February 16, 2012

Juju & Toni

Last week we met up with a friend of a friend who is a Rio local and offered to show us around town. Julieni (Juju) is a former nun who now teaches religion for Brazilians ages 7-40. Her boyfriend, Antonio Marcus (Toni), is completing his doctorate in theology.

Given that we speak next to no Portuguese, and they speak little English, we sometimes had to rely on a mutually limited knowledge of Spanish to communicate. For anyone who knows the extent to which Steve and I speak Spanish, you can imagine how comical this situation must have been. We couldn’t find a Portuguese-English dictionary lying around the hostel, so we made due with the Portuguese-Spanish dictionary and substituted that with lots of hand motions.

Juju and Toni took us to the Jardim Botanico (Botanical Gardens) so that we could see some of Brazil’s native flora. If North America has 150 different kinds of orchid species, Brazil alone has over 8,000.

Coming from San Diego, we found the various palm trees interesting...all of the palms we saw from the Amazon region carry an added layer of protection.

But easily our favorite, was an amazing type of lily pad called the Victoria Longwood Hybrid Water Lily. It is native to the Amazon and can grow up to 8 feet wide.

We very much enjoyed our time around town with Juju and Toni. Thank you, Angel Garcia Rodriguez, for introducing us!


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