The spitting incident

When we were in Sao Paulo we visited a pizzaria. I ordered a ‘chic’ pizza which came in a metal tray to keep it warm. The waiter neatly picked up a slice using two forks and closed the lid on the remaining three. All good so far; the pizza was good, Jemma was enjoying her meal, we complimented the food and we were glad we had came. Then disaster struck.

I decided I would like to continue my excellent meal with a second slice of pizza. So, holding the metal tray in one hand, I attempted to copy the waiter and lift a slice of pizza with the two forks. This proved more difficult than I had anticipated, as it was a delicate juggling act to lift the pizza while freeing it from it’s stringy cheese moorings. Why had I even tried I ask you!??! But instead of accepting defeat like a sensible human being and dropping the forks, I opted to drop the lid of the metal tray on the pizza with my hand still in it, while refusing to let go of the slice.

At this moment a waiter, who had no doubt seen my ungraceful floundering from across the room, came to assist. He took the metal dish from my hand, and easily passed me my desired slice of pizza, replaced the dish and smiling in one slick move. Right then I could have closed the situation with a shred of dignity by laughing, apologising and we could have parted ways on good terms. Sadly it wasn’t to be.

As he smiled I rushed to say thank you, but instead of words, a sizeable chunk of ham flew out of mouth and across the table. We all saw the ham. It was a big healthy chunk of pink solids that was unmistakeably of the dead pig variety. The waiter pretended not to see it. Jemma laughed with sheer glee, and I, I was so embarrassed I said nothing. I just stared straight ahead, hoping, that if I kept staring, this would all go away…

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There are many other stories and incidents to update on since my last post… we´ve said tchau to Brazil after three weeks and hola to Argentina, land of steak, red wine and the wilds of Patagonia… but this will have to wait until the next rainy day in South America…

Paraty: South America’s most blinding town

The streets of Paraty take no prisoner. There is an enemy lurking there that few can withstand, and all eventually succumb to. It is not the perpetually insidious mosquito that I speak of, nor the troublesome boat owners yelling ‘passeio’ at every passerby. No, it is the sunlight. Yes, the fricking sunlight. Wherever you walk in this admittedly beautiful cobbled town, the white walls and polished stones reflect the tropical sun directly into your brain in an attempt to permanently blind you. *

So after escaping Paraty with both our vision capabilities thankfully intact, we have arrived in Sao Paulo, which I believe is the biggest city in the southern hemisphere. The Lonely Planet says 19 million people inhabit these grey, towerblock lined streets, and from what we’ve seen it certainly does go on and on and on in every direction. There are no majestic rainforest-covered hills rising above the concrete like in Rio, no gorgeous sandy beaches like in Paraty, this is a city at its most functional and ugly. As a Brazilian told us last night “you want fun, you want to relax and party – you go to Rio. You want to make money, you come to Sao Paulo.”

Finally I would like to add that following on from my last post I did try an ‘espanhola’ and it was, all things considered, pretty disgusting. I fully attribute my inability to sleep that night down to that thick death liquid, but in retrospect I probably should have seen that coming. It’s difficult to describe the taste but it was something like a milkshake made from an alcoholic cow that had been solely fed on rotting old pineapples. Ironically, Jemma, my girlfriend and sprightly travelling companion (also a long time abstainer from alcohol) loved it. But there’s no accounting for taste…

* I would like to add that once you get over the brightness, it is a beautiful little place to amble around and spend a few lazy days doing very little…