Running again this morning. I took a different route today especially for you DT, so that I could get photos of the bar where The Girl From Ipanema was written! The things I do for you Dave!!!! Very pleasant it was too, along Ipanema and Copacabana beaches. It’s a tough life! Today we’re having a lazy morning on the roof terrace, before heading to Leblon beach to spot the rich and famous! This is our last day in this apartment, and tomorrow we check into our first hostel! Yikes!!! But Charlotte has come up trumps as usual and booked us into a lovely place called Terra Brasilis in the very hip and bohemian area of Santa Teresa, still in Rio. And we’ve got a private room with bathroom too! One of Bruce’s friends owns a Swiss (???) restaurant nearby so we’re going to try that. Apparently the area is full of brilliant bars and samba everywhere. Speaking of which were going to the Sambadrome on Saturday night to see a rehearsal for the upcoming carnival! The Sambadrome is a permanently built strip about half a mile long lined with viewing stands, and is where the actual competition of the carnival takes place. You may have noticed a lull in the footwear updates. This is because for the past two days I have reverted to more comfortable things, but it’s back to the Havaianas today! I expect intense pain! I’ve finished Kilian Jornet’s book, about the ultra runner. He really is an incredible athlete, but I also found him to have a tortured soul, constantly pushing himself to do better, and not seemingly enjoying it, though I realise that’s what you need to be a world class winner. I’m now reading A London Year – 365 Days of City Life from Diaries, Letters and Journals. Each day of the year contains 3 or 4 excerpts ranging from the 1600’s to the present day. It’s absolutely fascinating and addictive reading! I’ve no idea how I’ve ever found time to go to work before! A few thoughts about our first week:
1. Rio has far exceeded my expectations. I was expecting it to be super expensive. It isn’t. I expected life to be very difficult and inefficient (Spanish?) but everything works.
2. Brazilian men are very courteous to women, and there’s never a wolf whistle or cat call (such as in Italy) despite being surrounded by the most beautiful, barely dressed women . Or maybe it’s because of that.
3. I will sweat forever.
4. One day I will conquer Havaianas!
5. I honestly believe that for a 2 week holiday in guaranteed sun, Rio is a cheaper option than going to the South of France. Easily. Really!
6. I have become immune to thong-clad bottoms!
7. I can never return to work ever again!
Ok, I wrote the above this morning. Since then we’ve had 4 hrs on Leblon beach which was good, and much quieter than the other beaches. Huge waves though, proper Atlantic breakers and lots of people surfing. We walked back from there, a couple of miles (in the bloody Havaianas!) and on route I fell foul of my first con trick. Now, I know you’ll all read this and think how on earth did you fall for that? But the art of a good con is that it’s quick and believable, and I actually take my hat off to this guy and his accomplice for it. I also take a little bit of credit for realising half way through what was going on, and telling him to go bollocks. Anyway here goes – we’re walking very very slowly along the promenade at Ipanema (Havaianas remember!) which is very busy, when what appears to be a huge pile of bird shit lands on my foot! So there’s already a slight embarrassment factor there as people are staring at you. Anyway we carry on, looking for somewhere to wash it off, when along comes a bloke, speaking in English (should have twigged then as nobody speaks English here!) telling me this is always happening in this area etc etc and he’d clean it off for me! Even then, I thought, ok 10 Reals (2.50), sorted. Obviously we now know that his mate has thrown something on my feet and then he comes handily along! But we didn’t see anything (much like working on Blue Team!). So he cleans my foot and my Haviana and chats away really nicely with us, then demands 30 Reals. At this time I’m realising what’s going on, so offer him 20, but he ups it to 80 (£20!!!!) . Now I just want to get away without being properly robbed of our bags etc, so gave him 25 (£6.25) and told him to stop taking the piss and feck off. Job done. Conned! However, looking at the positives! – I got well and truly conned but didn’t give him what he wanted, AND my blood stained Havaianas are now nice and clean and free of blood! Not a trick I’ve seen before, but I admire their skill! I’m sure I’ll be conned again! Seriously though, our host here, Vincente, has warned us on a daily basis to be careful of the thieves,and has told us to just hand everything over, or risk serious injury. We are working on the basis that at some time this year we WILL get robbed at least once, so we carry very little around with us. I rarely go out with more than £20 cash, no wallet (apart from one with a couple of expired credit cards in it), and also take a pre-paid credit card which is easily cancelled. Luckily so far we’ve been alright. Anyway, the con was not dangerous and we have since been laughing about it over beers! The perils of foreign travel! I do remember my dad once being conned into buying some “deerskin” jackets at the boot of a car in Paris many many years ago.