When in Rio – part Seis – The Bullied Cacti in Jardim Botanico


Dutch:[looks up in awareness] He’s using the trees. – Predator.

The Rio de Janeiro Botanical Garden or Jardim Botânico is located at the Jardim Botanic district in the “Zona Sul” (South Zone) of Rio de Janeiro. Long roots, some big enough to sit on, are allowed to crawl through the park with impunity. Man-carved pathways run serpentine up the hills and then narrow to meandering slopes and waterfalls. Collectively we get lost, a running theme for the holiday. There’s a whole corner of the park dedicated to cacti and succulents. Most run tall, muscular, have a menace about them. However one cactus looked like it’s had all the jam taken from it’s doughnut. It had clearly been bullied by the other cacti and with it’s shrivelled self esteem, it drooped flaccidly other the rock face like Ron Jeremy’s wong in it’s refractory period. ‘Don’t look at me,‘ it cried. ‘Please don’t look at me.’


I’ve spent the best part of six days in the girls slipstream. I’ll stop to take a picture of a lamppost or something equally irrelevant, when I look up the girls are 200 yards up the street, or half way up a mountain. No doubt in my mind if this was war, and I got shot in the leg, they’d either leave me for dead or better yet, finish me off.


We hit the Future Arena in Olympic Park and watched some Handball. In my mind this isn’t a real sport, the girls unanimously agree it’s better than soccer. That’s women for you. I sneer sardonically, but sheath my tongue. Pick your battles Pedro, I sigh. Nobody knows the rules to Handball, not even the people that play it. I imagine the guys that weren’t cut out for Rugby, not tall enough for Basketball, found solace in Handball. But regardless of what I think, it was cheered on emphatically. None more so than a Slovenian woman next to me who was losing her shit, biting her nails down to the quick as the game approached it’s finality.



In the evening we hit Fago De Paco. The waiters came round dressed like Morris dancers armed with machetes and carved meat straight off the skewer onto our plates. Insane, great business model. No waiting for food, nothing lost in translation, ‘you want this?’ (Thumbs up, thumbs down, done).






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