BRAZIL provided a range of wonderful sights over our lengthy first stay in the country – almost as many as the plastic bags they insist on giving you for every item in shops.
Will end this trip with several thousand pictures, taken on my phone, camera on the occasions it is worth digging it out of my locker and the growing piles shared on the What’sApp group.
And that is before trawling through my travelling companions’ Facebook posts to plug any holes in my trip archives.
My collection would have been even larger were it not for several views being obscured by rain as we rolled north through Brazil.
It would have got totally out of control if my photo habits mirrored those who insist on running through the full range of approved Instagram poses.
Find something worth taking a picture of (and many things which are not) and you will see them lining up, getting their hair and clothes just right before chasing the perfect pose – heel raised, side on, hair flicked, peer over shoulder… you know the drill.
Then somebody else has a go, adding another pose which the initial model has to ape.
All while battling the growing queue – something Brazilians are not good at – and the others taking selfies around them, seemingly oblivious to other people and the scenery we are all there to see.
Chances are, once they have taken enough pictures, they will turn around and head off without taking too much, if any, time enjoying the view.
And when they look back at the pictures, they will have a shot of their face and maybe, just maybe, a small section of some stunning background in a corner of the screen. Next to a lot of sky.
The crowd at the foot of Christ the Redeemer in Rio was the most extreme case of seeking the perfect pose (followed closely by the walkway on the Brazilian side of Iguazu Falls), regardless of how many people were trying to get past and savour what they paid to experience.
Which is why we took great delight in ruining any number of Instagram pictures rather than wait for them to run through the full checklist of poses.
Two Israeli girls joined us on a trip around the natural wonders near Lencois and barely cracked a smile all day, one doing the perfect imitation of a sulky teenager dragged out for the day by her parents.
That is until a camera appeared and all of a sudden they were all smiles, heels up, hair flicked and arms thrown out into whichever of the approved poses was appropriate for the occasion.
But they come a distant second to the Brazilian couple in front of us in the queue for the lazy river at the water park near Porto Seguro.
She started taking selfies as we joined the queue, all of which filled the screen from cleavage to the top of her head. It could just as easily have been taken at home.
Then he joined in, using the phone as a mirror before both clicked away the entire time we were in the very long queue – first individually and then a few shots as a couple.
Several of which may have Lisa and myself in the background, rather ruining any Instagram post potential.
But if we thought that was it, we were sorely mistaken.
Having grabbed a figure of eight tube to drift down the ride, they sat side by side, phones in hand and proceeded to click away, right up to the point where we got fed up with them blocking the way, lost interest in ruining their pictures and basically shoved them out of the way.
Think they were too engrossed in their phones to notice.
Blocking the way is another Brazilian habit.
Not through any malice or intent, they just don’t seem to have any sense of self doubt or self awareness.
It is the same traits which have seemingly eradicated any form of body image issues, allowing them to wander around in the skimpiest of costumes – male, female, young, old, slim and not so slim – without a second thought.
My favourite is the middle-aged man rolling up the front of his T-shirt to walk around displaying his lovely paunch.
And they are the same qualities which make them oblivious to the fact the entire surrounding area does not want to listen to their pounding music all night.
We were able to tell the time at our campsite in Lencois by the 5am fireworks (although, in typical South America fashion, they were often a few minutes late) which marked the start of the morning procession through the streets by a marching band.
All that, after a full evening of religious services in which the Lord is praised at ever-rising volume before handing over to some more hedonistic musical performances, just in case you were getting a bit bored lying in bed.
Somehow we have got used to it.
Some of the time.
But you will see those traits most often in the lack of awareness of anyone around them.
Brazilians don’t seem to do single file. Why let somehow walk past you or come the other way on a narrow street when you can occupy the full width and stop every few yards for a chat?
And don’t even think about an orderly queue, they just do not exist.
The only things Brazilians appear happy to wait for is a meal. Whatever they order, whenever they order it, at least one person will wait until everyone else has almost finished before their food appears.
If it appears at all.
The only exception is a buffet when waiting is not on the agenda. Particularly on our day trip on a boat from Caravelas.
Breakfast had been a free for all, lunch even more so, the poor chef having to make more pasta for the late arrivals who had been snorkelling after several people had gone back for multiple piles.
Food – breakfast, lunch and an afternoon tea – were served on a table at one end of the boat with a bench down each side.
But afternoon tea, quite literally, took the biscuit.
Having spent much of the boat ride back sat on one of the benches, our stuff was all over it by the time the food arrived.
Briefly unattended to spread the word for those elsewhere on the boat, returned to find two Brazilian girls – one who really exemplified the lack of body image concerns when picking a swimsuit – had moved in next to (or on top of) our stuff and were intent on not moving and not letting anyone pass until they had had their fill.
Amazing the skimpy bikini bottoms survived the extra strain they were showing as she shoved past us through the queue to get off the boat.
Yet somehow, the Brazilian way has become more of an entertainment than a frustration and when in Brazil…
Well, maybe apart from the skimpy swimwear.