The vessel I was working on at Singapore was bound for Brazil and before being commissioned offshore it had the final yard commissioning at the Keppel yard in Brazil about 100 miles south of Rio De Janeiro in Angra Dos Reis, with some spectacular views along it’s fjord like coast line. Another small town with not much to do, the hotel was good I just ate there. There was a small shopping centre next to the hotel and a beach round the bay but looking up the hill side you can see the surrounding poverty with very basic dwellings. Walking about was safe enough but the advice is that if you find yourself walking up hill turn round! Along the beach there were people playing football and volleyball and it was quite relaxed, not that I had much time for relaxing though! I did have one day that I wasn’t required on site and had planned to go on a sightseeing trip round the islands. I had booked the trip at reception then within about 15 minutes got a text to say that I might be required and would be on standby, there goes the sightseeing trip. I managed to cancel and worked on my report by the pool and needless to say was not called upon.. A wee walk around but I couldn’t find a wooden spoon for Emma, for those that don’t know Emma collects wooden spoons.
The vessel was then transferred to the field and I attended the final offshore commissioning, this was another trip to Brazil further north though to Vitoria about an hour’s flight from Rio De Janeiro. I arrived at the airport and it was a short walk across the car park to the heliport and headed offshore. Sitting in the coffee room, the telly was on a music channel, I wasn’t paying much attention then recognised the stage, just travelled 5000 miles from the Isle of Wight to watch the Isle of Wight festival on the telly. On returning to Vitoria from the vessel I had a couple of days before my flight home. Vitoria is a fairly large town with lots of hotels along the sea front. I was there on the Sunday and it seems that the thing to do was walk, cycle or roller blade along the promenade. So as they say when in Rome, I took a walk along. It was a very pleasant walk along the promenade with a number of street vendors selling some much required, refreshing, freshly pressed coconut water. There was a pier with several guys fishing next to a statue that provides good fortune to the fisher men. Further along the promenade there was a number of outdoor gym areas. Personally I couldn’t imagine jogging and working out in the intense heat but maybe it isn’t quite so hot when you are used to it. I then came across my dingy and time for a wee beer on the beach. Along the sea front Vitoria appears to be quite affluent with a relaxed atmosphere, people going about enjoying the weekend, just slightly away from the sea front there was a number of high end shops and a modern shopping centre, I was there in November and along at the shopping centre there was a big Santa waving with his red coat, hat and gloves. Seemed strange walking in the sweltering heat and seeing Santa all wrapped up. No not the real one or even one of his real helpers but a larger than life model. On another visit however I had to go to the federal police to get my works visa stamped. I was picked up by the taxi firm and along the journey to the police office it was quite a different story and just a few roads back from the sea front it is clear that the town isn’t as affluent as first appeared maybe not quite as poor as Angra but a stark difference all the same, I wouldn’t be as comfortable walking around this area as I was along the sea front.
I have flown into Vitoria three times in total, twice for offshore trips and both having some time to relax and enjoy some time on the beach. The third time I met up with a team from a Brazilian company that we did work with and we travelled further north for about an hour, I can’t remember where but this was for an onshore commissioning job. The town that we stayed in was less affluent than the sea front of Vitoria but there didn’t appear to be the vast contrast between the rich and poor that I have seen before. At lunch time we headed to a road side café with a large salad bar and grill, just fill your plate up and pay by weight. Weight of the plate of food that is just in case you were wondering! Working with the team, I didn’t have any Portugese and only one of them spoke some English but this didn’t hinder us and we were able to communicate quite easily.
In all I have been in Brazil four times and didn’t manage to see a samba band once.
Continuing to live my dreams