Amazon (15)

Source: WTL photograph© on site on the Amazon River.
Comments: This young lady was not at all shy about letting me take a photo of her (I asked her for, and she gave me permission) from the bow of the boat I was travelling on. Brazilians in general are healthfully sensual people, and they are proud of their bodies, and they are confident about their person. In 1542, Francisco de Orellana, Gonzalo Pizarro (Francisco Pizarro's brother), and the expedition's chronicler Friar Carvajal left the conquistadors in Perú, crossed the Andes, and sailed down the Amazon's five rivers in search of El Dorado's legendary gold. El Dorado was said to be an Indian chief who covered himself in gold dust before washing it off in a lake somewhere in Amazonia. (Note that other Spanish conquistadors sought El Dorado in the American Southwest.) In addition to seeking the legendary gold, Carvajal reported that the Spaniards saw the legendary matriarchal tribe of Amazons, complete with "bare-breasted women... doing as much fighting as ten Indian men." The myth of Amazon warriors is as old as Greek mythology, but pre-contact Indians also had a similar myth. It is amazing to think that Carvajal reports actually seeing them. The giant river was named precisely for these women. In Portuguese a ma means 'bad woman'. Mazona means 'big bad woman'. Hence, Amazona. (These comments do not in the slightest way mean to suggest that the woman pictured is either big or bad. She is simply a pretty and proud woman who lives along the Amazon River.)