Feeling very pleased on GCSE results day 2016

​The results have come in and my students have all passed! A few even did even better than I could have predicted given the level of work they achieved at school. So I’m pleased and happy for them and myself!

One A star super star

Three amazing A’s

Ten brilliant B’s

Eleven capable and committed C’s

Eleven dedicated D’s and

Eight excellent E’s.

Flash back to post Pantanal relaxing …

With some hiking. Okay a lot of hiking! Google has usefully created an album of my best pics from the beautiful region of Chapada de Guimaraes from the beginning of my trip. Check it out below… Also have a look at my very attractive leg wear – to protect from snakes! 

I wouldn’t have volunteered to go hiking for several days but as my options in the city weren’t great, I thought it would be a good opportunity to see somewhere I wouldn’t usually be able to go. 

It turned out to be one of the highlights of my trip as it was like a lovely weekend away. The weather was good, the scenery was gorgeous and unique and we just relaxed in the small square in the evenings. Oh and on the first night we arrived there was a live music festival! 


Praia do forte, Salvador

I’ve had a delightful day today starting with peering into rock pools- it’s like a miniscule, beautiful universe with so many tiny electric blue fishes, 100s of crabs including the fine gentleman below and I touched what I think is some type of huge sea slug?! It felt really smooth lol.

This was followed by watching lots of capoiera, the most I’ve seen in fact. There was a quaint, white and blue church in the background as children, teens and adults had their practice in the open air with the sun above them and the sea to their right. It was really lovely to see everyone practicing together and the open air seemed so right. 

I’ve had some great food including some amazing graviola and passionfruit ice cream and lots of sushi that I couldn’t even finish!

As I’m on my hols I had a cheeky beer on the beach, yes I have learned to drink beer from my french travelling companion lol. I then visited the Tamar turtle sanctuary. It’s undeniable that the work they do is necessary but I felt a bit sad for the turtles to be in that environment instead of their natural one. Do you think you can swim with turtles? I think I’d like to!
Back to the city tomorrow but then it’s on to my final destination- Rio de Janiero!

Nb- Brazil are playing Germany and just scored and so everyone in the bar next door are going nuts!!!!

An afternoon at the museu de modern arte, Salvador

I had a really nice afternoon venturing out on my own into the city to find the museum of modern art, wandering into churches and treating myself to pancake. I’ve been writing more since travelling and here is what I wrote today: 

I find myself at the edge of the water,
sitting in the sun,
Where high rises overlook pink, yellow and green rundown houses,
Built into the side of the motorway, above the sea.
Teenagers float in the pale, turquoise of the water.
It’s the day my legs become a mystery to me in their new smoothness.

It is a Tuesday afternoon in Salvador,
The police are a regular sight,
Couple’s kiss and pose by the sunlit sea,
While well turned out women are being pulled somewhere.
Curly haired boys sing snatches of songs I don’t understand,
while street vendors play Marilina Mendoca,
that song of longing, heartache and Brazil.

I often think of you like this.
Wishing you were here to lean against,
To kiss your cheek.
To feel your arm around my shoulder.
Should I have kissed you more?
To make up for all the times,
I’d want to,
but be too far;
too confused;
and too uncertain of everything.
Except my name,
my fears and
the hair removed to symbolise my attractiveness.
Clippings of fingernails,
Curved moons of eyebrow hair,
Straight,stubbly,shiny hair of legs,
Rinsed down plugholes, emptied into bins and flicked into nowhere-ness.

The blue tourist bus moves through the city above on the ridge,
More teenagers jump fearlessly into the water,
The well dressed ladies glide past again on their jaunt.
The guards come to watch lasciviously or
maybe to break the monotony the teens that grow in number,
The boys swim out to a tethered yellow boat,
Calling the others to join them.
I sweat,
My carefully washed hair now piled in a messy bundle at my nape.
I speak little Portuguese and,
I’m thousands of miles from anyone who knows my heart.

It is ten past three,
the clouds have dimmed the 100 watt beam of the sun.
I walk past a crumbling building,
Three brown skinned men in navy blue t-shirts,
stand in three empty window frames each 7 feet high on the top floor,
Looking down.

It’s now four thirty,
by night fall we’ll follow the drums in the cobbled streets,
Dancing until we no longer know our name’s,
our fears,
or our uncertainties.

Sunny times in Salvador

So I’m in Salvador which I am really enjoying. The quaint, cobbled streets of Pelourinho are touristy but also perfect. It’s much calmer now the weekend is over. I love the coloured, colonial building’s; the weather is balmy after the intense heat of Manaus and I finally got to a beach!

 There is music everywhere especially at the weekend. You can hear it leaking from the churches and in the streets both from samba bands and pouring from bars. ​I am going to hang out here until I go to Rio next week or at least until I get bored. 

Jaguar hunting in the Pantanal

So unfortunately most of my flights in Brazil are at 6.12am which means I need to get up at 4am. Painful. So having resisted uber in London I was told the best way to get to the airport was to take an uber. So I did and arrived in Cuiaba at 8.15. The hostel sent a taxi which was great and soon I was discussing a tour to go on. The next day. Rule number one- don’t make a decision when tired! 

To cut a long story short- I decided to take the tour as the hostel had persuaded me this was the best option and also a french guy staying in the hostel was also going. I think I got a little bit ripped off in retrospect but the tour was still a great experience.

 Arriving in the transpanteira- the highway to the Pantanal was a highlight. Our driver pulled over and showed us the baby caiman in the bushes; kingfisher’s diving among the caiman; the statuesque toyouyou phonetic spelling) which is the largest bird in the Pantanal.

We arrived in the pousada where we would be staying for the next few days. I went horseriding and my horse wouldn’t move lol. We went hiking in the forest and saw capucine monkeys. The sunsets were beautiful both amber and azure and as for the stars at night. Well there is something to be said for being in the middle of nowhere! We saw sunrise over the forest from a tower taller than the tree’s.

We then travelled further north to Porto Joffre which is jaguar country. I have to say I’d completely underestimated how much water there would be in this part of the trip. I have a phobia of water as some of you may know and was unprepared for having to challenge this fear so soon. I was up at 5am, my mind whirring as I tried to make a decision, trying to master my fear and panic. This would be the smallest boat I’d been on and on quite a large river. I decided to try. And I succeeded. We went on the look for jaguar’s and seeing on the way river otters, water pigs; had the surreal experience of floating through and once over caiman; fished for piranhas 10 meters away from caiman and finally, finally, got to see a female jaguar walking out of the forest and taking a brief dip in the river before disappearing back into the forest. It is totally addictive seeing these creatures in the wild and the huge telescopic lenses of the tourists on the other river boats is testament to this.

Sao Paulo

I arrived exhausted in this huge, bustling city but managed to get a cab to the hostel and survive the day despite not having much sleep. The hostel was great, especially the breakfast and the staff who were lovely and who really helped when I realised I’d left my contact lenses at home and had to buy new ones, locating and calling the opticians for me.

Highlights were the hostel, people were really friendly; the Museu Artas Sao Paulo (MASP) which was free the day I went and had a great collection; the tranquil Trianon park across the road and the happy kissing teenage gay couples that I haven’t seen in any other city. Oh and I went for some excellent sushi on my last night. ​In all a great start to my Brazilian adventure but I’m not really here for Sao Paulo.

My next stop is Cuiaba for the Pantanal. The Pantanal is a huge wetland where many animals including the elusive jaguar roam. I’ll be spending a week there, heading north to the state of Mato Grosso.