand. I watched monkeys swinging from rope like vines. Such vines were sometimes hundreds of feet long. I tried swinging on them, like Tarzan in the movies, and found they would support my weight. "I heard many strange bird calls. One bird had a cry that sounded like the de clension of the Latin pronoun-'hic, haec, hoc.' I named it the 'Latin Bird.' " Who says foreign trade is all dull, noth ing but figures! Booming, bustling Venezuela graphically reflects the give-and-take of our foreign trade. With fewer people than Chicago and more area than any European nation except Russia, it has neither a domestic nor a for eign debt! "There must be oil here," men said, when they found a 1,000-acre asphalt lake in the State of Monagas and more like it around the Lake of Maracaibo. And there was! Beneath that lake and the swampy lands of its old bed lies one of earth's greatest petroleum pools. Along with Anglo-Neth erlands corporations, several United States companies hold concessions here. Special light-draft tankers and novel ways of drilling in the shallow Lake of Ma racaibo are aspects of these operations. Anglo-Dutch firms have been as busy as the Yankees in drilling here; but most machinery, tools, and pipe-line supplies came from the United States. Dizzy oil millions dumped into Vene zuela's lucky lap pay now for her huge public-works program, for new roads, har bors, model factories, theaters, hotels, and bus lines. MEAT AND BANANAS CROSS THE SEAS With almost dramatic swiftness Uncle Sam lost his job as the world's biggest butcher when his beef-export business shifted to Argentina. Fly over that land now, or over Uruguay or Brazil, and you see herds of meat-bearing animals bound for packing plants known here as frigori ficos (page 794).* * See, in THE NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC MAGAZINE, "Life on the Argentine Pampa," by Frederick Simpich, October, 1933, and "Buenos Aires and Its River of Silver," by Harriet Chalmers Adams, Oc tober, 1921.