Anas Grandfathers beautiful garden.
Our last evening in Brasil was New Years Eve. And seeing the fireworks on Copacabana was going to be one of the highlights of our stay. I wish I could show you pictures of it but Im afraid I wasnt there - I didnt make it. This was when I finally discovered my limits.
On several occasions during our holiday I had felt pretty exhausted, well it was only a couple of weeks earlier that I had been completely bed bound so I guess its not surprising. The heat didnt help either - in the 40s during the day and not dropping below 30 at night. My feet, ankles and hands were swelling up alarmingly by the end of each day and a number of times I really didnt feel well at all. This came to a head on New Years Eve. The area around the beaches is closed to all traffic so the only way to get there was on the tube. This was packed, crammed with people going to Copacabana, and SO hot. I was crushed in a corner behind Martin and after about 30 minutes I fainted. There wasnt enough room to fall so I was just slumped against his back. I came around after a few minutes but felt so ill that when we got off the tube the only thing I could do was get in a taxi with Martin and go straight back to Matts place. The others carried on to the beach so they saw the fireworks, but poor Martin missed them - and apparently they were fantastic. So that was that. It couldnt be helped and maybe I had been overly optimistic thinking I could cope but it was very disappointing. Being alone with Martin as the clock chimed 12 was very emotional. There have been many times in the past year when I didnt think Id see 2008 and we just held each other and cried. So I guess missing the fireworks wasnt that disappointing after all. Im still here, and thats the important thing.
My final thoughts on Brasil? South America is a continent that marches to the beat of an entirely different drum and it takes a while to understand this. Nothing works the same as it does here. Especially the airlines. We had 4 flights cancelled, were delayed and finally re-routed via Paris on our way home. And Catherines suitcase was lost and still hasnt turned up. The poverty is dreadful, you cant trust the police and driving is a nightmare. Everywhere you go there are bars on the windows and you have to be looking over your shoulder every time you go out.
But the people we met were so friendly and hospitable, the food was fantastic - the best meat in the world (dont go if you are a vegetarian, you will starve!) It was the most exciting, exhilerating, at times terrifying, different place Ive ever been - and yes, YES, I want to go back !!
Catherine, Edward, Anas Dad, Ana, Luke and Matt on Christmas Eve.