“flight 0092 – report to CIA………….”, Sao Paulo, March 31st, 2011

The change of mood I had to go through on March 17th, 2011, 7:28 am I do not wish to happen to my biggest enemy. Some have experienced it, mostly so much worse than me. Imagine you are standing at Sao Paulo international airport waiting for a loved one. The board shows all the flight coming in with the relevant comments on the right. These usually follow the sequence of “expected”, “landing” or “landed” and “deplaning”. Now all flights in front of yours are taking this rhythm but yours remains on “expected”. So far so good. Then the flights expected after yours are starting to turn into “landed” while yours remains on “expected” with an indicated landing 30 minutes ago. You start to get nervous. Then, bam, the board of comment of flight 0092 switches to “report to CIA”. In that moment you experience adrenalin rush that not even sky diving can top, especially as it is a negative one. You try to stay cool, relaxed. Soft knees walk you to the info desk of a very big international airport but the English of that young lady is not sufficient to make you feel better. “Everything ok” she tries to tell you but she can not explain what “report to CIA” stands for.

Long story short and worst case turns into happiness. About 3 minutes later it switches to “landing” soon after to “deplaning” and at 7:52am Angi walks out of customs. I also learn later that “report to CIA” means something like the pilot must report to the tower as he needs to fly waiting turns. Well, thanks for the adrenalin -- I won’t be tired for the next 5 weeks.

Sao Paulo has not really used the 2 days we have given it. Even the tourist guide has trouble listing more than 2 places worth visiting in a town of 17 million. But who cares, I am with Angi. We then fly to Iguaçu, the famous waterfalls. Two full days, one on each side (Argentina and Brasil) with perfect weather but again a sad reminder how vulnerable life is. One of the fun boats going underneath the falls flips, 2 tourists from the US die, the first time ever, such an accidents occurs here. Also interesting, that the Brazilians do not stop their fun boat tours, in fact, on Brazilian TV they show special reports about the safety measures they take and so on. Competition for tourist has no limits and no morals.

Even the massive Itaipu dam attracts tourists. When built it costs thousands of people their homes, millions of animals their land and the river its natural flow. On the other hand it’s comparatively clean energy and the video as well as the tour make me believe the engineers really try hard to preserve nature. Even a small river aside was built for the fish to go upstream as they used to for millions of years. I do not know enough to make a judgment if such mega projects are good or not but I do appreciate the tour in order to see myself what has been done.

Since I was here (Iguaçu and Argentina) 12 years ago not only prices have changed. Also budget airlines have jumped out of the ground and so we fly again.  Web jet takes us to Curitiba cheaper than a bus could ever do. Do not ask me how they do it and especially do not ask me about my environmental constraints when booking such flights. Do ask me about Curitiba instead. It has used its 1 day we planned for it and so we stayed 3 days, made a nice tourist bus hop on hop off tour and visited the famous Oscar Niemeyer museum. Oscar is the famous part here, an architect well above 100 years of age, still working and really doing interesting work.

If flying is cheaper how can busses compete? With destination too small for plans and great service. In the most comfortable reclining seats, with a toilet and air conditioned we go from Curitiba to Blumenau, a German village known for its beer and the biggest festival in Brazil after carnival, the Oktoberfest. Oh my god, what a cliché they live up to here but hey, all clichés are true in a way and Angi enjoys the German beer while I pile up on Sauerkraut.

For the last 5 days we have chosen “Ilha de Catharina” with Florianopolis as base. Three of those 5 days the weather is not on our side but who cares, I am with Angi. We explore the island by bus as well as with a rented car, we take a walk on the dunes which turns into a dessert hike and I take a swim in the ocean which turns into a struggle against the waves. Fantastic.

On March 31st we say good bye to Norbert, our friendly German and English speaking receptions, whose special deal allowed us to stay in a nice 4 star hotel. Then we fly back to Sao Paulo, enjoy the sun on a stretch of grass between highways before this stupid plan takes of towards Germany. Today I care, Angi is in it, two weeks have passed like a single hour. I feel a bit empty when boarding my plan to Montevideo. Will I pick up my back packers travel rhythm again and if so when and how………………………  .

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1 Comment

  • Tom says:

    Eine tolle Zeit endlich mal wieder zusammen wünschen euch die Sydneysider, Moni, Tom, Paul & Emil. Wir fliegen am kommenden Freitag weiter nach San Francisco. Geniesst S-Amerika!

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