4th August

Forced husband to gym this morning – it’s small but mercifully empty so can turn tele to CNN. Yesterday we saw an air sea rescue further down the beach – a helicopter flew low and close into shore, lowered a line and plucked someone out of the sea depositing them onto the beach, then shot off – all in a days work I suppose – exciting to watch.

Went to the Montana Grill again last night, just down the road. It’s a huge barn of a place, very austere, no comforts with bare yellow walls and high backed dark wood chairs with heavy tables in rows like a canteen – very utilitarian. Everywhere in Rio is staffed up to the hilt so they have very little to do individually. In the case of the grill it makes them too attentive; sip your drink they’re at your elbow to  fill the glass up again which gets a bit irritating. At the jewellery factory someone greeted us, another gave us a pass; we were handed on to someone else to take us upstairs where yet another person gave us the tour headset.

At the end of the tour ( very short, most windows unoccupied and those that were chatted to one another and didn’t seem inclined to show and tell) we were met by serious man in suit who takes us down stairs to a large room with desks, not a showroom. He showed us to a desk and suggested a drink – we ordered coffee and water, a request that was relayed to a young woman, who sent another young woman to get it and it was brought by a forth. We dodged all attempts to sell us thousands of pounds worth of gaudy jewellery and were reluctantly handed on to the showroom person who was very jolly and charming. We browsed politely, ooo’d and aaah’d enthusiastically and moved on to the contemporary showroom where another well groomed young woman was less enthusiastic, zipped through that and onto the shop where the lower orders picked up a bargain for just over £100 … We escaped to the beach after being handed over to the car getter and arranging to come back in an hour or so – exhausting!

Mike had to attend the conference today, weather’s not good so don’t know what to do yet, had planned to lounge around the pool, so may risk crossing the road to a mall and try to find a Christ the Redeemer statue for his mum, (she has an bedroom altar and this would be a novel addition). Went onto the internet first to book something and when I looked at my diary it screamed ‘You’re going back on Thursday not Friday idiot!’ That’s a bugger as Mike’s gone off to pay for my presence at tonight’s reception and the Gala dinner – £50 or thereabouts. I legged it to the conference hotel in the hope that he hadn’t paid it and he hadn’t because the administration of the conference is so chaotic they insisted he’d already paid – (he hadn’t). Ironically it’s a conference for International administrators -(’nuff said!)

We were going to have lunch but we would have had to pay an extortionate amount – whoever went to a conference and had to pay for lunch? Outrageous! Came back from the beach area a different way and passed a shop selling Havianas, (no, Mike didn’t know what they were) – I have begging emails from friends and family cluttering up my inbox – but no prices on them so will go back in a couple of days and see what the going rate is. Came back and started this diary, catching up on the days so far.

Booked a big day long tour tomorrow otherwise we won’t see anything except Barra di Tijuca. Haven’t actually understood the brochure as there’s no translation so if we end up in Chile I won’t be surprised …

Went to the reception, lots of food and drink, met Portuguese couple who had brought a 3 year old son (or little prince as I like to think of him), nice people, both taught administration at Lisbon university. Also met very bright, funny young Polish woman who is an assistant to the Minister of Higher Education – she’s going far. Drank too much, feet killing me, got taxi back