Bye bye November

And so another December rolls along. My 49th, in fact, as in January I will turn 50 – a most unfortunate condition, and not one I ever thought would come to pass. Still, as someone once said, the alternative is worse.

November has been a very busy month, and when we totted up the pennies we were about R$1500 better off than at the end of October. Unfortunately the death of the swimming pool pump, the washing machine and our fixed internet connection cost us R$1449.50. So our profit for the period, which no doubt the sharper among you have already calculated, was R$50.50. An achievement, nonetheless, I think.

After the extreme frustration of our ludicrous internet and telephone connections during October, we now have one of these mobile-phone internet connections. Still crap, but at least it seems reliably crap (so far). So I can get back to my cyber work and my constantly interrupted correspondence (and of course, the blog).

On the subject of the blog, words of encouragement from an excellent blogger were warmly and gratefully received (see recent comments, if you can – I can’t – and the blogroll). So I’m back scribbling again. And I have some photos (well, they’re not actually to hand, but I’ll post them up tomorrow). One is of an insect the gardener found the other day and – for once – didn’t kill. On the other hand, I’m not sure who would have come off best in a fight, since insect and gardener were roughly the same size. Okay, some hyberbole there, but really this thing was humungous – so large, in fact, that after photographing it, I rushed off (on?) to the internet and just typed in “largest beetle”. Back came a long list of references to what is, without doubt, a rather magnificent example of Titanus Giganteus. I measured it at just over 8 inches from feeler to arse. Amazing. And to think it can fly, too. I Mean, it’s almost the size of a microlight. You really don’t want one of these things hitting your windscreen at 40 miles an hour – or even hitting your head at 1 mph, come to that…

Naice is nearing the end of her first term at University now, and hopefully will stop tearing her hair out soon. I think term finishes on 12th of December, so then we can relax (well, concentrate on the guests) for a couple of months. Since no one is coming to visit us over Christmas/New Year (other than paying guests), we’ll have to make our own fun, so we’re still thinking about where we might go for a few days. A nice Dutch guy who lives up the road and has just been made Finance Director for one of the big jungle lodges has invited us to stay at the lodge sometime, so at the moment this looks like the favourite. Otherwise we’ll probably head up to Barcelos at some stage.

Speaking of the Dutch, I have to say they are amongst the nicest guests we receive here. Our very first guest was Ducthman Leen Deurloo in February 2008, who stayed with us for quite a while in between travelling up and down the Negro and the Amazon, and we still miss him! Since then we’ve had a fairly steady stream from “The Underlands”, as Holland is called in Portuguese. And today I took a nice Dutch couple out for a trip to the meeting of the waters, and we had a great time. Everything went perfectly, and as if on cue, while we were bobbing about on the dividing line between the rivers, a pink dolphin surfaced not 2m from the boat. You don’t get that sort of service with any old boat operator you know.

Next week, we’re going to chase up the adoption papers, which should be ready by now, and I need to organise my next GPS Course intake for next Friday/Saturday. We also have a couple coming from the UK (hooray!) on Wednesday, and Naice has her end of term exams. I’m also putting the finishing touches to my Christmas Pub Quiz, which is now set for 13th December at Chopp Fun in downtown Manaus. It could be a total disaster, but it has to be worth a try. And I’ve an old friend coming down from Boa Vista to give me a hand with this. I’ll let you know how it goes.

So generally life is fine for us, as we hope it is with all of you (sorry – getting sentimental in my old age). Au revoir.

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