Travel Journal

Catch up on the news from April

(Sunday 10 May 2009) by Brennan-adventures
Hello Folks,
Well over a month since we last touched base, and for us it has gone so quickly… Have you missed us??

Well our journey home to England nearly didn’t happen!! The afternoon before we were due to leave I found the radiator fluid in the header tank of the car would not hold its high level…. Problem.... this was 4pm and we were due to leave to drive to Sao Paulo at 8am the next morning.
Off to Spartacus ( yes that is really his name and he sold us the car) to see what could be done… He was wonderful and managed to convince a mechanic to work on it until it was fixed, so at 11pm we were delivered a car that was fixed…. Brilliant…… so England here we go. :-D
Our flight was with Iberia….Rubbish. The seats were so hard and the films were black and white, I suspect cost cutting!!
We had a stop in Madrid, if I do not see that airport again for 10 years it would be too soon, I have been there too often lately due to the flight decisions made by my dear husband. 7-)
The toilets there are very stressful, all very sleek and modern BUT with etched glass doors, the people outside waiting in line know exactly what you are doing…. I am very private when it comes to my loo situation so here it is a nightmare for me. After our 9 hour flight to Madrid the next Iberia flight to London we had to pay for the privilege to eat… I get so mad at this, they do not lower the prices enough to compensate for a sandwich which costs £9.00!! Still we got back to U.K. on time and as well as could be expected for the hours travelled .It was the first time Mike knew what it feels like to be me…. He didn’t get a sleep on either plane so was as spaced out as I was; I think I will get a little more sympathy now!!;-)

We got back to the U.K. at the beginning of April. Mike straight to work; me I spent days trying to find some new clothes. The clothes in Brasil do not fit me and if I am honest is not really my style… to tight and clingy.
I was also trying to get my head around a Party in Scotland for my Mum, she was going to be 80. We had invited the family and friends to celebrate…. I had made the decision to have it at Mum and Dad's house; I think possibly they dreaded it!! Still my sister and her children did a great job cleaning and clearing the rooms before I got there.
In fact when I got there 4 days before the party there was so little to do I managed night out with two school friends and a couple of trips to the garden centre for coffee.:-)

The day of the party things went well, the weather although overcast and breezy stayed dry. The family (on both sides) had got together 5 years previously, so conversation flowed well.
I had a ball, not sure about the birthday girl….. I think by the time it ended she had enjoyed herself. The next 3 days saw me getting the house and contents back to normal.

I was then on way back down to Southampton. I had 1 week left before we flew out again to Brasil. That week was a frenzy of shopping, cleaning…. Well you have to have a clean and tidy house for the burglars !!!
It was such a strange situation to get your head around, in my pea brain I had been and returned to Brazil, so to be packing up again was odd.
This time we were flying with British airways… narrow seats but more padding, movies on selection which was brilliant for me…managed 4 films in the 11 hour straight through flight.

Mike slept nearly the whole way so was bright eyed and bushy tailed for our drive to the beach. We had left the car at a long term car park near Sao Paulo airport for the month, keeping fingers crossed it would start we packed our suitcases in the boot and turned the key…. Eureka we had a go!! B-)

The road to the beach nearest Sao Paulo is hilly and winds down and around mountains; the road travels through some of the worst polluted areas in Brasil, huge petrochemical works and factories belching smoke into the valleys surrounded by hills is not the idea of paradise most people have of Brasil. Still at least the beach is away from this pollution and the tides keep the beach and waters clean.
The beach area is called Guaruja. You would not believe the HUGE houses for the rich people weekend retreats from Sao Paulo. The prices here are expensive as well…. Some really rich folk around Brasil !!

Now the beach in Brasil is a really civilised place, every few metres a beach shack sells drinks, sandwiches and small eats. They also have beach chairs and umbrellas which are set up for you at NO charge.
There are also the usual beach sellers that pass selling dental floss bikinis… toyed with the idea of one but sanity prevailed!! They also sold beach toys, cover ups and sarongs.

There are men who carry around small lit BBQ’s on long handles which they cook skewers of cheese on. To do this they hurl the BBQ around their head to add air to the coals and make them glow red ….. blinking dangerous if you ask me!!:-\

They also have peanut sellers, ice crem sellers and Tapioca sellers who make the tapioca into flat wibbly pancakes covered with coconut and condensed milk. Quite a feast and not leaving your beach seat!!
The temp was great for us whitey Brits, around 23c daytime and 19c at night. Our 4 days passed far too quickly, and we were now little pink Brits!!

Mike had a meeting in another city for 2 days before we headed for home in Ilha.
The morning of Thursday we left the beach..BOO HOO, heading for Sao Jose Dos Campos.

Well the roads in Brasil are not so great with signs, infact they are like the USA put just at the turning rather than giving a good warning the turn is approaching. :-?
We missed the road and ended up on the coast road, the views were stunning if you had time to look. I was the driver so my eyes were on the road and working out how I was going to pass the slow moving truck without us getting killed!!
The road has double yellow lines along the centre… no passing BUT try climbing a huge hill behind a truck travelling 15 mph!! The road was like the Almalfi coast in Italy but the winding hilly hairpin bends lasted 3 hours… It was one of the worst drives of my life!! Mike was getting more and more tense as he was supposed to be giving 2 talks starting at 1-30pm, by this time it was 2pm and we were just getting to the outskirts of the city.
This Sao Jose dos Campos is a small city of around 800,000 people…. and joy the roads were mostly one way…. A flipping nightmare if you need to get to a particular spot. Our hotel was just the wrong side of a roundabout… 40 mins later we found our way there; by this time Mike was so tense he was shouting at me…. I was not taking the roads he wanted me to… well you try crossing 4 lanes of fast moving traffic with 50yrds to the road… impossible. If I’d had an ejector seat button believe me it would have been used!! }-)
I was not talking to him by the time we reached the hotel. Once he got on his was to the company I chilled in the room…
Later all was well you will be glad to hear.

Sat morning up bright and early, driving this time to Ilha Solteira. Sunday is mother’s day in Brasil… huge fuss made about it. In supermarkets all the ladies get a real red rose when shopping… how much this must cost the supermarkets I hate to think…
Mike is concerned as last time we lived here he bought me nothing… well it’s mothers day and I am not his mother…. He got into sooo much trouble from our friends here, so today he is wanting to visit the market set up especially for mothers day to buy something… God knows what I will end up with !!

Well folks now arrived In Ilha and here for a few a week, trying to settle back into life here for a while. It is winter now here and the temperature is around 26c so much more comfortable now, less sweaty Betty!!!

Well I think that’s all the news and that we have caught up again.
Keep safe
Laur xx

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