Wednesday, 18 March 2015

My last night in Rio...

It's odd. Odd to think that I can actually sit here, in my hotel room, and write that I've just had dinner, al fresco, looking out on to Copacabana Bay, the light sea breeze, the music from a live band playing no more than a few feet away and, well, that's it. Incredible. And all thanks to the wonders of air travel. Odder still, perhaps, to consider that this time tomorrow I'll be arriving at Rio's international airport ready to embark upon an eleven hour flight home to London.

Copacabana Bay from the Sofitel's Atlantico restaurant
Before I flew here I was in two minds about the place. I'd heard bad things about crime and let's not for one minute suggest that there isn't any crime here; there is, but, touch wood, so far, I've not experienced anything and I hope I don't. For me, however, the key thing is the weather. It's been 33 degrees here and, at an early hour it's been at least 25 degrees. You really can't go wrong, especially when you consider it's March. March! I dread to think about the weather back home, but when I left Heathrow it was drizzly and grey. Now there's a phrase: 'drizzly and grey'. But it sums up the United Kingdom both in terms of the people and the climate. Horrible! I always feel a million times better in the sunshine and we don't get enough of it in the UK.

Asparagus soup...
 So, I've been sitting in the Atlantico restaurant looking out over the bay, listening to the music, breathing in the fresh sea air, eating wonderful, fresh, exotic fruits, it's been incredible and let's not forget that during the day I've been working. And I'm serious about that: I've been working. Even tonight, after the business was officially over, I sat here in front of my lap top working until around 1930hrs before considering dinner. And now I'm back, it's 2039hrs and I'm sitting at my desk, in front of the laptop, writing this blogpost. If you've been reading my posts you'll know that I'm in two minds about what to do tomorrow and a lot of it hinges on what happens with the hotel. I have to check out by noon, which means I can enjoy a leisurely breakfast – fresh papaya, fresh mango, fresh melon, wonderful fruit juices and, of course, an Earl Grey tea – before working out what to do regarding a possible late check-out. I'll need one as my flight home doesn't leave until 2255hrs. That means I need to be at the airport at and, therefore, I've got the whole day in Rio. The thing is I've also got my suitcase and laptop and what the hell do I wear? I know, that sounds a bit girly, but there's no option other than shorts and a tee-shirt here in Rio but if I've got nowhere to change, like in a hotel room, then I might find myself arriving at Heathrow in the same shorts and tee shirt and the chances are the shorts (which are basically trunks) will be wet from a swim in the sea (if the weather's hot that's definitely what I'm doing and I'd like a dip in BOTH hotel pools too if possible).
Sea bass main course.

While having dinner and listening to the band and staring out on Copacabana Bay I watched people playing football and was reminded of the old cliché about Brazilian footy players and how they all start by playing on the beach. Well, one thing I will say is that the standard of the basic 'jumpers for goal posts' game over here is at the top of the curve. I mean seriously good football. Not that I know much about the 'beautiful game' but I guess I know enough to spot decent players even if I am watching from a distance of over 500 yards (and it's dark).

It's odd. That's the second time I've said that, but it IS odd. There's all this talk about high crime rates and how things can literally kick off at any second and at any place, but people wander around outside of the hotel, they play footy on the beach, ride bikes along the cycle lane skirting the beach, wander alone or with pals, nobody seems too worried, but that's not to say there aren't problems...there are BIG problems. As for me, well, I've stayed in basically. I have been to the beach and swam in the sea and it was fine, but I haven't gone for a wander as I might have done in mainland Europe or the USA. Fortunately the hotel offers me everything I need so why wander out? Which brings me back to my planned trip. I'll have to organise whatever I decide to do tomorrow because, for some reason, every night I've been here (apart from Sunday when I arrived) I've gone to bed early and by that I mean before 9pm. And here I am again, it's 2053hrs and I'm thinking about getting some kip.

Fresh fruit salad...
Dinner was great: asparagus soup followed by sea bass and then a fresh fruit salad with passion fruit sorbet. Wonderful! And let's not forget the Malbec and the still mineral water – it was all good. I'm starting to yawn, the air con is full on and needs to be turned down and I need to get ready for tomorrow (it's going to be a long day unfortunately).

Hopefully I will do something, but it all depends on what the hotel says about me extending my welcome. Currently check-out is noon, which might be okay, but I'd like to have access to a room for most of the day, otherwise I'm just camping out all day and that won't do, will it?

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