Aitch took me to Brasil. She had done well as usual in her sales for Scherag and so off we went. First a flight to Manaus in Amazonas province, then a long drive eastward along the Amazon River towards a lake just off the river, then by ferry to a pousada on Silves Island.
Brasil is an immensely big country! To give it scale, here’s a map showing where Amazonas province is and the tiny little portion we drove, which took four hours.
We weren’t married, but I was on my best behaviour and just watched as the bachelors (actual and temporary) in the party would trumpet every night ‘TooDooDoot TooDoo! We’re going fox-hunting!’ they would announce with glee at dinner and troop out with huge grins on their dials.
I stuck to feathered birds like oropendolas, huge toads, caymans and a fresh, beautiful, very sad ocelot skin the lodge staff had proudly recently shot! Aaargh!
Then we headed way south to the coast, to Angra dos Reis – the Cove of Kings. A booze yacht trip to the islands and beaches and swimming. One night Aitch felt ill and announced she’d go to bed early, I must go to supper alone. Yes!? I said. Sure, she said. Enjoy yourself. Ha HAAA! I was off – after dressing in my warrior fox-hunting regalia. At supper I tooted the fox-hunting horn with the best of them and announced my newfound freedom. We were off.
We found a bar with a wonderful barman. He gave you anything you wanted and all you had to do was scribble your name! It was first-class. Another round! I’d yell and we’d throw down another marvelous caipirinha and fling the glass over our shoulder. No! No! said the barman, grabbing his broom and sweeping up the pieces. MORE BEER! I’d yell, getting into my stride now.
Of course, I can handle my liquor but some of the guys were less capable. In fact, they dropped me twice on the way back to my chalet. And once there they just propped me up against the door, knocked and ran away. So Aitch found me closely inspecting the door mat and mumbling how I’d have to have a word with them about their service.
She says she dragged me into the shower and ran the cold water full blast and threw me into bed but of course that could all be rumours I don’t know I wasn’t there.
I got up early and made breakfast, feeling sprightly. And where were all the culprits? Nowhere to be seen. All indisposed, it was said. That’s what drinking too much will get you. We checked out that day and I was made to pay a bill a metre long with some complete stranger’s signature on all the slips. A signature that got less and less of something until it was just a short downward line with what looked like drool on it. I just paid. Rumours were going around and I didn’t want to cause a scene. I was there as merely a spouse-of, so I had to behave.
On to Rio! To the Copacabana! I was sure there’d be some licenced premises there too. There were! Aitch turned thirty high up on the roof of our hotel, with her colleagues giving her a huge festive bash. We had a banner made to string above the bar ‘THIRTY! AND UNMARRIED!’ it said.
We had a roaring party that had the hotel guests below us wanting us to hush and the favela okes on the hills above us wanting to join in!
pousada – Lodge or Inn
Angra dos Reis – cove – or inlet or creek – of kings
caipirinha – wonderful cold drink; all alcohol with a splash of limes and lemoas; refreshing; then tiptoes around behind you and taps you on the shoulder
favela – informal housing; closely-packed houses and shacks on the steep hill slopes
Another pic of an oropendola, this one by blogger Eduardo Libby.