So another week down, and another post! You’re being treated, I’ve not done two posts in a week for a while!
So last week I posted on the first day of competition of the Paralympics, having seen a packed Velodrome and a triumphant UK. Since then, the UK’s triumphs have certainly continued with an amazing performance!
The park saw its busiest day of the whole Games, even more than the Olympics in terms of the number of entries! So the fears of minimal ticket sales haven’t come true – there have been some events with empty seats, but certainly nothing worse than the Olympics. Tomorrow I’m going to see the Wheelchair Basketball finals – unfortunately Team GB lost against the USA today, so will be competing in the early Bronze medal match, so hopefully I’ll still get to see them on the podium. Now we have just 3 days left until it all comes to an end, the culmination of 4 years of work for me, and 7+ for some! An amazing adventure, with lots of unexpected turns, problems, successes and in the end the delivery of a wonderful 4 weeks of sport.
Since my last post, 41 boxes have left my apartment and are on their way to a ship somewhere (via a lengthy exit customs process), on their way back to Europe. Apparently it takes around 30 days to clear customs here, before it’ll go on to an available ship back to Europe. My apartment feels a little empty, although still has all the essential furniture. My cat does seem a little bit lost – especially since her special cosy place (sat on top of the AV amplifier in the TV cabinet) has disappeared. She hasn’t found a suitably warm alternate yet I think.
The process of leaving Brazil is in full swing, from the complexities of closing work contracts (and something called homologation, where you have to attend the union to say you are happy with your exit), sorting out taxation, closing / registration as non-resident on bank accounts… All quite complicated, and not helped by a bank strike.
Even moving out of an apartment here is complicated in comparison to the UK… Today I had my apartment inspection, and it is quite odd to me what I am responsible to do that would normally be put down to just wear and tear. For instance a standard clause of repainting the apartment, even though in the most part it is fine, and a couple of marks that would just be taken as wear and tear for me; dry cleaning the sofa etc.
One good news is at least I know where I am going now – my contract for an apartment in London is signed! We are very much looking forward to moving back to London, but leaving Brazil does have some mixed feelings after so long here and so many new friends.
One week, two days to go and I’ll be sat on a plane (almost exactly right now in fact). And poor Cookie the cat in the hold for 11 hours.
So my promise to post more regularly…. seems to have taken me 4 months to get to this post! And it has been a very busy and hectic four months indeed, both with work and personally. But that’s not my excuse for not posting!
I’m having a nice postponed weekend of Monday and Tuesday off, as we are in the heart of Test Events for Rio2016 right now, meaning I end up working some odd days and hours. I do like having midweek days off sometimes, it can be a lot quieter to get things done than weekends.
In more recent memory, August has had the most fantastic spell of weather, with only around 2 or 3 evenings with some light rain. Other than that, it has been a beautiful 25-30 every day. However the drought situation, in São Paulo especially, hasn’t gone away; there is a desperate need for lots of rainfall. It’s been spoken about for months, even years, about how bad the situation is. In Rio, although there have been some warnings, the situation is not as drastic. I understand they have rolling water outages in some areas of São Paulo, with people getting up at the very early hours to collect buckets of water as water isn’t flowing during the day. And of course, when the majority of the electricity comes from hydroelectric power, that means power outages too.
At home, we are now the proud owners of a new sofa!! I wish I had done this long ago – truly live transforming to have a big comfortable recliner sofa in front of the TV:) We had the sofa that came with the apartment as the back of the room, and a bean bag chair and a couple of dining chairs at the front to watch TV – not the most comfortable arrangement always, especially with any guests round. With the decline of the Real against the Pound, it does make some things here now far more affordable. Indeed, even imported goods now don’t always seem extortionate! At last check, it had reached 5.5 R$ to the £… From 2.9 when we arrived here in 2012…
Of course for someone paid in Reals, it doesn’t make a difference to the costs here, but for someone whose salary is based in Euros, Dollars, Pounds etc, it makes the city seem far more affordable all of a sudden. Unfortunately, the other way round is also true – Brazilians going abroad now are having holidays costing a hell of a lot more than a few years ago. I’ve heard that some of the airlines are cutting down their frequency of flights to the US, as they just aren’t getting the passengers right now because against the dollar, it has moved similarly from just above 2 to around 4 dollars to the Real now.
This month saw 1 year to go onto the Olympics, and at the rate this year is flying by, it really won’t be long until we get there! Although for sure there is a lot of work to be done still, progress in some areas is picking up, and there are some good signs out there. One of my biggest worries is the metro extension to Barra. There has already been some noises about this not being ready on time, and if it is not ready for the start of the Games, getting to the Olympic Park would be a nightmare. Even with the extension, it won’t be easy – a metro followed by a bus (BRT – big bendy busses running in private lanes). Without it…. it would be chaos for sure.
In front of my apartment I have a new station being built, that actually looks to be making good progress now (although very late from when I first moved here and it was expected to be done). The station entrances are up, but there is still lots of heavy construction going on – who knows what is underground! Further down the road however at the location of the next station, or some of the areas where they are doing work above ground, I really can’t see any change above ground in the last year really… And this is only in the first 4km of the extension. For some odd reason, there are only putting one single stop then in São Conrado, and then another in Barra. There for sure is plenty of work going on in Barra, and with it being several months sometimes between when I go that way, I can see big changes each time I do go.
What I haven’t seen any news on lately is where the tunnel is, which was heavily set back by subsidence in Ipanema when they first started tunnelling. The surveyors are there every day measuring still, although actually I have seen them less in the last month it seems, so perhaps the tunnel is now past us and moving on?
Owning a cat is always an adventure! Only one major breakage so far (a lamp)… And trying hard to make sure the sofa remains scratch free. She does like sitting on it… taking up the largest seat for herself of course!
Oh… and I smashed my rather nice Riedel swan neck decanter…. we moved it to keep it safe from the decorators who were in and the cat, and then I broke it forgotten where it was… And then last night I also cracked my oldest decanter, which although cheap (I think €10 or 15 from 2004!), it had survived a lot of journeys and a hell of a lot of wine through it! But a slight knock had a crack spread unfortunately. So now no decanters… But, as it has been pointed out to me, these are just material things, which even if the exact one cannot be replaced, the role it serves can easily be replaced. This is not true of everything. So, taking advantage of the exchange rate, Riedel glass wear is far cheaper in Brazil right now than in the UK! So time to build a new collection, and hope it survives shipment back to the UK!
Let’s see how long it takes me to post next time… Hopefully not another 4 month gap!
So Friday was an unexpected productive day!
Firstly I collected my CTPS from the Ministry of Labour. It really is like a little passport… for jobs… Which means I’m now able to get my contract here!
And then a very unexpected surprise! I have a bank account!! My company provided us with a letter to take with their partner bank, and with that I managed to open an account with Santander (not my first choice, but it’s who we work with apparently).
Unfortunately my apartment hasn’t come through yet… still in the process of legal wranglings, so hopefully still on for next weekend.
So went apartment hunting yesterday.
Some good, some bad, some ugly!
One fantastic which I have put an offer on which has been accepted! So fingers crossed that things go ok… If everything goes to plan, will be moving in a little over 2 weeks… But plenty of space for things to go wrong still!!
So on Monday we had a company take us round Rio on a so called familiarisation tour.
We saw various areas, a couple of apartments for rent… And now I’m as confused as ever on where to live! Rio has a lot of nice areas. The key decision is against living closer to work in a cheaper area potentially, or living further away in either more busy areas, or quiet residential areas…
Right now I very much liked anywhere around Lagoa, with a couple of places close to the metro being ideal. Except for the Ipanema metro being closed for most of 2013!
Decisions decisions…. But all quiet irrelevant without a visa!! I don’t want to start looking, find a great place to see it go before I’m in a position to rent…. At the same time, it might still be there a month or two later… Places look to stay on the market for a few weeks normally here, with longer periods being empty than London.
And empty means empty. Nothing at all in an unfurnished apartment generally… Need to buy cooker, fridge, washer, sofa, bed, mattress… Maybe even wardrobes in some places.
Back to the UK in 2 days for Christmas. I think I shall miss the weather heading back to near freezing temperatures!