I've been in Brazil for four days now, and therefore am fully able to make a considered and thorough judgement of the place, and so I can say with security this: Brazil lives up, magnificently, to its cliches. Brazil is a nation of beaches, parties, skimpily-dressed beach babes, football and lazy lunch siestas, all swathed in that distinctive green, yellow and blue flag with the motto, "Ordre e Progresso", which my firm grasp of Portuguese tells me means "Order and Progression" - a motto with about as much relevance as "Sunshine and Smiles" would have to Aberdeen.
Brazil is fun, that's for sure. And I've not even dipped my toe into the fun fully, as yet, but I can sense already the swirling ocean of fun that exists here. It's winter, but it's still a lovely 25C, and cafes and bars fill with pretty people eating, drinking and gesticulating, and old men in tiny shorts power-walk up and down the beach. Everybody seems relaxed, people are helpful and friendly, and there always seems to be one eye on the next party.
I'm in Macae, a fairly small oil town about three hours drive north of Rio de Janeiro. This is where my company are based, through Halliburton, and where much of Brazil's oil industry is focused. It's nothing special, and it doesn't even rate a mention in the Lonely Planet, but it still boasts a lovely, long beach front with fine sand, and loads of decent bars and cafes overlooking the sea. The job I was supposed to be going on has been delayed to at least Saturday, thus giving me plenty of time to settle in, although most of the coming week will be spent on base. However, the work here will be light, and I did have the opportunity to have a bit of sight-seeing over the weekend, when I visited a place called Buzios.
Buzios is a small town on the coast, about an hour south of Macae. It was made famous by B. Bardot in the 1960s - which is about forty years ago. Bardot, it would seem, had some Brazilian boyfriend who acquainted her with the place, and thus granted its fame (a fame which I'd not been familiar with before the weekend, but then my knowledge of Bardot or Brazil was not extensive). Buzious is also noticeable for sounding a little similar to "Boosy Horse". I've never met a boozy horse, but I did kind of once know a boozy cow. This was a girl called Bozica I met while travelling through Croatia. Her name is actually pronounced Bo-zheet-sa, but I only got to terms with this some time later. Bozica was a girl I tried to instigate a cheap romance with, but she was having none of it and deftly deflected my manouevres and instead used me for several meetings which in retrospect I realise were excuses for practicising her English. But she was very pretty, so I forgive her for using me like this.
Anyway, that has little to do with Buzios - nothing, in fact - and has unfortunately completely shaken my train of thought. I was going to speak at great length about Buzios, perhaps describing the bays of beauty, and the beaches of brilliance, and the bars and Bardots, but you can probably just do a search on the internet and get all this stuff. Basically, I went there, had some drinks, went on a boat, ate some food, and watched with sad envy all the young, happy couples enjoying their youth in this peaceful, sunny resort. I took some photos too, which I'll end with.