Thursday, February 05, 2004

Guatemala City--Miami--Sao Paulo, Brazil--Days 5/6

Today I woke up and did some work on the computer, packed up my things and checked out of the hotel just in time to get the shuttle over to the airport. Things at the airport were pretty uneventful, except for the guy next to me at the ticket counter. He was shipping his dog home! The poor thing had to go all the way from Guatemala City to St. Louis and I felt really bad for it. They put the dog (which is one of those really pretty-but-not-quite-a-Labrador type) and so it was in a pretty big cage. It had to be put on the conveyor belt and send through with the rest of the luggage.
I got my tickets, went through security, and waited for about an hour for my plane from Guatemala City to Miami. The plane ride was uneventful, although I sat next to these people that I met in a shop in Antigua, although I don’t think they realized it. They asked where I was from and then I asked where they were from (but I knew that it was Virginia) and the lady just said, Oh, Virginia and I just smiled. The plane ride actually wasn’t that long, only about three hours. We landed in Miami and had to taxi on the runway for quite some time. The pilot (a woman by the way) was really funny and she kept coming on the loudspeaker and talking to us about how the plane wasn’t moving.

In Miami, I had to walk quite a ways and take a train to my gate, and ended up having to eat a hot dog for my dinner, which was the only food in my terminal. I recharged my computer and waited for the time to board.

The plane ride to Sao Paulo was close to eight hours. Again, besides some mild turbulence at one point, the plane ride was pretty good. No delays or anything. I was sitting next to a Brazilian girl about my age and in front of us were her friends, obviously a couple. They spent most of the trip kissing and nuzzling each other, which was fine except when I was trying to watch the movie (Open Range, which was actually pretty good). Unfortunately on the plane there was only small screens down the middle of the airplane connected to the ceiling, so I had to strain to watch the movie. Plus the fact that this guys’ head was in the way of the screen made it really annoying to watch. I had to keep moving back and forth between two screens depending on where the kissy couple was kissing. Ugh. Finally they both fell asleep and I could watch the movie in peace, and without trying to look past them.

We landed early this morning, around 7:45 am. I had my photo and my fingerprints taken at immigration (which actually wasn’t bad because I could go through the “Americans Only” line, which didn’t have as many people in it and was in the end faster) and then met my driver who would take me to my hotel in downtown Sao Paulo. It was raining outside, which didn’t make it a very good day to go to the zoo, plus traffic was just terrible to it took us quite a while to get to the hotel.

I was able to check in when I arrived and headed straight to bed. I only managed about one and a half hours of sleep on the plane, so I was feeling really tired. I fell fast asleep and woke up at 3 o’clock pm. Since I am now on Brazilian time (which means that nothing is really going on until later anyways) I got up, got dressed and headed on a short walk around the center of Sao Paulo. I got some dinner (I made myself wait until 8 o’clock since Brazilians eat late) and now I am back in my hotel ready for bed and to get an early start to the zoo in Sao Paulo tomorrow.

Sao Paulo is a lot like New York City, in fact it is the largest city in South America and the third largest in the world! It is neat- there is obviously a lot going on here but I wouldn’t really know since I can’t understand a THING anyone says. Well, I guess that is not true- I can understand a few things in Portuguese that are similar to Spanish, but it is still very hard to even try to comprehend what anyone is saying.

But hey, you can become fluent in four days, right??

(c) 2004 Sarah Galbraith. All Rights Reserved.