Friday, June 22, 2007

Things I miss about England #29: The Police are generally not bent.
Following the mid-week wedding of Rachel's cousin Natasha to K Max (not sure how to spell his name, but that's how it sounds...) we were stopped at about 10.00am just outside Joao Passoa at a police roadcheck. Mark was driving and four officers were annoyed he didn't have his passport even though he didn't need it and had never been asked for it before. They tried every trick in the book to get us to pay up - "This can be settled here and now" etc. They feigned calling the Federal Police (which we were fine about as this would have confirmed Mark was in the right). They even took Mark and I out the car to semi-frisk us for "armas", but it was actually a cunning ploy to get us to look in our pockets for 10 bob they could have. Anyway, we stood our ground and within 20 minutes were on our way. Just a pain is all. You can see how it is easy to play this game - if we had handed over just R10 (£2.50) at the start they would have waved us through...

Things I love about Brazil #19: People know how to throw a party. To say goodbye to Mark some friends of ours (Marcello and Veronica and their two kids Kaka and Jonathan) organised a huge, no-holds-barred send off. It was a surprise party at their apartment complex with BBQ, some brief dramatic performances, speeches, prayers, hugs, tears and video messages on a big screen. All week everyone had managed to keep schtum during the planning and not let Mev in on the secret. The big event is still going on as I write - we came back to put Nelson to bed. It all seemed to work exceedingly well. Veronica said her aim with the party was "to make Mark cry" (Brazilians love everyone to bawl at farewells). I said, being a British lad, he wouldn't. I wish I could say I lost the bet, but despite torrents gushing forth from Brazilian tear ducts, Marks eyes remained resolutely dry throughout the night.

I was mighty impressed with the affection poured on Mev at this party. If I had been organising his farewell he would have been lucky to get a piece of pizza at the airport and a hearty slap on the back...

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