Sunday, August 12, 2007

Feeling better. Thanks to God and a pampering wife, no more fever. Back to work tomorrow morning.

Things I miss about England #62: Minimal noise pollution.
Sure, if you live, as we did, in a place like Clifton in York, you have to put up with the odd post-pub chant outside your window, but I am pretty sure that on average most urban places in the UK will be quieter in the evenings than most similar urban places in Brazil. Most of the time the booming music, arguing neighbours, local traffic and exotic wildlife don't actually bother us enough to make a point about it... but the fireworks, meu Deus! For some unknown reason (unknown as there is no festival requiring fireworks anywhere near this part of August in the calender) some bright spark (literally) has been setting off cheap but ear-drum-burstingly loud fireworks within the vicinity of our, and more importantly Nelson's, living space.

It's not as if they blast them all off and then stop - I could cope with that. No, they randomly string together half a dozen of their mini-grenades then wait for half an hour before lighting another six or so. I don't like fireworks or loud noises much at the best of times, so you can imagine what this does to my nerves by the end of an evening. I liken it to having a sadistic clown with a very loud toy gun pointed at your temple for several hours. The joke is he may pop another blank in your ear, but you don't know when he will do it again, or even if he is finished...

Last night was the worst. Nelson has proved his ability to sleep through fireworks displays (New Years Eve fifty yards from a beach party is the point in case) but just as he his settling down, having a volley of machine gun-like noises rip through your bedtime story isn't likely to stimulate those eyelids shut. No sooner had he dropped off to sleep when off went some more. Waaahhhh!!!! Twenty minutes later and he's nodded off again then off go the fireworks. Waaahhhh!!!!! etc. etc. Of course, each time this happens it also sets up a barking competition amongst our estate's canine population.

I'd complain if it wasn't considered social suicide in a country where poopoo-ing a party is on a par with killing the president.

Things I love about Brazil: #35: The way they do Father's Day. Today has been Brazilian Father's Day and now that I am in my second year of eligibility I thought I'd milk it for what it's worth. Cunningly designated for this Sunday in August, Father's Day in Brazil falls on the first day of the Premiership Football Season. Two years ago exactly, when Rachel and I were also in Brazil, my Father-in-law Steve took the opportunity in his position as Dad to call the shots on what the family would do with their day. I watched two back to back Premiership games, then went with Steve to a live football match, came back and watched another Brazilian football match on TV. With this in mind, Rachel babysat so I could watch uninterrupted on ESPN the great Arsenal play today in their first game of the new season. They nearly spoiled it for me, but turned a 1-0 shock deficit round to a last gasp 2-1 victory.

Already in a good mood therefore, I was chipper as we went off to our favourite beach just outside Pipa.
Ruth, Rachel, Nelson and I joined up with Amy and her entourage of four "gringos" that she was hosting. Even a random Irish guy called John was brought along for good measure. After lunch and once in the sea it was time to try out my Father's Day gift... a body-board, oh yes! The Atlantic tide was coming in and quite high so I summersaulted a few 360s in the water and ended up with sand in places the sun don't shine but I was hardly going to let that spoil a perfect day.

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