Sunday, September 4, 2011

Parque da Gruta

It was a gorgeous day today, sunny and warm, so I took the bicycle and rode up to the Parque da Gruta.  Here is the entrance of the park.  There is a sign on the right that says something along the lines of "peace with nature".
For those who are here to walk or run, they have posted instructions.
This time I saw some of the wild monkeys.  They were in the trees all around the picnic area, looking for handouts.
Someone gave him a tangerine, which he took up high, munched on for a moment, then dropped and came down for the next treat offered.
The place was packed with people having barbecues, churrasco style.  The men even brought the meat to the tables on the skewers and sliced the meat onto the plates, like in the restaurant.  Most families had full meals with dishes, silverware, and the works.
Kids playing on the playground featuring wooden toys, the likes of which you don't see in the USA anymore because a child might get a splinter (heaven forbid!).
There is an ornamental water wheel along the path between the upper and lower ponds.
Across the path from the water wheel are four small shrines.
I still don't know what this concrete structure is for.  It looks like restrooms, but is a kind of pump housing.
Closer look inside.
Entrance to the Path to the Little Cascades.
I hiked up this little trail, which turned out to be more rocky and muddy than I had anticipated, but not difficult unless one wanted dry shoes.
Lovely stands of bamboo forest lined one side of the trail.
All of the bridges were made of wood, this one seems to be quite new as it had no moss or wood rot.
The forest here is looking a bit like the rainforest with its tall trees and hanging vines, even though we are far, far from the Amazon.
Nearing the end of the trail, this is the bottom part of the "little cascades".
Note the nice, safe path ahead. Yikes!
The little cascades from the bridge.
I managed to clamber across the broken walkway, here is a view looking back across the gap.  Safety first!
This plant grows everywhere around here.  It's sold back home as a houseplant.  I remember as a kid my mom bought one at the flea market and we always called it the "Michael plant" because it was being held for someone named Michael who never came and picked it up.
The murky looking lower pond had plenty of happy looking turtles sunning and swimming in it.
Overlooking the lower pond is a BBQ restaurant which is apparently hugely popular, because the place was packed and there was a mob waiting to get in out front too.
Maybe one of these weeks I'll eat there. Mmmm...

There are also some monkeys in cages, I think I mentioned them when I first visited this park.  I don't know which came first, the wild monkeys or the caged ones, but here are some videos of them anyway.  They were quite lively and seemed happy.

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