Rather than bombard Facebook with all my endless posts of selfies and selfish twaddle I thought I post them here instead. I'll still be keeping friends and family informed with a daily post on FB but the majority of it is going to go here. It'll be just a personal record of my adventure so I remember some little details I might forget otherwise.
I've been planning and saving for this for over two years now and I do feel that I'm just about ready. My Portuguese is still pretty awful but compared to the only other time I was in Brazil, May 2009, it's a thousand times better. Thanks to Duolingo I have managed to learn sufficient grammar and vocabulary to understand a fair amount of what I think I will hear, as long as people speak slowly. So, one key phrase I have tried to learn is...
Por favor, você poderia falar muito lentamente para mim?
(Please could you speak very slowly for me)
I was originally hoping to see all the England games but my "follow your team" ticket application failed so that was the end of that idea. Actually, I'm quite happy with that now because it meant that I could concentrate on touring Brazil and seeing the things I wanted to see. Well almost. My itinerary has obviously been guided by the football and when I managed to get a ticket for the England v Costa Rica game in Belo Horizonte, I had to switch my plans around a bit.
I'll go through the route in detail in a future blog but suffice to say here that I'm very excited about it. A big figure of eight taking in about 80% of what I really wanted to see most including three (or maybe four) games - more on those later too.
The cost hasn't been as much as I'd feared, as I've booked all my flights and the accommodation early. About a third of my stays will be in relatively cheap Poussadas through Booking.com and half though the kindness of normal people through Air B & B. The match tickets were all reasonable too. So, hopefully the whole thing will not burn too big a hole in the bank balance.
The final thing I want to say here is a big thank you to my dearest, loveliest wife, Leb for not only letting me go and do this trip of a lifetime, but being typically positive and cheery and excited about it all. What a lucky chap I am to have such a fantastic partner in life like this.
I am already looking forward to 15th July 2014 when I arrive in San Francisco, a couple of days after the World Cup Final in Rio, and arrive at the hotel I've booked for us. Lele Jane will, I hope, already have settled in for a day or so, by the time I get there, after her annual trip to the UK. We plan to have a couple of weeks in California and then Hawaii before flying back to Australia together.
(Lithuanian possessive of "Algirdas" - which I thought sounded kind of Brazilian, but I have been told that it just sounds weird! Never mind.)