Going Green

March 7, 2009 at 2:37 pm | Posted in School, Travel | 1 Comment
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After a crushing red-eye aboard the world’s oldest international airliner, we arrived in Rio de Janeiro somewhere around the crack of dawn today. Point of fact, it may have been pre-crack.

dsc04387Piling onto the bus and cruising through the city to our first destination, the Botanical Gardens, two things struck me. One, you are essentially existing within a green house in this country, the humidity and temperature persisting at a level bordering on insulting, and, more importantly, this fact:

Everything is growing.

In stark contrast to the massively industrialized, pre-fabricated will of a nation that we were presented with upon our arrival in Beijing, here you get the distinct impression that if Brazil turned it’s back for a second, just a single second, nature would win. A resounding victory.

dsc044111There are plants growing from bushes extending from trees. A small army of landscapers busied itself pruning and clipping and sweeping, and it occured to me that the landscapers of North and South America had two different jobs indeed. Whereas one is attempting to cultivate lush gardens and healthy greenery, the other is literally fighting for the very survival of their city.

The orchids, the (giant) trees, the plant life in general – all of it contibuted to dsc04426this sense that you were standing in a very organic city, but it didn’t stop there. Every wall, every tunnel, every available surface was adorned with something I almost feel insulting referring to as grafitti, so instead I will simply call it urban art.

It is amazing.

Almost as if this constant botanical growth and the sweltering heat had dsc04427inspired the very citizens of Rio to go out and pollinate their city in their own distinct way, one is taken aback by the painstaking detail and creative vision found in each of these pieces, rendered so lovingly in places as mundane as the rear wall of the local Shell station.


We finally arrived at our hotel and were sent up to the lounge (on the roof, of course) to fill out our paperwork and have a welcome Mojito. The elevator opened to a rooftop pool in the shadow of a mountain, overlooking Copacabana Beach.


Wow. Hey, UConn.

Nailed it.


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