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Jardín Botánico

My Dad got me into Brasilian music from a young age. He's a tropical, relaxed kind of guy, so a little samba just fits with his general "Dad-ness." Last week he sent me a cd of some of the things he's listening to these days. Along with the actual Brasilian music, Dad added some songs by Michael Franks, an American musician who has written a number of musical love letters to Brasil. Michael Franks is also a tropical, relaxed kind of guy, much like my Dad. In any case, he has a song about getting lost in a Jardin Botanico. I can only imagine he's singing about the botanical gardens in Rio de Janiero. I like this song, because last summer I got lost in that very place.

For a biologist, or really for anyone, the botanical gardens in Rio de Janiero are amazing. 200 years old and extensive. 900 types of palm trees. Beautiful buildings full of orchids and bromeliads and even carnivorous plants. Thousands of tropical plants from all over the world. All kinds of amazing birds. Monkeys and marmosets in the trees! And in case you get bored with the orderly plantings, it backs up to a coastal rainforest, the Atlantic Forest. Incredibly dense and wet, covered with fascinating lichens and full of all kinds of mysterious things.

I have a pretty huge memory card on my camera and I ran out of space before I ever got to the monkeys. I wasn't even actively birding. I was just in awe. I saw trees I had only ever read about- like cannonball trees. Cannonball trees look like something out of a Dr. Seuss book- giant balls hanging off of a giant tree.

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