We were lucky. London’s shift into winter only hit us in the final week, making an escape into Brazil’s glorious golden sunshine even sweeter. Crisp blue skies and dry frosty air saved us from the capital’s usual grey dankness, which seeps into your bones and reddens a dripping nose.
Having packed everything we own including our winter clothes - with our combined OCD exactitude - and moved them to Manchester, we were left with: assorted summer layers, a rain mac for me, a borrowed ‘Arthur Daily’ jacket for Cass, plus a pair of Uggs. I succumbed to buying a new beanie after shaving my hair in readiness for the tropics, only to feel my ears turn blue!
Leaving friends and family for me has only become easier with the years and my repeated exits from ‘normal’ life. Cass though is trusting in my belief in her; that she can succeed anywhere and spread her wings from London’s sometimes insular metropolis. Her friend’s concern and joy at our adventure is testament to her character and their close bond - I am under strict instruction not to hurt her, which I am happy to obey.
There is something particularly delicious about sitting in Terminal 5, looking out at British drizzle and knowing you are soon to soar above it and be evacuated to soul enhancing climes. BA flight 289 passed it’s 10 hours uneventfully from London to Rio over the mighty Atlantic, save Cass, who, a little smugly, pipped me at Scrabble.
Those familiar with the opening sequence of the film ‘Collateral’, where Jamie Fox drives his taxi through LA’s nighttime urban sprawl whilst Motown plays, will get a feel for our ride into Rio. Only replace the Ray Charles with Bosa Nova and make the driving slightly more erratic; the driver seeking out impossible gaps between speeding trucks accompanied by the ‘Girl from Ipanema’.
Softly lapping waves and the floodlit view of daring night surfers at the Arpoador rocks is how we were greeted on our arrival. The last hotel bar on the point between Ipanema and Copacabana beaches, with a ‘choppee’ (Brazilian beer) in hand, we toasted the start of a journey to find the most beautiful beaches from Brazil to Buenos Aires and Beyond…