Traditionally the final day of the class Music Travel and Enrichment is an unscheduled one, allowing participants to follow their own interests, return to a previous site, seek out new ones, shop, relax, or otherwise enjoy the day in whatever way they choose. In addition, it is almost always the evening for a “Farewell to ______________” banquet (fill the blank with country being visited), paid for by the university.
So the only “required” activity today was to join everyone else for a Farewell to Brazil! repast. Thus, on this, Day #9, students chose various paths and activities, including the beach, shopping, leisurely hanging out at the hostel, etc., but 8 were interested in joining Dr A and myself for an excursion to Rio’s Jardim Botanico (Botanical Gardens). Located about a 25-minute walk from the hostel, the gardens are well worth the effort to get there. The walk was interesting, if also warm, since there were soccer pitches, skateboard tubes, tennis courts, exercise areas, etc. etc., ALL flush with activity, along the way. It became easier to understand why Cariocas (Rio residents) were as fit and slim as the big majority of them seem to be.
Once on the garden grounds, we stumbled across what was, to my experience at least, a unique sundial. Not the traditional version with angled spike in the air casting a moving shadow across a calibrated surface, this sundial consisted of an iron ring punched through with numbers representing various daylight hours, so that as the sun arcs over the ring, the shadow of that hour is cast down onto the darkened surface at the bottom. Very unusual, and surprisingly accurate, too, esp. if you factor in daylight savings, which was the case! The garden itself featured a number of interesting botanical specimens, including the brazilwood tree, the tree that named the country. The coveting of this tree’s reddish wood nearly resulted in its eradication. There were also elephant trees, imperial and princess palms, a Japanese garden, the Avenue of Palms, a rose garden, and an orchidarium where over 1,000 varieties of orchids are cultivated. A very interesting and fun place!
That evening, Dr. A led the charge to the restaurant for our Farewell to Brazil banquet meal. A great time was had by all!