13.11.2005 20 °C
Many of you have commented rather negatively towards my newly grown beard (I´ve had as many shaves as I´ve had days off the alcohol). I admit that I´m in danger of looking like my old form tutor, "Caveman" Herbert, bar the pudding bowl haircut and yer archetypal traveller which fall into two types - the post-modern campri wearing berghaus booted nerds or the matted haired, stripy trousered, berghaus booted court-jester hippy freak complete with Marty Feldman/Gazza Winn eyes and a tambourine. Nevertheless, I can safely say that even one as pretty as me has never had so much attention from the opposite sex since I donned the smoky-Gauloise look. Especially from the Chilean girls whose facial hair arrangement is also quite impressive. More importantly the love of my life has also become quite attached to it, but then she has been wearing quite a lot of velco lately. Apparently its the new zip.
Anyway I´m still quite behind on bringing you up to date with all thats happened and because theres quite a lot I feel compelled to tell it all whether you like it or not. I´ve also missed out on a few things like bumping into two Jersey girls within only 5 days of being away and that when we decided not to go to a Rio favela (shanty town) tour because all we´ll see is a few bricks, a mattress and three gallons of baking soda our decision was forced upon us by the fact that the main hood of the hood had been shot dead that very day. I also forgot to recall our minor miracle when we arrived back in Rio airport from Buenos Aires with a flight due back out the very next day. Because of this we decided to leave our luggage there overnight. So we got back the next day and got our luggage and queued up to check-in. We were due to go to Foz Do Íguazu (where the water falled) but via Sao Paolo and with a change of plane. So it was surprising to us that they were calling for Foz instead of Sao Paolo. We passed them our tickets and could sense that not all was right. It only turned out that we had gone to the wrong airport and that the flight we were trying to check in on was about to leave in 10 minutes. No questions asked they rushed us through and I think we got the only two seats left on the plane. Furthermore, we went direct (there were no direct flights when I originally booked it) saving us a few hours in travel. Oh, you had to be there but I´m sure you can imagine the situation. If we had met gay Jeremy at the check-in you know we would have been f?cked.
Anyway I´m glad I´ve got that story out of the way. After the waterfalls we went to Manaus, the Brazillian Calcutta, where I donned a hotel towel and walked around preaching for a non-violent uprising. This was also the gateway to the Amazon jungle and ironically the only bit of real luxury we´ve had. The lodge was basically five star which meant that the whole Amazon experience was a bit anaemic if thats the right word to use. Basically it was full of geriatrics so the jungle trek consisted of walking from our hut to the restaurant and the closest thing I came to piranha fishing... well thats another story. Unfortunately we would have seen more wildlife in a Turkish kebab but it was still really good.
Next up was Salvador de Bahia where we´d been warned that we might be in for a bit of a rough time from the locals. Its also the home of capoeria so it was a good chance to put those two lessons I had last year to good use for anyone who tried it on (Gordo Wins!). The place was actually buzzing and it was also good to be back on the beach where I could hone my distinctive tan lines. We then went to a tropical paradise island called Morro de Sao Paolo which was beautiful and the only form of transport is wheel barrow. I done one of those death slide things inbetween doing nothing for two days. We also discovered a new type of music in a club there called timbalada which was a really cool afro-tribal sound involving four blokes banging some cow hide and a topless chick giving it loads with some constant chanting. Sounds good but unfortunately she looked like the little squeaky one from Police Acadamy (I to IV).
That brought an end to our Brazillian adventure not before we managed again to check-in to a flight only ten minutes before it was leaving (I´ll spare you the detail but it was no thanks to rough seas and boats unable to cross them that caused this panic).
Anyway this also brought an end to constantly being vigilant and looking over our shoulder as we had arrived in safe, honest, good ol´ Santiago, Chile. It was now a time to relax and not worry so much. A time to be complacent, get drunk and be taken advantage of by the "Bohemian" friends we had made. I´ll try and be lucid about this as I know this is getting a bit long now but basically we had befriended a native who I knew was doing his ligging best. Nonetheless we were having a good time and I was keeping him at arms length with my deep suspicions and the night passed uneventful as we went to leave him to go home.
I was actually only a bit tipsy but I was unaware that our friend had actually chosen a taxi for us to get in (Alex told me this later). I instantly thought the taxi was a bit wierd, even more so when the driver showed me that the meeter was running (I usually look out for this anyway). Anyway he turned out to be a right chatty-chatty bang bang and instantly got our confidence. Lest I was aware that the taxi driver turned out to be none other than David Blaine, master illusionist, fleet fingerer and mind bender, when it came for me to pay, and tha he was going to take me for a ride of a different sort. I knew something wasn´t right but couldn´t fathom what the f¿ck was going on. I was getting more and more frustrated with him as he continued to take more money from me using his powers of the black arts. In the end he f?cking pushed it too far when he refused to give me change after I had (thought) I had gave 20 quid for a 13 pound ride talking about not having any change (after I had seen it, even given it to him), that it was nightime and all of a sudden not understanding English. I lost my rag, went all Ben Le Fevre and started battering him. Not my wisest of moves and not something I´m proud of. Alex, who was waiting outside, came bounding over panicing, saying sorry to taxi driver before letting me out. Alex said he was p!ssing with blood with cuts to his eye and nose (but I´m convinced that this was just another illusion). He was shouting "polizie, polizie" before zooming off. Back in the hostel you can imagine how much I sh@t myself when all of a sudden there became a constant thrall of police sirens. Scampering round for a hiding place I managed to find the perfect size lampshade to cover my head as I fell back silently into a corner of the room until the sirens faded away.
It wasn´t until the next day I really realised what had happened. The f?cker had conned nearly 50 quid from me. I was livid again and although I wished I hadn´t reacted like I did, I hoped he had permanent reminder of messing with me when he looked in the mirror because I´ve got a permanent reminder of how he f?cked with my head. It still really freaks me out when I think about it. Nevertheless, in comparison I can safely say that Brazil is every bit as cool as the image it portrays and so is Chile. No wonder the Nazis chose here to exile themselves the humourless w@nkers.
Find out in the next episode how I wreaked my revenge on the Chilean populous by singing "Where´s Yer Mama Gone?" to orphaned victims of the Pinochet regime.