Monday, 16 March 2015

In Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

No cycling yesterday morning as I flew British Airways flight 249 out of a mildy rainy London Heathrow heading for Rio de Janeiro where the weather is a humid 30 degrees Centigrade. The flight was fairly pleasant, all 11 hours and 20 minutes mainly because I kind of broke it up into segments of time and as there was some pleasant company – I chatted with a guy from East Dulwich who seemed to travel to Rio fairly frequently – then the time flew by. Not that him and I chatted all the way over: he got on with some work while I read random articles from The Economist – there was one on Clarkson and others on the Brazilian political scene – and let's not forget the food (I love airline food as you know) and the music and movies. In all honesty, I didn't have much time for the music (I listened to Mirror in the Bathroom by The Beat, Garageland by The Clash and Parklife by Blur) and then turned my attention to the movies. I watched Gone Girl (not bad, but why did he stay with her at the end?). I get the feeling that the book will be better than the film. And then I watched the strangely compelling The Maze Runner, a film about a bunch of kids stuck in some kind of no man's land surrounded by a maze. In fact, the movies took up the last four hours of the flight and when I was done there was only 50 minutes before we landed. I've been advised to watch The Nightcrawler on my return flight.

Christ the Redeemer, Rio de Janeiro
Compared to arriving back in Heathrow or Gatwick, passport control at Rio was pretty good and as I didn't have any baggage to reclaim I sailed through to the kiosk where I could hire a taxi to my hotel. It cost me 130 Brazilian Reals (there's about 4.50 of them to the pound, but the rate varies; I was offered something like 3.88 at Heathrow).

Yes, I love airline food and both meals were chicken-based, which was fine by me as they were washed down with a couple of those tiny bottles of red wine. I was sitting in seat 37B, by the Exit, which allowed me the legroom I needed. I might re-book the same seat for the return journey as it made the whole thing much more bearable. Sod the window seat – fine for short haul but for anything over five hours, forget it.

My taxi driver was called Nelson, a good name, I thought, and we chatted briefly about a subject I know very little about: football. He was born here in Rio but moved to Portugal and has since returned to Rio where he lives with his wife and daughter. The ride to the hotel was fairly short and while he attempted to point out Christ the Redeemer, it was dark so I couldn't see it.

Another great thing about Rio (at this time of year) is that the time difference between London and Rio is only three hours, meaning no jet lag. As I write this it's 0920hrs in the UK and 0620hrs here in Rio, so I'm just a little weary, as if I've had a late night, but nothing more.

The hotel is right on the Copacabana beach and I'll probably go take a look later, although I've heard bad things about Rio in terms of crime, so I'd better keep a weather eye on who's around. They've got it all here: drugs, guns, nutters, the works and they're all living behind my hotel in what is known as the favellos. I hope I've spelt that correctly.

Right now there's little more to do other than get ready and have some breakfast and then I'll have to check things out generally and do some work. Yes, for those who often think otherwise, this is not a holiday.

No comments:

Post a Comment