Wednesday, 7 April 2010

When LCM found out what was going on via the BBC

You have to hand it to the BBC. While LCM and the troops were pondering what to do on a very wet day in Rio, the reliable journos back at the Beeb were filing important stories about what was going on right outside my front door.

We had decided that since the beach was – very obviously – off the agenda, other entertainment had to be sought for the cherubs. Like a trip to the Museu Naval e Oceonografico and the Espace Cultural da Marinha, both promising an insight to Brazil's naval history past and present, as well as the options (at the latter venue) to view a restored galleon, a submarine and a helicopter. Perfect for restless young children who love to explore and are game for something new and intriguing (to you and me this means about a gazillion questions in tandem with the outing, but a small price to pay when compared to perennial whining sessions if they are bored instead).

All fine and well in theory except that Rio in the rain is much like London in the snow: everything comes to a halt and shuts down. Or so at least I was told by BB when we spoke by phone to exchange plans for the day, a fact later confirmed by the BBC when I read their news report in the evening.

Despite this we still caught the Metro from Copacabana to Carioca (cheap, clean and – hear this Boris Johnson – air conditioned), wandered around Centro (downtown to you and me), spotted a few of the historical buildings in need of much love and restoration, headed towards the ferry terminal and arrived at the aforementioned venues. Which were both closed. Like I said, when the rains come, the cariocas stay at home!

So back we trundled, the fine drizzle occasionally abating enough to take off our waterproofs – only to then have to put them back on, bit like a comedy routine, "Looks like it's clearing up.... Oh, no here comes the rain again" – and witnessing a few amusing events along the way.

Like the business man holding an umbrella waiting in vain for a taxi, wearing what looked like a two-tone suit until I realised his entire bottom half was actually soaking wet.

Or the restaurant manageress hopefully expecting some horde of tourists to grace her entrance in want of a feed, gaily wearing her brightest smile, but careful not to venture too far outside the premises least she also end up with a two-tone ensemble.

Or the two bus drivers who carefully parked their vehicles on the side of the road and then got out and went hammer and tong at each other yelling goodness knows what obscenities. This garnered the most interest from the children of course. Two fully grown men doing a slapstick version of kicking and punching one another on the footpath.

At times like these I rue my Portuguese being so sorely lacking. I could have then offered a better explanation to the kids than just stating that the men were 'being naughty'.

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