(Meaning: “What a beauitful horizon” – uttered by Pope John Paul II in 1980 regarding the view over Belo Horizonte, Minas Gerais, Brazil.)
Analysts have noticed a worrying trend in recent weeks. Their findings are thus:
Number of hitching days:
Week Twelve: Four
Week Thirteen: Two
Week Fourteen: Two
Week Fifteen: One-and-a-bit
The prospects for next week are not strong.
What happened was this. First of all, we were put in touch with our friend’s mum’s friend (keeping up?) in Belo Horizonte, just down the road from where we stayed last weekend. Olga, the lady in question, and her son Bruno invited us to stay, so we did.
Here we were incorporated wholeheartedly into their group of friends and family and enjoyed a wonderful football- and music-filled couple of days. Thanks go to Fernando, Poli, Galvon, Daullery and Diego, to name but a few, for making us feel so welcome.
This was all in lieu of going to watch England vs. Costa Rica live at the stadium in Belo Horizonte. OK, let’s be honest, the game wasn’t the most exciting, but it was very cool to be there. The England fans even failed to react as the Brazilians around us jeered, repeatedly and rather aggressively, “Hey, eliminado!” – the equivalent of, “See you later, losers!” We suspect this is because most English football fans have rather limited second language horizons. Just as well.
Whether it was due to not having enough people to help analyse the tactics of the England manager, or because of something else altogether, Steve’s health took a sharp and unpleasant turn for the worse early on Wednesday morning. His horizons shrunk rapidly to the short distance between bathroom and bedroom as his body enthusiastically rid itself of all contents. No indeed, not pleasant.
Thankfully Steve was on the mend by Thursday and ready to go on Friday, though this interlude extended our stay in BH to longer than intended. It was sorely tempting to accept Bruno’s invitation of a night with the mates in a country house yonder, but we reminded ourselves that Alaska is still a long way away and our new 30-day visas are already 10 days through.
With this in mind, then, when Daniel and Sandra pulled over five minutes into our first hitching attempt of the week and explained that they were travelling 1000km in a different direction to the one we were planning to go in, we decided to accompany them.
You don’t seem surprised.
The past couple of days we have been exploring a part of Brazil we didn’t think we would get to see – specifically, the northeast. Here, everything is different… again: it feels like Africa, with tropical trees aplenty, red earth, vast mountain vistas: more beautiful horizons.
Total number of lifts: 118
Week Fifteen distance travelled: 1062 km
Total distance travelled: 15,559 km
Hours of football watched: Not quite as many.
Hours of Wimbledon watched: None, alas.