Ilha de Marajo was the home of ancient Indian culture known as the Marajoara who produced some of the most unusual and elegant ceramics ever crafted in the New World.
Studies ascertain that the Indians who populated Marajo already had significant knowledge of ceramics and had probably migrated from other, more culturally advanced lands since Marajoara art was not found in any others Amazon areas. But the sudden disappearance of the Marajoara without leaving a trace in any other part of the Amazon has deepened the mystery about this still unknown civilization.
Marajoara ceramics are extremely resistant and the decorative techniques are quite complex. About 15 finishing techniques are known, which combine red and white wash, incision, excision and painting. Also, modeled animals and human figurines are used as handles and appliques on plates, bowls and vessels. The repertory of vessel shapes and objects are numerous. It is possible to find funerary urns, vases, bowls, bottles, plates, adornments and spindle whorls of various sizes and decoration.
Crabs are found in all the oceans and there are many freshwater and (semi-)terrestrial crabs, particularly in tropical regions. They vary in size but most of themn have hard shell and five pairs of legs, the first of each is modified into a pair of claws for catching and holding things. Crabs move sideways on land.
Ilha de Marajo is surrounded by waters, swamps and is full of crabs. Praia do Pesqueiro became home to numerous. There are several beach bars/restaurants that offer crabs.
I found beating and breaking crab's legs and claws quite entertaining but only when you are not really hungry :)) Well... it's a lot of work but you won't find that much meat, hehehe!!
Casquinha de Caranguejo is definitely one of my favourite dishes that I tried for the first time! And Eliana (in bar/restaurant Do Zolho, Praia do Pesqueiro) is really a master of preparing it.
The receipe may vary from place to place, but her goes something like this.
She mixes together:
- cooked crab's meat
- chopped onion, garlic, tomato and red pepper
- olive oil
- lime juice
- salt and pepper and
- farofa (toasted manioc flour)
and then stuffs crab shells with the mixture. The dish is served with a lime.
It is absolutely delicious!!!
Legend has it that a French ship was sailing to French Guyana with a loud of buffalo that it had picked up in India. However, the boat sank off the shore of Ilha de Marajo and the buffalo swam to shore.
Today Marajo is the only place in Brazil where buffalo roam in great number and there are thousands of them. These are not the furry American bison of the American plains but a tough skinned, hairless buffalo that looks like a macho Indian Brahma bull.
There are different uses for buffalo in Marajo: meat, dairy products, traction, breeding and leather goods (sandals, boots, hats, purses, bags). Several qualities make buffalo better suited than cattle to Marajo's environment. They can survive the wet season when much of the land turns into swamps or lagoons, buffalo can walk on the soft ground with their wide hooves and they can swim when the water gets deep. Their tough, three-layered hide is able to withstands the bites of the island's many snakes, most notably large boas (fortunately I did not encounter with any!!), and parasites. Buffalo can eat almost anything and will even dive underwater to obtain food.