An enjoyable day of bumbling around the Rio Botanical Gardens and then Ipanema Beach. The sun remained largely out, morphing into some grey, cool weather. It was blustery and atmospheric as we perched at sunset on rocks at the Pedra do Arpoador that separates Ipanema and Copacabana beaches. We resolved to return for a sundowner at a sunnier time. And when we’re carrying beer.
The Botanical Gardens are wonderfully kept and have a long history. Boulevards of stately palms, beautiful ponds, a bromeliad hothouse sponsored by the private sector, and a greenhouse of insectivorous plants. No one could want for anything more from a botanical garden - except a blue Orquidário (orchid house - see extras), teeming with interesting things. As we exited the gardens, a baby marmoset had fallen from the tree onto the path and seemed to have injured its arm. The mother raced down to gather it on her back, and we thought it best to stand well away. Others exhibited zero common sense and crowded the mother so much that she panicked, froze and was unable to race back up to the canopy for safety. Eventually, she managed it.
At lunch we ordered churrasquinho (kebab) and were sat next to a couple of middle-aged men having a spirited discussion about Bolsonaro. He divides Brazilians as much as Trump divides Americans, and the world. In the evening among a host of WiFi networks I noted one named ‘Bolsonaro’ and a neighbouring ‘invaders fuck off.’ In the spirit of right-wing leaders emboldening xenophobic rhetoric, I wonder whether these can be related.