Flying down to Rio

Arrived in Rio after a bumpy but otherwise uneventful journey, BA must be on an economy drive as we didn’t get the drinks trolley nearly as much as I remembered – only an aperitif and then the drink with the main meal. Later we had a cold snack with soft drink, then much later a microwaved Cornish pasty or something equally unappetising, again alcohol free area. Over 900 hundred pounds and no booze? Let’s move on, I could get really maudlin.

We had been promised a nice balmy night in Rio – it started raining as soon as we left the aircraft. Being late we got a taxi, Barra de Tijuca is a long way out of Rio. We got a taxi driver who spoke very little English, and who was under the impression we would be thrilled to hear him mangle the language and fill in the gaps in his knowledge, (“my wife speak very, very good English, she very good”) after an 11 hour flight and a long wait for bags. He wanted to point out all the very important places in his city but didn’t know what they were called in English, so we played 20 questions in French, Italian and English to try to cobble together the significance of the monument we had just shot past at Ayrton Senna speeds, while he answered the phone (hands on), and changed channels on his miniature dashboard tv. He tried in vain to show us the Christ the Redeemer statue, but we gathered by the waving hand and the swerve across the carriageway that the mist had descended with the rain.

First impressions of Barra was of a low rise Las Vegas – vulgar neon signs, but shops not casinos near our hotel – stretching for 15 kms on both sides of an enormous and very fast 10 lane highway with, we discovered later, only one official crossing point giving a 30 second countdown and you can’t get all the way across in 30 seconds unless you sprint, or are on a motorised skate board, so everyone gets caught on the last 2 lanes and has to wait for the whole thing to begin again. 5 seconds extra, Lads in the Traffic dept, and we could do it, what have you got against pedestrians?