11th February 1835

I set out on a short ride, in which however I managed to see singularly little either of the geology of the country or of the inhabitants. — There is not much cleared land near Valdivia; after crossing a river at the distance of a few miles, we entered the forest, & then only passed one miserable hovel before reaching our sleeping place for the night. — The short difference in latitude of 150 miles has given to the forest, as compared to that of Chiloe, another aspect. This is owing to a slightly different proportion in the kinds of trees; the evergreens do not appear to be quite so numerous; & the forest in consequence is coloured by a brighter & more lively green. — As in Chiloe, the lower parts are matted together by Canes; here also another kind, about twenty feet high and which strictly resembles in form the bamboos of Brazil, grows in clusters: the banks of some of the streams are thus ornamented in a very pretty manner. — It is with this plant that the Indians make their Chusas, or long tapering spears. — Our resting house was so dirty I preferred sleeping outside; the first night is generally an uncomfortable one, because ones body is not accustomed to the tickling & biting of the fleas: I am sure in the morning there was not the space of a shilling on my legs which had not its little red mark where the flea had feasted.

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