In our explorations of the city, we obviously saw much traffic, but we also saw street vendors selling their wares, many small shops selling delicious food, and familiar stores: drug stores, grocery stores, gas stations; we even found a thrift store! In all of this people are walking, moving, buying, waiting for buses, and chatting with friends. I find myself exhilarated by the whole experience!
However, among all of this excitement there are places of quiet. In our wanderings we found two beautiful parks. The first we found was smaller, just a couple of lots that have been converted into a beautiful green space. There was a koi pond in the middle, walking paths, and work out equipment – something that we do not have in any parks I have been to in the States.
The second park we found was slightly larger and had a main gate with an attendant.
When we first found the park we thought we needed to pay to go in, so we asked the attendant how much it cost and he told us it was free to go in. This was a happy accident, because we almost did not go in, but then decided it couldn’t hurt to ask, and it would give us an excuse to practice our Portuguese. I am glad we did, because the park was beautiful! The flora was amazing and so different from what one sees in upstate NY. In the park there was yet another koi pond – I learned later it is the largest in the country – more exercise equipment, and the best part of all, a beautiful outdoor theater!
As we were exploring Colleen mentioned something interesting she observed when she has taken her friends from big cities out hiking. They said that they had never been in the forest before. As we walked through the park, we finally realized what they meant; while these are green spaces, they are very much designed and not organic like the forest. There are trees in these parks, but nowhere near as many as one would find in nature.
This is the first time this difference has made sense to me. I have always understood conceptually the difference between a city and a rural area. But, this is the first time I have realized the benefits and costs of both. In a city one gets life! But at the cost of nature. In a rural area one gets nature, but at the cost of the bustling life of the city. As I reflect I find that I agree with author F. Scott Fitzgerald as he is talking about city life “I find myself both enchanted and repelled by the inexhaustible variety of life.”
~David T Wilkinson