Lodgey and Life on the Road. Stories from South America.

5 February 2010

3 February 2010

Part One: It’s the small things

At takeoff from Auckland airport we timed how long it would take to reach our final destination - Olinda, Brazil. A 12 hour flight to Santiago, a five hour stopover and a six hour flight to Rio de Janeiro via Sao Paolo. We arrived in Rio at 1am and, with an 8am flight to Recife, we didn’t have time to go to a hotel. So we set up camp in the departures area (I originally had ‘lounge’ here but that would not be a fitting description) and waited for seven of the longest hours of my life.

The chairs had been specifically designed for sitting, not sleeping, and there were cockroaches on the floor. I couldn’t eat, couldn’t sleep and was delirious with jet lag. It was torture. Geezer ate something that looked like a dropped pie and regretted it about 30 minutes later. Eventually we checked in and spotted a guy eating the most delicious looking toasted sandwich. We sat down to eat our prized sandwiches and watch the dawn break. We realised that our view was of the sun rising over Rio de Janeiro city – and indeed Rio’s most famous icon, Christ the Redeemer. After 30 hours of travelling, with another five to go, we smiled...

Then a voice came over the speaker - flight delayed.

Part Two: the Brazilian way

In total it took us 35 hours to reach Olinda. The Brazilians indifference to airline safety procedures is almost amusing – almost. As soon as we took our seats, the guy in front of us put his chair so far back that we was practically in the lap of the woman next to me (please ensure your seats are upright). The woman next to me had a suitcase on her lap (please ensure your luggage is stowed in the overhead lockers or under the seat in front of you). And the couple in front of us were talking on their mobile phone as the plane was about to take off (please ensure all electronic devices are now switched off). Hmm...

We caught a cab to our home for the next three days and were treated to a deluxe suite with our own courtyard and a hammock. We have pretty much alternated between the pool, the hammock and the sights of Olinda... A lovely town where the beer is cheaper than water and icy cold!

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