Total distance：2960.28 kms/1839.19 miles
Daily fund：200.00 gbp＋1400.00 cny
Totral fund：52,804.46 gbp＋177,195.68 cny
I am to be found in the breakfast area of our hotel in Nova Iguaçu. It is the only place I get a strong enough Wi-Fi signal to open the blog. It is hot and humid. I am tired and want to go to bed as it is a big day tomorrow/ a 25 mile slog that will take me into the centre of Rio. Xuelin is beside me firing off WeChat messages to potential donors to UNICEF. We are closing in fast on £250,000 for the finish and Xuelin is determined to make this happen and I have learnt that if Xuelin is determined, then it will happen.
Finding accommodation in Rio is a huge challenge for Xuelin–2 and 3 star hotels which were £30 per night when we were here at the end of March just before the walk are now approaching £300 per night and that is if they have availability. That’s supply and demand for you.
Out on the road the days have a certain routine to them; a starting point and a finishing point and a place to meet in the middle to have lunch in the car. We have had a lot of days like that. The past few days have been very different. We are needing to organise the Finishing Ceremony at Parque Lage on Friday. There are meetings the details of which need to be agreed well in advance such as with the IOC president and a visit to City Hall. The support car needs to go back to Chery in Sao Paulo on Friday and that leaves us with four large bags to move between hotels. Then we need to fly up to Belo Horizonte the next day which is the training centre for Team GB and also home to my son Alex with whom we will stay for a few days.
We have been in regular contact with Marcela Tavela from the British Consulate who is being a great help with arrangements for the finishing ceremony and interviews with the press. All of a sudden our routine is being unsettled. New problems emerge by the hour and new solutions need to be found. It is unsettling. I start getting worried. I hate being late–for anything. When people say can you be at X place to meet Y person at a fixed time I get worried–what happens if I take a wrong turn coming into the city and I am late? They say ‘oh that’s okay’ they’ll say, but its not because I should be early or on time, not late.
There is much debate about the route, Andre calls from O Globo and recommends sticking to the main roads 116 and 101. Marcelo from the Consulate recommends this also. Xuelin is not so sure because it is 5km longer and we have time constraints. She is recommending the R083 which is more direct and it would allow me to pass the Maracanã (Olympic) Stadium.
Coming into Nova Iguaçu I followed a more direct route by the railway line. It was an edgy walk through some difficult neighbourhoods. I can keep my head down but if I need to stop frequently to check my iPhone for the route or ask directions this just draws attention. This is not a judgement on Brazil it is just something that I have found walking into major cities in all the 22 countries I have walked through. I like to keep my head down and keep moving–in walking as in life.
I think it is a bit like flying long haul. You can go into auto-pilot occasional tweaking the dials. Then the announcement ‘cabin crew prepare for landing’ and all of a sudden bags need to go back on storage, seats upright, entertainment off and headphones handed back. There is a sense of urgency rather than a focus on comfort. The final 20 minutes seems to take 2 hours. The compensation is that very soon you will hear the wheels touch down and the roar of the engines in reverse thrust and your journey is over. I won’t need any reverse thrust to stop me in Rio, I will just need a forward thrust from Nova Iguaçu to get me there. Xuelin can normally be relied on to provide that.