Letter to a Sister: Brazil

Tuesday 23rd

Spent day in car, driving from Afogados to Recife. Six hours. Tried hard to not need washroom at the service stops, when finally relented it was the cleanest public washroom ever! Decided I need to start a ” World Wide Washroom” website, get people to grade toilets around the world. Will give it some thought.
Went to restaurant for lunch. Was a buffet. Unlike yesterday, this time I knew that I had to weigh the food BEFORE I started eating it, as it’s paid for by weight. ( Don’t ask about yesterday….)
Dropped some of the team at the airport. Rather sad the team is breaking up, it has been an intense few days but we all seemed to get along, no obvious tensions and lots of laughs.
Checked in at Cult hotel. Same room, duct tape still safely in place.
Walked along beach front. Despite the warnings everywhere, even behind every room door in the hotel, we did not see any sharks. There was even a man swimming and I waited for a few minutes, camera poised, but nothing, not even a fin.
Went to a market. Was either setting up or closing down. Bit naff. Didn’t buy a cushion cover. Ken didn’t buy a hammock. Walked back along front. It was getting dark but Luiz said in a lit area, a group would be fine. Started to rain, then poured. Very warm, so rather nice. Until we remembered were travelling the next day and had no way to dry clothing.
Ate pizza, then said goodbye to Luiz. Was sad saying goodbye, hope to see him again some day. He’s eighteen, has learnt English to a level whereby he can earn money translating. He lives in the favela with his family. When he left us, if the rain continued for more than a day, he would need to help move all their belongings onto tables to escape the flooding. His bit of the world is very different to ours, yet when he was joking with David, showing us round, discussing music, you realised that he was the same, was no different to our boys.
People like him are working hard to improve their lives, to live in communities that have a decent infra structure and less crime. The church is helping with the community – he told me that now, during daylight, there was no fear where he lives, they don’t have much stuff but they work together, growing up he has been surrounded by friends. Tearfund is helping with the infra structure, lobbying the government to improve flood control and provide amenities.

Wednesday 24th

Early flight to Rio. When we landed in Recife a few days ago, my bag was squashed and the zip damaged ( with tyre marks on it.) When we left, with the same airline, they made us sign a disclaimer, saying that said bag ( now secured with duct tape) would not be their responsibility if duct tape should fail. So wished my Portuguese was good enough to have explained that THEY caused the damage in the first place! Shall compose a letter when I am home. Cannot really recommend TAM airlines, not for customer service anyhow.
Bag arrived in one piece ( did not have to pick single items of clothing from conveyor belt. Taxi to Caesar Park Hotel. A few days holiday now.
Am really tired. I came up to room ahead of David. Pressed floor number in lift but we sailed past it to 23rd floor. Know that some lifts you need to wave room card above number, so did that but it still didn’t light my floor. Had visions of spending all day going up and down lift shaft. Thankfully another guest spotted what I was doing and showed me the slot where you have to put card before it will accept floor number. Will have a nap now I think.
Take care,
Anne xx

If you enjoyed this, you will love my new book: The Sarcastic Mother’s Holiday Diary.
I have always written a diary on holiday, so last Christmas, I decided to find all my old diaries and blogs, and make a book for my children. However, several other people also asked for a copy, so I have written a public version – it’s available on Amazon and has been described as “The Durrells meet Bill Bryson”!

Why not buy a copy today? I think it will make you laugh.

The US link is here:


The India link is here:


The UK link is here:



Letter to a Sister : Brazil

Arrived in Rio after long flight. Really really long flight. We (David and I plus friends:Barbie and Ken) were met at airport by hotel driver. Bit of a squash fitting cases into boot due to two large gas cannisters. I thought he had brought along his scuba diving gear (silly man) then learned that they were full of natural gas, it was a gas powered car (silly me).
His ticket didn’t open the exit barrier, so he went and parked in deserted car park. He did NOT then draw a gun and ask for all our valuables, he just apologized and went to pay for parking. Clearly has watched different films about Rio to me.

Checked in at Sheraton Hotel. Nice. Discovered I had forgotten to turn off ‘data roaming’ on my phone and had already been charged £26:04 for excess internet. Good old Three Mobile. (Not nice.)
Was surprisingly difficult to get into a lift going in the right direction to find our room. Must’ve been more tired than I realised.

Hotel nice. Our room overlooks beach and has a little balcony. D complained sea was too noisy (such a romantic.)
Showered, ate a burger, slept really well. Until 4am.

Wednesday 17th June
Opened curtains and watched dawn break over the sea. Beautiful. D explained what several of the viewpoints were. There are two lumpy hills called ‘The Two Brothers’, Ipanema beach, Leblon, etc. He told me the small beach by the hotel is called Viagra beach. Pretty sure he was lying.

Met Ken and Barbie for breakfast. Friendly staff, good buffet, ate overlooking sea. Tried some pretty tasteless papya and some very nice melon. Coffee average.

Walked to Ipanema beach. Saw Corcovada Hill with big Jesus statue on it. Saw a ‘muscle beach’ with people working out, doing pull-ups, etc. Lots of muscle. Barbie joined in (went on a swing.) I paddled in the sea (cold).
Saw people playing volleyball. Beach not too crowded. Sun gradually burnt of cloud and it warmed up, though didn’t get too hot. Saw coconuts for sale and some growing in trees. You can buy fresh coconut milk at beach stalls.

David and Ken discussed birds on beach (feathered variety.) Interesting shape, big and black and white. Tried to look them up in guide book but it concentrates mainly on nightclubs. Surprising really.

Lunch by pool. Barbie had coconut milk, served in the shell. Looked really cool but she said was a bit tasteless. I used my best Portuguese (first time I have used it) and ordered a mineral water, still, no ice. I received a water, sparkling, with ice. Considered it a success (they understood the water bit.)

Sun disappeared behind hill disappointingly fast. By 3pm we were sitting in the shade. Tomorrow we go to Recife, then off to see some Tearfund projects.

Am writing this on D’s computer, keep hitting wrong key and losing everything. Also not yet figured our how to add photos. Will aim to improve by end of trip.

Take care
Anne xx