The Stainless Steel Rat's LiveJournal

The Rat who is made of Stainless Steel


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So it was a typical flight, albeit exacerbated by the number of bags and Amélie.

As per usual Guarulhos airport car park was a nightmare. Every time we go there it's full, so it requires half an hour of going round and round trying to find a space (very much like parking in a Brazilian shopping centre in busy periods). You think they would do something about it.

Check-in was straightforward (got to love Brazil for being able to skip queues if you're an OAP, or disabled, or with young children). We did the usual somewhat-stressful-hanging-around-and-getting-a-drink-while-delaying-going-through-passport-control-as-long-as-possible thing, which I find rather frustrating. Lu's Mum was in tears, which I inevitably find really sad.

Once through passport control and security we had about half an hour before we boarded. Amélie was getting really upset while waiting at the gate, to the point where Lu at least was at the end of her tether. It was really late which didn't help, so I suspect it was just tiredness on Amélie's part. Amélie started to feed while we were at the gate, but amazingly didn't go crazy when she had to stop so we could board.

The flight was mostly just tiring. The problem with the flight back is that it leaves much later than the flight to Brazil, at around midnight. With the clocks going forward 2 hours this means the flight arrives around 1-2pm UK time, so the flight is theoretically part night, part day. The way they run the flight though is a bit nonsensical, with dinner served around 2am UK time, and then breakfast around 11am.

TAM were great as per usual, and asked the person in our row if they minded moving as they had spare seats elsewhere. This meant we got a row of three to ourselves, and somewhere for Amélie to sleep. It's a shame they don't carry a big block of foam that can be wedged down in front of the seat, to turn the entire space into a level platform.

Amélie ended up sleeping quickly, and for around 8 hours, although I really struggled to get to sleep. I had restless legs, but not as bad as I have historically (sorry fashion police, but it's going to be chav-y tracksuit bottoms from this point forward). Lu had it worse than me though, as she was having to keep an eye on Amélie as she moved while sleeping. I know I was awake until around 4am UK time, and then slept until around 9am. I then slept on and off until we landed, yet managed to squeeze two films in (reviews next, if I remember).

The worst of it was at Heathrow. We got off the plane and through passport control reasonably quickly, but with so many suitcases I ended up with two luggage trolleys (not sure how I managed to use just one in Brazil). This meant I was like an oil tanker captain, trying to get the damn things to both go in the same direction, predict bends etc.

We got to the place for Purple Parking (Southall) to pick us up, and there were two drivers waiting there. Neither offered to help although I was clearly struggling with the trolleys. Then when the bus arrived to pick us up I couldn't find the ticket for the car, although I'd had it earlier. The driver was extremely sarcastic, and said we'd have to get a taxi if he took us to the wrong car park. I had the booking code though, so he must have been able to check. Just before we got on the bus I found the ticket anyway. We were then dumped unceremoniously at the other end, with our cases left in the road of the car park. These are the last things you need after 12+ hours of travelling.

The drive back home was easy though, and it was lovely to be on clear well built roads. We stopped at the local Tesco Express for some essentials, and then it was good just to be home. I tried to hang on as long as possible, but ended up napping between 6-8pm. I woke up feeling like I wanted to throw up, but managed to avoid it. I've managed to unpack all my cases and have a shower (oh how great to have a power shower again!).

And that's about it. Amélie has just asked to go to bed, which could have been worse (assuming she sleeps). Lu is shattered, so I'm guessing she'll go to sleep soon as well. So much for that idea, they're both back downstairs.

I'm off to Farnborough tomorrow at some point to get some trainers, seeing as Brazil proved so expensive.

In other news...

Amélie seemed to distinguish colours this evening. Not the first time, but she was "playing" a game on the iPad with coloured bricks. I pointed out green and yellow bricks, and then she proceeded to select them several times when I referred to each colour.

Her vocabulary continues to grow and grow, but it's hard to know how much she takes in versus words she just repeats once or twice. The armchair scientist in me has toyed with the idea of writing down the words she says in a day, but equally life is short. Her knowledge of Portuguese grew dramatically, and she'll say "apagou" when a light turns off, and "caiu" when something falls, "Pad" for iPad, among many other words. As per the video below, she can count to ten in Portuguese (and English, albeit not on the video).


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