Getting away from it all!
On Monay Sue was called into Church Langton for the day. There was quite a lot of gossip as three of the ‘old’ staff were leaving. She was covering for the Deputy Head who had got a Headship in Luffenham and was visiting the school. She had started at Church Langton as a teaching support, was given training and then took over the class. When the previous Deputy left she got the job and is now going to be a Head. She has no formal qualifications such as a degree, but she can teach and is a good organiser. How things have changed. Sue was called in again to teach on Wednesday afternoon, she was reluctant, but as it was PE (and for once a sunny day) followed by RE (her favourite sunject), she agreed. I planted a couple or rows of broad beans in the allotment. The theory is that they will be up and running by the time we get back off holiday. Afterwards Nan and I went for lunch at The George in Oxendon. We had to rush back as she didn’t want to miss her Bingo session at her flats.
That night I drove over to Charlotte’s to baby sit. I stopped for an hour in Braybrooke to visit Roger and have a natter. The boys were still up when I arived, Suraj was still at work, the IT systems had undergone a major upgrade and it didn’t work, he was running tests to isolate the fault. Charlotte was off to an Avon Party or, some other smelly affair. The boys were lovely and explained what I had to do to put them to bed, though I do think I read a couple more stories than was usual (but I didn’t mind). By 8pm they were fast asleep and I was watching the Liverpool game on TV. Suraj turned up just after 9pm and after a chat I returned home.
Thursday afternoon (after what was quite a large lunch, I think we polished off everything in the fridge!) saw Sue and I take a leisurely drive to The Holiday Inn, Heathrow. We have stayed there before and knew the lie of the land. We had a short walk into the village of Sipson and returned later that evening to have a Thai meal at the pub. the locals were very friendly and knew we were on holiday. After inquiring as to where we were going, the Landlord then over the next 15 minutes told us (in detail) about his holiday to Venezuela, when he had finished we had one of the locals chip in over the next 15 mins about his holiday to Rio. Very friendly are Londoners.
The following day we checked out of the hotel at noon, dropped off the keys to my car at the desk and caught the Hoppa-bus to terminal 4. We were the first to check our baggage in and proceedings didn’t go smoothly. The girl at the check-in desk couldn’t get her mind around that we didn’t have return flights and inquired as to why. Things didn’t seem to her liking when I said we were comimg back by boat. Not until after calling for the supervisor who checked our cruise tickets and said that he was satisfied did she reluctantly issue our boarding cards. Passage through security was without mishap. I bought a pair of sunglasses while waiting for a flight that was half an hour late.
Two and a half hours, a glass of orange juice and a packet of nibbles and we were in Rome. We had to transit across the airport using a shuttle train to Italia’s own Terminal G. A two and a half hours wait turned into three and a half as there was the enivitable delay, we flew at around 1am. I watched 3 films, while Sue fell asleep after just one. They fed us a couple of times, I thought the food was ok but Sue wasn’t impressed.
It was raining in Rio when we landed! Passport control was straight forward and our baggage popped up on the carousel (always a worry) and we made our way outside to find our transport to the hotel. We are due to catch a shuttle bus to the beach hotels, but as yet we have been sat at the meeting point for 2 hours and am getting quite bored as the game of watching fellow passengers walk by has lost its interest (so I decided to catch up on this blog).
As soon as I switched off, magically the Brazillian driver turned. The journey to the hotel was shared with a few others, two of who are Italian and staying at the same hotel (they don’t speak English). It was an interesting journey as I was under the illusion that the Favella’s were on the hills surrounding Rio. They are not, they are all around the airport. Sue and I have seen some shanty towns before but these cap the lot. They are rickety house built on top of rickety house, made of the most basic of materials and no decoration attempted what so ever. Must be a very scary and confusing place to have to live. Not surprisingly there were huge vultures wheeling across the sky above them. I shudder to think what they were eying up for their next meal. As we drove closer to our destination we passed through and over the true Favellas of my imagination, tumbling down the hillside like an avalanche of bricks and sticks. Our journey took us through two very long tunnels (under the human debris) and we emerged into another world altogether. A place where the homes/flats etc. were neat and tidy, painted and above all secure. One thing you notice straight away is that all doors, entrances, windows, garden walls etc. have strong and high bars embedded into them. Must be a distrustful nation the Brazilians.
Though we checked in we were told our room wouldn’t be ready for another one and a half hours (I think we may have to get used to this). Sue was suffering from her usual migraine after a long flight and was feeling quite sickly. She settled down in a corner of the Foyer to close her eyes and went I for a roam. Naturally I walked along the beach. I have always wanted to visit Copacabana, from when I first heard about, though I doubted it would live up to my expectations. Though there were a few spots of rain in the air and only a little bit of blue sky, all the ingredients were present: fantastic mountain background, white dazzling sand, Brazillian boys playing games of footy and volleyball on the beach and of course the couples walking hand in hand ignoring all other passersby (have I been watching too many chick-flicks?).
I walked to one end of the beach and then up onto the rocky promontory where the locals were fishing with rods and catching little sprats that deserved to grow a bit bigger but they wouldn’t get the chance. None got thrown back. On my return journey to the hotel I stopped and sat for half an hour at a beach bar watching the goings on (my favourite pastime) with a glass of beer.
On my return, Sue was fast asleep and oblivious to the fact that the Foyer was packed. We got the keys to our room at 2.20 pm (should have guessed). The first thing we did after depositing our suitcases in the room was to go out and buy a bottle of water. Funny when you spend so much time waiting for things, when they eventually arrive, you are keen to leave it, get off it, out of it or over it as soon as humanly possible.
While Sue was sleeping I spent the time talking to Charlotte and Sarah via email and then later to Charlotte on Skype. As I was doing so, three fire engines roared passed the hotel and woke Sue up. As she felt a little better we went for a walk along the beach. We sat and watched a beach angler catch quite a large fish before moving on and wandering through a local street market. Most of the wares on sale were very bright and colourful, green and yellow being favoured (what a surprise). Afterwards we found a nice restaurant but on sitting down I discovered I had left my glasses at the hotel and couldn’t read the menu. Ten minutes later, after returning with my glasses we sat down to a more substantial meal than we could eat comfortably. As Sue said, “It is no wonder many of the locals are so big if this is the size of the portions.” Picking up some water and a bottle of Kumquat juice from a supermarket we returned to the hotel for the night.