11 April 2012

Sick and tired in Brazil

Excellent post on a "cousin" blog today by Rob Viens, science teacher and current Dean of the Science Division at Bellevue College in Washington State (and soon-to-be blogger in this forum). Here's an excerpt:

"I felt unwell, with a little shivering & sickness… could eat nothing at one oclock, which was the first time I was able to procure anything. — Travelled on till it was dark, felt miserably faint & exhausted; I often thought I should have fallen off my horse. … All night felt very unwell; it did not require much imagination to paint the horrors of illness in a foreign country, without being able to speak one word or obtain any medical aid.” (Apr 11, from Darwin's journal)

...It is pretty clear that on this night 180 years ago, Darwin was more than a little scared. And really, who could blame him?  He felt terrible all day and had no idea why (did he drink the water?).  He had not doctors in his party, nor did he know how to communicate with the locals (language never seemed to be a strong subject for him – I can relate.) And the reality was that people died of tropical diseases in the 1800′s much more frequently than today.  He knew that there was a chance that he might not survive the trip and I’m sure moments like this made that thought seem a real possibility. I’d be scared, too.

Rob's map of this leg of the voyage

Read more at The Beagle Project

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