The going at Ascot……

We think it’s Thursday today. Which is a minor milestone for us. Normally our holidays are just two weeks long, so as we move into our third week it’s gradually dawning on us that this is one of the greatest things ever! We can now officially stop calling it a holiday and refer to it as a trip! We’re only on our third location, but tomorrow we take a 3hr boat transfer to an old village on the mainland coast called Paraty. And spend another week there relaxing on beaches in inferno-like temperatures! Bloody magnificent! How on earth am I ever going to work again?!
Yesterday we spent the day on a speed boat visiting various beaches and snorkelling. Forty-five years old, and my first ever time snorkelling! It was incredible, with crystal clear waters and fish of spectacularly bright colours swimming around us. Pure heaven! Of course 7 hours in the sun took a bit of a toll on me, and Charlotte now refers to my head as “that belicia beacon”. How rude. And very smug of her seeing as how she could now pass for a Brazilian with her bronzed tan ( and fat arse). Did I mention that when she went all “thong” she burnt her bum????
The island is superb, apart from two things:
1. Generally, the service in restaurants and bars is shocking. Our host Rodriguez warned us about it. The food and drinks are excellent, it’s just the waiting for them! I really don’t understand it, as the only raison d’être of the whole place is tourism and you would imagine that everywhere would be competing for the custom. But no, slackness rules. I’m sure if I set up a bar here with attentive staff I could clear up……
2. This morning an enormous cruise ship docked in the bay and brought over hoards of tourists to our lovely quiet little beach! Outrageous! They could be identified by their bright orange towels, hundreds of them. Fortunately by lunch most of them had been shuttled back to the ship (God forbid they might have to spend some money here) and it was back to business as normal for us! Bloody tourists!! Even the trades here can’t stand them. I know some of my friends absolutely love cruising, but for us personally we couldn’t think of anything worse than being trapped on a boat with thousands of other people, no peace, no freedom… Still, each to their own, and I know that for many people the idea of backpacking around the world for a year is not in any way appealing.

There’s no let up on my sweating! Even our host takes the piss out of me! And when I come back from my daily run I am an incredible mess! Permanently wet! I put a shirt on for breakfast this morning and had to change it straight after! I’m currently going through three shirts a day, though should probably be using 6 or 7 really.

We’ve slipped into a lovely routine here generally involving sun and sea til about two, then a nice lunch, more sun and sea, before going to a bar on the beach for a few beers about 5ish. Then it’s home, shower, try to stop sweating, and back out for dinner.

We thought we’d escaped the ants when we left Rio, but yesterday we discovered approximately 130 billion of them heading up the path towards our villa. Of course I stopped to have a quick chat with them, as I was intrigued to know how they’d found us. Seems they just used some computer software to analyse beer sales in Brazil, and correctly came up with Ilha Grande. Ingenious those ants. Never, ever underestimate them.

Is it time to talk toilets yet?????!! I think toilets are always an issue for the British travelling abroad. Personally I can’t get over the disgrace that is French toilets. For a civilisation that considers themselves to be very elegant and chic, their bathrooms are always atrocious. Why is this? It costs very very little to keep them clean, surely? Perhaps David M, our man in Strasbourg can shed some light on this? Anyway, toilets over here have generally been between acceptable to good. But the one thing I cannot, and never will get used to is having to put used toilet paper in a bin! It’s just not right! As a side note, the worst toilet I ever encountered was in a coffee shop (cannabis shop) in Amsterdam. It was reminiscent of the toilet from that scene in Trainspotting. It looked as though the entire population of Holland had held a dirty protest in there. Still, when needs must……
Also, it is normal (I think?) for us British to suffer from tummy troubles when travelling , as a result of all sorts of changes in habits and food. This leads on to the discussion of the results of trips to the bathroom. By some unspoken agreement we seem to have fallen into generic horse racing turf terms. For example, good to firm would be the Holy Grail of all visits. My favourite was when Charlotte came up with “soft but not messy”!
Incidentally, Charlotte had a traumatic experience in the bathroom today, but dignity (and Charlotte) prevent me from going any further! Needless to say I was reprimanded once again for inappropriate laughter! Reminded me of the infamous Alpe D’Huez lobster incident for those who know….
Also, going to bed has become a medical experiment for me – the application of various creams, oils and lotions to combat chafing (yes, still bad!), sun burn, bites, Havaianas-foot and many other ailments. I’m like a 90 year old man! It takes me half an hour to prepare, and then all the effort reduces me to a puddle!
I also need to make a major decision in the next few days – what to do with my hair! It’s already well beyond its normal length, and when we Face Timed Josh last night his first words were ‘Dad Get Your Hair Cut’!! But should I, or should I let it grow? It’s currently in the style of Freddy Boswell from Bread. I’ve always wanted long hair….
Well it’s beer time on the beach now, and I’ve just had fun looking at pictures of snow in Yorkshire! Haha!
Brett and Paul. Any news from the P & P? Have they gone under yet without my patronage??
Cheers everybody!

Due to wifi issues, I didn’t get this posted yesterday, so I’ll continue!
We’ve just had a superb meal at a restaurant on the beach. Shrimps in a creamy cheese sauce! Absolutely stuffed! Our most expensive meal yet at £42 for 2! However, sea food – maybe the horse racing will be called off tomorrow due to a water logged pitch????

The howler monkeys have been at full blast in the jungle tonight. Charlotte asked me why they were called howler monkeys?
P – “what do they sound like?????”
C – ” sounds like they’re screaming”
P – “exactly”
C – “but they’re called howler monkeys not screaming monkeys?”
Hmmmmm…… Signs of late development autism…..

Back in our room now for my 47th and hopefully final shower of the day. I’ve become like Linus out of Charlie Brown, constantly carrying a towel around indoors to keep dabbing me down.

And now it’s Friday night and I still haven’t been able to post yet due to wifi problems. We’ve moved to Paraty now, and are staying 5km back from the coast in the rain forest, where currently at 10pm it is apocalyptic rain! But still 30 degrees! The sky is constantly lit up with brilliant white flashes of lightening! Fantastic!

Right, I’m going to post this while I can…..



Beer of the day and hair of the day!!!!!!



My new method of travel. Nothing less will suffice


10 thoughts on “The going at Ascot……

  1. Loving your blog! And yes, you really do need your hair cut. Or at least a touch of “just for men”?

    Please keep up the wonderful narrative…. I am so jealous but really enjoying reading about both of you being on your once in a lifetime journey x x


  2. Great blog today and loving the hair!!!
    P&P still standing though I’m sure the till will be missing your hard earned cash!! Love the daily blog and enjoyed the toilets topic today!!! Keep them coming!


  3. Grow the hair, Paul. Let the beard go too! Very entertaining blog, and also very informative! Travel writers don’t shed anything like as much light as your efforts!


  4. French toilets. Indeed often far from ideal. My previous uber-boss plastered the gents with printed signs informing us that he “deplored the state of filthiness of these toilets” and reminding us to put paper towels in the bin, flush the urinal, wipe our back-sides after taking a dump etc. (OK, I made the last one up).
    Mind you, he was Swiss. I would imagine that anything less than surgical levels of hygienic purity would have offended his helvetic sensibilities.
    Far more subtle (and effective) was the approach of a German colleague, who introduced a little air-conditioning device – like a perfume-filled vase with some fake flowers and bits of straw – along with a note apologising to anyone who found the smell too strong. Very sweet.


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