Floripa AirportI had to come running out those doors across the tarmack to get on the plane. Luckily, I didn't have to climb into the landing gear.
For the past month, there's been an Air Traffic Controller strike in Brazil. I changed my flight a week earlier to see my favorite band, O Rappa
. When I called the airline to change my ticket, they (Gol Airlines) told me that the strike was over, but every night on the news, I saw that it wasn't. Gol Airlines told me I had to pay an extra R$85 for the change, and come and extra half an hour earlier.They also told me that they would send a confirmation e-mail, which they didn't. Don't trust anything this company says. This company had a plane crash with an American plane a month earlier, because none of the Controllers spoke english, and the American pilots didn't speak Portuguese.
On the day of my flight, my friend Klaus, from Pousada Penareia
, was kind enough to take me to the airport. So we left with plenty of time to spare. About 10 minutes later on the road, we came apon a traffic jam. I thought it must be an accident, but Klaus said it was the construction on the road. That would be amazing if the government was that moronic. I never found out why there was such a huge traffic jam.
The air conditioner in Klaus' truck wasn't working, and it was sweltering hot outside. We waited, and waited, and waited, an hour goes by. People started honking their horns, some would just ride the horn for minutes at a time, their own special way of crying, I guess. I would suggest that the next time they are stuck in traffic, to try to make a song with their horns, maybe a classical peice, where everyone plays their one note when it's their turn. Turn that frown upsidedown. There's nothing you can do about it anyway.
Finally the traffic started to move, Klaus had turned off his truck, and when he tried to turn it back on, it died, over and over. It wouldn't start. So we pushed it to the side of the road.
I obviously didn't have time to make it to the airport and go through all the bureaucracy, but I thought maybe my flight would be delayed. That is the one thing you can usually count on in Brazil, that things won't work as planned. I grabbed all my bags and began walking down the scorching hot, diesel-smoke infested road. I got on board the executive bus, it's double the price, but it is much more comfortable and has air conditioning. Well worth it if you have luggage. As I got on the bus, I could feel the sweat just pouring off my face. I could see in every passenger's eyes, they had one thought on their mind when they looked at me; "Gringo".
So I sat on the executive bus for about 30 minutes listening to the Brazilians yelling about how much this traffic jam sucked, I thought to myself, "Try it without air conditioning". We still hadn't even gotten back to the point where I got out of Klaus' truck. Finally the traffic started moving. Ten minutes later, I saw the sign for the airport, so I ran up to the driver and asked if this is where I get off, he said to jump out and get on another bus that was coming in the opposite direction. I did.
This bus didn't have air conditioning. Now the traffic was jammed in the other direction. I sat on this bus for about 30 minutes. I knew my plane had probably already left, now I was going to the airport to see what my options were. Probably more fees.
I walk in and looked at the flight info monitor, My plane leaves in 15 minutes. I was supposed to be here an hour and a half ago. I thought, Oh well, I'll just see what my options are. The guy at the desk, called the plane, he said I still had a chance to make my flight! But, I still had to pay the $85 Reais (Brazilian Dollar) or I wouldn't be going anywhere, I tried both of my credit cards, neither one worked, I offered American Dollars, they wouldn't accept them. Then finally, the guy had the idea to use a different card reader, it worked. I looked at the clock, I had 2 minutes before take-off and about 5 minutes of walking.
I ran like hell with all my bags, and finally made it to my gate, no one was there, the doors were locked and outside I could see my plane, with the last passenger boarding. I looked at the lady nearby, she asked if I was supposed to be on that plane, I said yes. She called the plane on her walkie-talkie and then a flight anouncer came over the radio telling me specifically to go to a different door, out I went... running like hell again.
Looking out the window over Armação Beach and Lagoa do Peri.
I was the last person on the plane. But I made it. The plane ride was surreal, as I looked out the window I couldn't believe I had made it.
I probably lost 5 pounds of water weight. I was so dehydrated, I slept almost the whole day.
Armação Beach and Lagoa do Peri.
Matadeiro Beach, Armação Beach and Lagoa do Peri.Aerial Map
Lagoinha do LesteAerial Map
Looking southeast over Caiçara, São Paulo and into the Atlantic Ocean
Av. Pres Castelo Branco, Praca Sao Pedro Praca Jom. Geraldo Ferraz
Flying in to the state of São PauloAerial Map
Looking northeast over the Reservatorio Rio das Pedras
To the far right is Cubatão
, the most polluted city in the world.
I couldn't believe that 30 minutes earlier I was baking in traffic, and now I was on my plane.Aerial Map
Praca Roberto Catelan, Rua TiradentesAerial Map
Some of the building colors were faaaabulous. Just Kidding.
São Paulo FavelasAerial Map
Looking northeast over Santo Andre, São Paulo
Jardim Stella, Jardim Jamaica, Jardim Cristiane and Jardim Oriental
Concrete for as far as the eye can see.Aerial Map
Santa Terezinha, São Paulo
Praca Roberto Catelan, Rua Tiradentes
near Parque Regional e Jardim Botanico do Pedroso
I love these birds eye view pictures, they make the city look like toys.Aerial Map
Rodoviaria Anchieta and Viaduto Teresa Delta
South of Sao Bernado do CampoAerial Map
Jose Fernandes Nunes, Sao Paulo
Vila Cristina, Sao Pedro / Liviero
Praca Jom Adrano Campanhole, Praca Oscar Pareira Rodrigues SaracuraAerial Map
Looking northeast toward the cities of Dom Macario II / Boqueirao
and on into Ipiranga, São Paulo
This isn't even downtown São Paulo, this is just a subburb, Congonhas.
There are probably 20 times as many high rise buildings in this shot alone,
then there are in my whole city, Salt Lake City.
The Town of Henry Ford
, Vila Prudente Morro do Urubu, Ilia das Cobras
Near Ipiranga and Barra Lisa, São Paulo
You can see the Avenida do Estado,
Rua Cap. Pacheco E Chaves and Viaduto Grand São PauloAerial Map
There used to be thick jungle here, now it's Congonhas, São Paulo
The tops of the clouds above São Paulo
Rio de Janeiro
I wish I knew the names of these peaks. Don't You?
Dedo de Deus (Finger of God)
Knowing how much God helps the people in this country,
this might be his middle finger.
Rio de Janeiro Favelas
Candeleira Church, Older than your grampa's wooden underwear.
Pão de Açucar (Sugarloaf)
Pico do Corcovado (Hunchback Peak)
with Cristo Redentor (Christ the Redeemer) looking into the ocean with his back to Brazil.