Good Saturday morning, my friends, and welcome to Filosofa’s Saturday Surprise! This is the last day your have to complete your Christmas tasks, so I understand if you couldn’t drop by today, or if you can only stay for a minute, but I’m glad if you found a few minutes to come spend with me. I know you guys come from all over the world, and most of you from the northern hemisphere, though a few are from Down Under and other points south of the equator where it is now summer. I am jealous, for it is cold here and about to get colder. So today, I thought it would be fun to go to a warmer climate for a bit and visit … Brazil! Have I ever mentioned that I am not a fan of high places? I cannot even look up at the top of a building without experiencing pain in my arms, so I avoid heights, and this first place we are going to visit set my teeth on edge, but it is definitely a cool place.
Brazil’s largest water park is called ‘Beach Park’, and the crown jewel of Beach Park is the world’s tallest freestanding water slide, aptly named “Insano”, which is Portuguese for ‘insane’.
Built in 1989, the 135-foot-high ride held the Guinness record for the world’s tallest water slide up until 1999, when it was beat out by the 193-foot Kilimanjaro in Rio de Janeiro. Still, Insano does justice to its name by being the tallest freestanding body slide and is certainly one of the most radical rides of the planet.
Beach Park is the largest aquatic park in South America and one of the largest in the world. It has all you need to enjoy Brazil’s hot sunny days: rides, pools, saunas, ecological walks, artificial rapids or the beloved Insano, the water slide as tall as a 14-story building.
Travelling down the coast to Natal, we can visit the world’s largest cashew tree. Now, I hear what you are thinking … you’ve been to California, seen the giant redwoods and sequoias, so what’s the big deal about a cashew tree. Well, take a look …
Strolling inside the sprawling canopy, you may think you are walking in an entire lush, green forest of cashew trees, but you are actually walking within one single tree. The tree covers about two acres, which approximates to the size of five football fields, or about 70 normal-size cashew trees.
The age of the giant tree is still murky. Some think it was first planted in 1888, but others claim it’s thousands of years old. In any case it still produces a large amount of fruit and nuts. (In Brazil, the cashew tree is prized more for its delicious, but alas un-transportable fruit even more than its nuts.)
The tree’s record size is believed to be the result of two different genetic mutations. One, the branches grow sideways instead of upwards, eventually being weighted down and touching the ground. Then, instead of just growing along the earth as expected, when a branch touches the soil it sets down roots. Thus the tree spreads like a forest with multiple trunks growing over the two acres.
I don’t typically give much thought to rocks and rock formations, but while we are in Brazil, I am told we must visit the National Park of Seven Cities – Parque Nacional de Sete.
Enormous and strange rock formations taking the forms of animals and men populate the Parque Nacional de Sete Cidades, or “National Park of Seven Cities”. The park is named for a mytholigical Seven Lost Cities, of which these stones are the only remains. In truth the ancient formations took millenia to form, with the only man-made parts being the 3,000-5,000 year old rock paintings that can be seen.
And for our final destination of the day, what say we visit the largest street art mural in the world? Brazil sure does seem to have a lot of “largest in the world” things, doesn’t it?
Rio de Janeiro is not only about paradise beaches and samba goddesses. It is also a city where street art is celebrated, and by walking 560 feet along Rio’s waterfront, you can appreciate the largest mural of graffiti in world, a Guinness World Record accomplishment and a legacy of the 2016 Rio Olympic Games.
The work depicts a Tajapo boy from Brazil, a Mursi woman from Ethiopia, a Kayin woman from Thailand, a Supi man from Northern Europe, and a Huli man from Papua New Guinea. They represent humanity’s common ancestors, the indigenous people from America, Asia, Europe, Africa and Australia.
As he carries the core values of the Olympic Games, the artist’s intention was to show that everyone is connected, We Are One. Kobra’s work makes us feel his characters’ intense and powerful gaze, so we can feel our common wisdom.
The Rio Olympics broke not only sports records, but also one unexpected one, creating the largest street mural spray-painted by one single artist. This work was commissioned by the International Olympic Committee and it is nearly twice the size of the mural that held the previous record in Mazatlan, Mexico, as artist Ernesto Rocha’s mural was just 18,066 square feet.
Kobra worked for 12 hours a day, for two months, so he could complete Etnias just before the opening ceremony of the 2016 Rio Olympic Games. About 100 gallons of white paint, 400 gallons of colored paint, and 2,800 cans of spray paint were used by Kobra and his team. But, after all his work, the artist didn’t get to stay and enjoy the Rio Olympics, as he had to fly to Ohio to complete a mural graffiti of Neil Armstrong.
All of these places are great, but I think the street mural is my favourite. What was yours? And before we go, what would such a trip be without a bit of local flavour?
Rollinia deliciosa, as the name suggests, is incredibly tasty. Its flavor is often likened to lemon meringue pie, a description that’s accurate, but does not do this fruit justice. It is very sweet and creamy, and does have a refreshing, lemon-like flavor, but it also contains more nuanced tropical notes like banana, pineapple, and coconut.
And now, friends, I know you must go finish up all those last minute things. Try not to work too hard, lest you be so tired by the time Christmas happens that all you can do is sit in the easy chair and kip! I wish each and every one of you, my special friends, a wonderful Christmas. Hugs ‘n love!
This is one of my favourites, and an apropriate song for our trip to Brazil!