I have realised that I'm a little over-dressed for Brazil.
I arrived back onshore, in Vitoria, on Tuesday. Only for a few days - in theory - while they RIH and flow, with me returning for shut-in and SRO. But with delays already established as being the done thing, I wouldn't bet against there being further delays, which means more time on the beach, doing nothing, for me. And as I'll be going home in just over a week for a two week holiday, this means my work is almost over.
All this is rather pleasing, especially as I have an apartment-style hotel room with a balcony that overlooks the long beach that this city of quarter of a million is wrapped around. The weather is an immaculate mid-20 Celcius with cool breeze and mere wisps of clouds. Beautiful people lie on the sand, or stroll by lackadaisically, wearing the slightest of trunks or bikinis, or perhaps some baggy shorts, maybe a sports vest. And therein lies the problem.
When it comes to fashion, I have never exactly been at the very vanguard of the movement. Occasionally, a girl will wear a pretty dress, and I will think “Well, isn’t that a pretty dress,” but usually my eye is caught quicker by an impractically short dress, whether nice or not. With my own dress sense, I am not much better. For years I wore mostly green, simply because it made clothes shopping quicker if I only looked for green items. Mercifully, this changed in Korea, which was very fashion-conscious and came like a bolt to the system, and with the help of some delightful ladies I purchased some “hipper” and “trendier” items. I even had a manbag! (sadly missed, as such things are forbidden in Scotland.) And just as things were beginning to get a little shabby again, my long trip to Dubai last year allowed me the opportunity to sharpen up my wardrobe once again. Make no mistake, as I stride down your street, hips swaying and pelvis all over the place, I am the smooth modern model of the young professional.
But that doesn’t cut it in Brazil. You see, I’m just not geared up for beach-life. My collared T-shirts are too tight and don’t sway in the breeze, my full-length trousers are very out of place in this shorted/trunked community (even though the large split in the crotch of one does allow for generous aeration) and are hopelessly impractical when walking through sand, but worst of all is my socks and shoes – it’s just not right. I might look ok in a bank, or a mall, or a meeting, or a bar, or an exhibition, but at the beach I’m decidedly out of place.
But never let it be said that I don’t adapt to my environment. While my usual attire, wherever I am, is the aforementioned, the need for change has been recognised, and hence a dramatic shift in policy has occurred. I already have a pair of shorts – swimming shorts that are long and baggy enough for beach shorts – but I did the unthinkable yesterday and bought my first ever pair of flip-flops. And then I wore them. Sockless, I walked out of the hotel and onto the beach, and became one of the beautiful people, strolling along the sin-kissed shores, waves lapping vigorously as the water submerged my toes. For up to an hour I strolled before it all got a bit too much for me and I had to return to the hotel.
But it’s a start. I’m not by nature a shorts-and-flip-flops man, but after a month in Brazil the surroundings are having an effect on me. This is just the first step – soon I’ll be going samba crazy, playing beach volleyball, and doing capoeira on rooftops. Oh, and mugging tourists at gunpoint, of course.