My mother and I explored Sao Paulo: the art galleries, meeting a princess, seeing one snake eat another at the zoo, flying kites. At the weekends we went with my father for walks through the coffee plantations, got lost in far away hillsides and discovered the coast, empty, crashing and beautiful. I couldn’t swim and the sea terrified me.
During the school holidays my three brothers arrived back from their boarding schools in Britain and we went to the jungle; the place of huge iridescent butterflies, big army ants, and large flapping rubber trees. We walked for miles, my father sweating ahead of us, skipping about this warm and pungent Eden. Our car broke down, in the mud, or because of a rock crashing through it’s underbelly, once the carburettor gave way. We stayed in graceful hotels which smelt of wood and polish and where we had papaya and water melon for breakfast.
I remember the torrential rain, car crashes like I have never seen since, the gaiety of a circus, my first helium balloon, and my parents: always there, every constant and loving in this wild and wonderful land.