Got more poetry done tonight over dinner than I expected. I went to a restaurant in the Shopping Barra mall next door. Not long after I placed my order and just before Nigeria-Bosnia kicked off, the power went out. The hallways of the mall still had their lights on but none of the stores or restaurants. Fortunately they were still able to cook my meal and accept my credit card as payment. It was pleasantly surreal.
Today’s adventure was a six kilometer walk to a what I thought was going to be a cemetery. As I memorized the route from Google maps, I wondered what the elevation change would be like. That was answered as soon as I turned onto Av. Princesa Leopoldina and sidewalk became stairs going up.
It was a nice climb under a canopy of very old trees, many vine covered and most unfamiliar to a northern boy like me. There were certainly palm trees and there were several whose leaves looked like ferns. By the time I got to the end of Av. Princesa Leopoldina, I love that name, by the way, the terrain had leveled.
Interestingly, the apparent wealth of the area matched the elevation. Where Av. Princesa Leopoldina seemed to be middle class apartments, along Av. Sete de Setembro there were modern luxury condos and hotels with views of the bay.
When I arrived at my destination, I discovered that it was just a nice park centered on a huge monument to the those who died in the battles for Brazilian independence from Portugal. There were a couple of fountains and several giant and apparently ancient trees with roots draped like the fabric of a skirt around the trunk.
I also saw some kids practicing Capoeira which I’d heard had turned into way to get more money from tourists so it was nice to see it in action without being expected to tip.
On the way back I saw some colorfully painted statues of monkeys at the Palacete das Artes so I wandered around and took some pictures. My favorite monkey is displayed here but more are visible in my Facebook album. Apparently the exhibit is called Invasion of the Monkeys.
At the end of my walk I had some coconut water which I originally thought was just for tourists but I’ve come to learn that everybody drinks it here since the tap water is not considered healthy. I watched the guy sever the coconut fresh from the stalk, cut it open and pour the water into a plastic cup for me. Because the water found inside the coconut gets filtered through the coconut meat, it’s considered very pure and is very refreshing.
In doing my research for this post I realized that I didn’t go far enough. My destination cemetery was a block up the road. Guess I’ll have to do it all again another day.