Let's Go Green!

Who knows how many weekends we have left in Brazil? Seriously, who? It would be great to know. This uncertainty has added some haste and commitment to the sightseeing cause. We recently spent a weekend going to the Parque Lage and then the Jardim Botanical – two major green areas of Rio de Janeiro. Everyone goes to Parque Lage for breakfast and we woke up nice and early to get there.

And then the unthinkable happened. The restaurant cafe was closed and was staying closed for two weeks until they sorted out their refurbishment. Those who know me well will agree that keeping me fed is essential to keeping me happy. A hungry Dave is an irritated Dave. My goal for the next couple of hours (before we picked up some sandwiches) was to maintain a modicum of human civility. A difficult task when you haven’t eaten for nearly 12 hours. In a way I understand Jeremy Clarkson’s anger as I often feel like punching someone when hungry. However I have always refrained from doing so and this day was no exception, therefore I still have a job and I am not a complete tool.

Marilyn Monpascoe
This is the breakfast area. Isn't it beautiful?

There was a small aquarium with screaming kids (I don’t think they are a permanent exhibit) and a man made cave. It was a beautiful place to (nearly) have breakfast and go for a little stroll.

Parque Lage was lovely but really it was a warm-up act to the Jardim Botanical. These beautiful botanical gardens are situated in the heart of Rio de Janeiro and are home to some fascinating wildlife. We’ll start with the trees, shall we? We saw the smoothest trunks I have ever seen / remembered. One was absolutely huge and put Katie in her place.

A lot of roots!
This was smoother than cadbury's chocolate (pre-Kraft)
Smoother than a baby's bum that has been wiped using sand paper.
Palm Island
The most laid back trees in the world
One of the largest trees in the world.
I just wanted to push this tree over.
I imagined it bouncing back like a punch bag.
My best tree impression.
Interesting pine trunk skin
This was a branch and not rope.
It was something out of Tarzan.
The Twisty Cactus
The most evil Christmas Tree in the world. A Hellmas Tree if you will.

With all these trees and stuff, there was also this other kind of nature. You know what I mean? It’s the moving kind that eats and poos, otherwise known as animals. We finally (2 months in) got to see a bird we were both very excited about: a toucan. It was very beautiful and colourful.

Ariel Toucan

Marmoset! Known in Portuguese as a Mico

There were some beautiful views to be had as well.

In fact these views were so beautiful that they attracted a new type of animal to the gardens. This bloated and easily irritable creature was to be found posing in front of such views with its overly protective mate.

Yes, pregnant women. This is slowly becoming a theme in Brazil... When there are beautiful places, there are pregnant women and the apparent fathers. They normally come with a photographer who is happy to snap away at their protruding bellies. These unusual photos are eventually used to embarrass the children decades later during their weddings.

Even Thiago dreams of having a baby one day.

The day ended with lunch at the lagoon, which Katie will talk about in an upcoming food blog. And then a drive back to Barra where we got stuck in traffic by Rocinha, the largest favela in Brazil. A little reminder of the poverty and another sight that puts your life on a more adjusted scale.

Rochina - Brazil's Largest Favela