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Brian Bates had an eventful day.  On arrival in Salvador he contacted Marlon Machado and arranged to meet at McDonalds in the main shopping centre in the centre of Salvador.  In the town centre Brian found McDonalds and assumed this was the only one.  Both Marlon and Brian sat at different McDonalds for some 2 hours.  Eventually Marlon went home and Brian contacted him again and arranged that Marlon would find Brian in his car on the road to the Airport.

Brian’s car had its hazard flashers on and was parked opposite a bar.  Two men walked up to the car.  One pulled a gun and said in Portuguese something along the lines of ‘ Give me your money and your car keys’.  Brian put his hands up and replied in Spanish ‘ I have no money – I don’t understand’.  The gunman nervously signaled for Brian to put his hands down, but every time that the gun appeared, Brian’s hands would automatically go up.

[Brian now takes over the story:] ‘After 10 minutes of stalemate, they got bored and considered the danger of prolonged staying on a very wide and busy highway. They eventually spoke amongst themselves and shook me by the hand and just walked away. By this time, I was in shock and shaking. I only had $100 bills and the bar couldn’t change them. I phoned Marlon and told him where I was. He duly arrived with his friend-with-a-car. I asked them to buy me a beer to help calm my nerves. I needed something stronger. Marlon suggested that I didn’t have enough information to allow the police to catch them, so I didn’t report the incident to the police. We all drove to the airport and awaited Keith & Paul’s arrival around midnight.’

Keith Grantham and I arrived on our flight from Lisbon, Portugal, as planned. As we had never met Marlon, I had promised to wear a bright orange T-shirt, a replica of the shirt worn by the Dutch team in the 1998 World Cup Soccer tournement. That should stand out in a crowd! … except that around the same time that we arrived, two jumbo jets full of Dutch football supporters arrived for a soccer tournement. As a result I was just one of some 400 peop-le wearing the famous Oranje strip. Fortunately Brian knew us, so we met up without any further problems.

In the southern hemisphere it is really ‘winter’, i.e. 12 May is ‘really’ our 12 November – but when we stepped off the plane at midnight the temperature was 25C! The UK concept of four seasons does not seem to exist, at least not in terms of day length or temperatures.

We arrived safely at a hotel that Marlon had arranged for us in Salvador and were glad to see our beds.

At midday the next day the temperature in the shade was 36C.  I explained the concept of a British summer – 3 consecutive hot days.  He understood immediately – just like a Brazilian winter: 3 consecutive days of cool weather.

[PS: Thanks to Brian Bates for augmenting my minimanilst notes some 14 years after the event]

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