A GPR survey is a
two-man operation. With one man walking a checkerboard grid, the
other watches the computer. Bond prefers surveying existing tunnels
for two reasons: First, because these areas did produce gems, and
second, because working inside a tunnel allows a three hundred sixty-degree
scan. Also, burrowing through hardrock is tough going and expensive.
A week's digging yields about nine feet of tunnel. Bond's next attempt
near the old Colonel Murta aquamarine mine proved more
successful. This time he found the pockets, but none contained gems.
"We proved that the technology will delineate pockets".
At this point Bond ran out of money.
Prospectors are optimists by profession. Bond now
has an investor whom we met and has "mine owners standing in
line"! He is excited about the prospects. The technology seems
appropriate to the task, and on the face of it GPR may just prove
to be Brazil's salvation. So if the NASDAQ and the DOW have you
breaking out in hives, perhaps you should consider an investment
in high tech mining. Something of a risk, definitely yes! I guess
before you invest you have to, as Clint Eastwood once said, "ask
yourself one question, do you feel lucky? Well, do you…?".
Cachaça, fire in the belly:
Cachaça, the word literally translates
as "little peasant girl", is also known as "Brazilian
rum", but differs somewhat from that familiar mellow
concoction. Rum is distilled from molasses; cachaça
is distilled directly from sugar cane. Cachaça, pronounced
ka shá sa, is the Brazilian national drink, or
more accurately, is the liquor from which the national drink,
the famous caipirinha, is made.
few of the 4,000 different brands of cachaça, the potent
sugar cane liquor that keeps Brazil comfortably numb.
Sixteenth century. Sometime between 1532-1548 European
colonists discovered that a wine of sugar cane (vinho de cana
de açúcar) could be produced by a method similar
to that used by the Indians to produce maize wine or cauim.
Originally called cagaca, it was distilled in a huge adobe
caldron and fed to the slaves, presumably to keep them happy in
Did I say happy? Numb is perhaps a better word!
I made the mistake of telling our host, Paulo Zonari, that I was
interested in researching that wicked liquid for a possible sidebar
to our Brazilian adventure article. Hey! if Damon Poeter can quaff
snake wine on the Thai-Burma border could I do less? Although we
had just staggered off the plane after an eleven-hour flight, Paulo
enthusiastically endorsed the idea, insisting that we begin our
research at once. No wonder the stuff is also known as aguadente
or "tooth water." A tumbler for lunch followed by a tumbler
before dinner, followed by dinner, punctuated by a few more tumblers
at a famous Cachaçaeria in Oro Preto, produced in
yours truly an effect not unlike that of a shot of novocaine directly
into the left temple.
It is not a coincidence that the gem-rich state
of Minas Gerais is the cachaça capital of Brazil. This state
produces the lion's share, 15.5 million tons of sugar cane annually.
Is it surprising that Minas Gerais boasts over four thousand separate
brands of cachaça? Cachaça can cost anywhere from
a dollar to a hundred dollars a bottle. The most famous and the
most expensive is called Havana. It is a thick colorless liquid
that, drunk straight, goes down a bit hard.
Cachaça is the fuel that drives gem mining
in Brazil. Mining is a tough job and the guys can be forgiven if,
after a hard day in the hole, they gather at the local bar to hoist
a caipirinha or two. So if you too have had a hard day in the hole,
here's the recipe for an authentic Brazilian caipirinha. Cachaça
can be obtained at many local liquor stores, ask for Brazilian rum
*1 lime quartered
*1/2 tbl. Sugar
*2 oz. cachaça
*crushed ice cubes
*The whole lime is used, skin and all,
prevents scurvy! Squeeze first, then toss remains in the glass.
**I use 2 tablespoons of sugar with 2 oz. of cachaça.
For a weaker drink, try one of each, wimp! I also recommend
the cheaper brands
of cachaça. The smoother stuff doesn't cut it through
all that sugar and lemon.