1, Arrived - knackered. Taxi to airport. No-one expecting me, 3 hr negotiation in Portuguese!? Got a room, unpacked, slept, ate, slept, attempted speed learning of entire Portuguese language - met the coordinator of electives etc, now chilled. Plan get my white coat & explore town
2. So, I met a really nice guy on the plane who gave me some advice re: rio - very useful. He approved of my new watch (ie it wouldn´t be sold at asda). Negotiated my way to the hospital (not easy as I wasn´t entirely sure where it was)... Managed to sweet talk my way through secruity and to reception - ahh, at least this bit would be easy.... I explained who I was and what I wanted... silence. I tried several times, blank expresions and then a speedy torrent of portuguese - which I gathered meant - computer says no, come back on monday. Err...
Decided to employ the age old trick of lost, confused, tired Englishman - all of which was correct (now been travelling for 36 hrs +) And then got told to sit down and wait. An hour passed, and an entirely new person came, cue exactly the same situation, b*****. However, she was a lot more patient with my portuguese and I whipped out my printouts of all the emails I had with the elective guru over here and this created a storm - much shouting and lots of new people coming and staring at me either inquisitively or angrily... I went with inquisitively. Another hour, the Dr that I am due to be placed with was on the phone and told me in perfect English - he had no clue who i was and why I was here, at one point he said - ´who arrives on a saturday?´ Brilliant!! But he was lovely and started getting things moving. An hour later, I was told that the dean was arriving... whoops - have I caused some kind of poilitical nightmare?? I wasn´t too worried til he started showing me round HIS hospital... I thought that was a bit possessive - until I saw his name tag... Prof Fraga... the name of the hospital i´m at is Clementino Fraga Filho - his grandad set it up, so it is HIS hospital. Anyway he was lovely and sorted me out with a nice room, en suite don´t you know & free meals - I did try to explain the free meals part may be going too far!! I can eat!
Anyway got settled in and have been desperately trying to improve my portuguese/ medical portuguese. I was told not to go out of the hospital (as we´re pretty much hemmed in by flavelas - if mum reads this far, these are botanical gardens and should not be confused with drug/violence touting ghetto-shanty towns). So, despite being tempted to leave - i decided descretion....
Today - I´ve met most of the staff and they´ve all been really kind, helped me loads, being really patient and I´ve just met the student coordinator for electives - whose really nice and speaks good english. So, the plan is to head to Rio on ´the safe bus´- i liked the sound of that one - pick up some supplies and explore - in time to be back before dark...
Ate logo - Tom
PS I can see sugar loaf mountain (in the pic - it looks: well, like a sugar loaf) from my balcony!!