Tuesday, 15 March 2022

Sao Paolo here I come (again)

I have to get up earlier than usual: 7:00. My flight is at 9:55. Wouldn't want to mis it.

A 15 bus pulls away just as I get to the end of the street. That's a bit annoying. Still, I've plenty of time. I'm luckier with the 397. One pulls up a minute or two after I get to Haarlemmermeer station.

The airport is a bit more crowded than my last visit. Still well short of normal times. Itdoesn't take long before I'm at passport control. I hand them my verblijsvergunning as well as my passport. To avoid this exchange:

"How long have you been in the Netherlands?"

"I live here."

"Can I see your verblijsvergunning?"

No point wasting any time. I won't be going through this crap much longer, now that I'm Dutch. Once I get my Dutch passport, I'll be able to sail through.

Great news in the duty free. There's an offer on Laphroiag Four Oak. Just 50 euros. I'll be having one of those.

I've not much time in the lounge so I try to make the most of it. I get a sort of mini breakfast- a couple of sausages, scrambled egg and mushrooms. A few whiskies, too. It's much more crowded here. But nothing too crazy.

It's not far to my gate. I get there at the perfect time - at the tail end of priority boarding.

This time the person in front of me doesn't recline their seat before the seat belt sign goes off. They wait until 2 minutes afterwards. Brilliant. Luckily the seat to my left is vacant and I can use that space for my laptop.

Dolores loaded up all nine series of Peep Show to my laptop. I start with series 1, episode 1. I'd forgotten that Johnson turns up so early. Not that I'm complaining. He's a great character.

After watching all six episodes of season 1, I switch to the inflight entertainment for a while I watch Venom 3, despite it being pretty crap. And so dark it's hard to make out some of the action. Back to Peep Show.

There's a two or three-month old baby on the row behind. Not that you'd notice. It spends pretty much all the flight asleep on one or other of the parents.

No Time to Die is the next film. (A surprising title, given the film’s ending.) It's long, which is good. I keep dozing off in the middle section. Don't think I missed much as I can still follow the plot.

The last 90 minutes of the flight I watch one of the comedy series on the inflight entertainment: Nobodies. It passes the time. In a challenge to the traditional sitcom dogma, it does completely away with jokes.

This time they do want to see all my Covid documentation at the border. Not that they look at it that closely.

When I'm just about to walk through customs, a bloke in his forties asks me how I'm getting into town. I think he recognised that I was on the same flight by my Schiphol duty free bag.

"Are you getting the train?" he asks.

"No, I'm getting a taxi. I can't be arsed with the train."

"Could we share the taxi?"

"Of course."

Great. This is going to save me some dosh.

It turns out he's on his way to Blumenau, too. To visit relatives. He's German, by the way.

Getting money from the cash machine turns out to be problematic. Until I use my visa card. That's a relief, having some Brazilian dosh in my pocket.

The taxis from Sao Paolo airport are pretty good. They're run by a cooperative of drivers, which has a monopoly. There are set fares to various locations in the city. My new German friend will be dropped of first, for the set fare. Then the driver will continue on the meter to drop me off.

A couple of minutes outside the airport, it starts pissing it down. Really pissing it down. Full-on tropical downpour. Soon the roads are transformed into rivers. It's all a bit scary. Doesn't seem to faze the driver. I guess he's seen it all before.

I feel sorry for the German when he reaches his destination. There's a good 10 cm of water he has to wade through.


As we get closer to my hotel, there are lots of little corner bars. Mostly pretty full and noisy, sometimes with music, sometimes just voices.

I'm lucky when I disembark. It's under cover and there's no standing water. It's still pissing it down.

That's why I eat in the hotel. In a deserted restaurant, save for the staff. I'm not getting drenched for no good reason.

A draught of Laphroaig hastens my dreams, the traditional Islay way.

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