The Brutal Humiliation of poor Little Juan

Last night was the first night of the 4 day Buenos Aires Carnival, similar but smaller than the Rio one, and held at the same time. The main difference is that it is held in a dozen different locations in the city, from 10pm til 2am, and the bands and dancers (over 100 groups of them) are bused from one gig to the next under police escort! Brilliant! This means that nowhere gets too crowded, and everyone gets a good view. Very impressive! For those of you on our Facebook (CharlottePaulRock) I put a bit of video of last nights on. Needless to say my new ambition in life is to be a carnival drummer! Our big problem though is that we are pretty pathetic when it comes to staying out late – we’re usually in bed by 10, whereas BA doesn’t wake up till 11pm! This is because we’re normally up early and out all day, and the heat still wipes me out. Anyway, a new plan tonight! Although I was out running at 7am, and we’ve been out walking and exploring all day, we’re going to make a special effort! It’s 5pm now, I’m going to cook some dinner, and then we’ll go to bed and get up at 10pm!!!! What could possibly go wrong????

It amused Charlotte very much that late last night, when someone spoke to me I replied “No hablo Spanish” instead of “No hablo Espagnol”. I hereby apologise that despite speaking French, German, a bit of Italian, a conversational knowledge of Portuguese, that in the two days I’ve spent in a Spanish speaking country I’m not yet fluent. I must try harder in future.
There were two things that particularly tickled me at the carnival, aside from the spectacle itself –
A small dog pooed in the middle of the pavement right in front of the steps we were standing on! It was only a matter of time before someone stood in it! As the crowds walked by there were many near misses, before the first victim was a push chair. Front and back wheels right through it. And then a few people clipped it. I had the ingenious and community spirited idea of placing a large paper bag over it to protect people. But this almost went horribly wrong when it became apparent I had created a banana-skin type slippy-bag-pooh situation! Things were beginning to look really messy, so the best option was ……. for us to walk away and find somewhere else to watch!
The other great thing was this – there were hundreds of young kids running around, all armed with aerosol canisters of foam which was being sold on every street corner. They were absolutely covered in soapy foam, like shaving foam, and loving it! Just generally having a great carefree time and enjoying being soaked from head to foot. And then we saw him. I’ll call him Little Juan. Aged about 10yrs old, slightly plump. He was wearing swimming goggles, and looked ridiculous. This was obviously some form of health and safety preventative measure he had been forced to endure. I can only imagine that he was under the guardianship of Rachael Denny. For those of you who don’t know Rachael, she very cleverly fits in her part time job of police officer with her full time job of being Director of Health and Safety for the entire European Union. I have the pleasure of driving to work with her every day. My god, the things we’ve had to look out for! We’ve had to take emergency evasive action for helicopters (in case they land on the car?!?!), horses in the adjacent field (in case they jump the fence and land on the car?!?!) and owls (exactly why I still don’t know???). Rachael likes nothing better than a good old risk assessment, and often despairs of my lackadaisical attitude.
Anyway, Rachael has obviously now branched out into South America, and poor old Little Juan seems to have come under her wing. I can just picture it –
Little Juan – “Aunty Raqel, please please can I go to the carnival tonight??”
Aunty Raqel – “Well I’m not sure Little Juan. Those places can be fraught with danger”
LJ – “Oh, please, pleeeeaase. Everyone else is going!”
AR – “Well ok, but on one condition. You’ll have to wear your swimming goggles as that foam could be deadly if it went in your eyes!”
LJ – “Oh no! Noooooo! Everyone’ll laugh at me! I’ll look ridiculous”
AR – “Well, it’s that or nothing. It’s only a matter of time before someone loses an eye. I know it hasn’t happened in the last 200 years, but one day…….”
LJ – “But I’ll be humiliated again! It’ll be like that time you made me wear a crash helmet to play chess!”
But LJ wore his goggles, and yes he looked ridiculous and was taunted and humiliated by all the other children. (Rachael wasn’t yet to know that in 20 yrs time Little Juan would grow to become a serial psychopath, the infamous Gruesome Goggled Groper who finished of his victims by choking them on risk assessment forms).
(To be fair to Rachael, Charlotte DID get some foam in her eyes, and it really DID hurt!)

A note for the last time (possibly) on toilet matters. We both appear to have suffered from a 24hr tummy bug. Without going into detail, all I’ll say is that it has caused some fantastic sound effects! Charlotte managed the whole of the 1812 Overture, complete with cannons and fireworks, whereas I knocked out the entire Haydn’s Trumpet Voluntary, note perfect!

And with that thought I’ll leave you!


News of my arrival had got around, and the locals were clamouring for my company….


Rachael’s first order was to have the school bus removed on health and safety grounds


Rachael was satisfied that the cones were the specified 2.47m from the road edge, and put her tape measure away


“Oh no no no” said Rachael. “Sauce bottles out in the sun??? We certainly can’t have that!”


Aidy had upgraded his caravan and was particularly pleased with his purple canopy


Andy, determined not to be outdone, cashed in his camper van and bought this new luxury model


Elliott, forever living in fear of the need for an “urgent natural” just lived in the portaloo


Evidence to suggest that Raymond Mitchell has fooled us all and is working as a street tango artist in Buenos Aires….

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