Saturday, 26 March 2022

Sao Paulo to Blumenau

I rise at 8:30. Mostly to allow time to type up yesterday. I'm very diligent now with my travel reports.

At 11:00 I go downstairs and check out. And ask them to call a taxi for me. Soon I'm bouncing down Sao Paolo's streets.

I know it's going to be a long journey. To the airport, I mean. I remember how long it took to get into town from the airport. And I checked on Google Maps: 1 hour 15 minutes, it reckoned.

The roads are busy. Very busy. We come to a stop several times. That's by no means the worst bit. Many of the lorries seem to be driven by lunatics on speed. One pulls out right in front of us and only misses us by a metre or two, This while we're going 80 kph. I try not to look at the road to much. I wouldn't like to sit on the plane in soiled underwear.

I look the other way instead. The road is following the River Tiete. It's not very scenic. There's a motorway on both sides of it. The banks are concrete and every 50 metres or so there are what seem to be drains emptying into it. Some of the water coming from them looks filthy.

We're in the outside lane. Suddenly there a bloke walking in the opposite direction between us and the next lane pushing a cart. He's selling drinks and snacks. Seems like a fairly suicidal occupation. we're not going full tilt, but at least 50 kph.

It's almost 13:00 when I'm dropped off. It says 140 reals on the taximeter, but I'm charged 106 reals. Seems like a bargain for 75 minutes travel.

I've over four hours until my flight so I'm in no rush. I drop off my bag and head airside. What I need now is a bar. I wander around a bit, but it's just shops and the odd little food place. I stop at one, Doog, and get myself a hot dog. Sem mostarda. Mustard is one of the few things I really don't like. It's not great. Dry, sweetish bread and a bland sausage.

I wander some more. Surely there must be a bar here somewhere? I'm almost at the end of the pier when I spot somewhere with spirit bottles: Gendai. A Japanese place. This'll do. I order one of those seaweed ice cream cones filled with salmon. And an Eisenbahn Pilsen. And a cachaca.

It seems they have a choice of two cachacas. The friendly waiter brings over the bottles so I can decide which one I want. I go for Selecta, as it's slightly coloured rather than pale.

Occasionally nibbling at my sushi, I vaguely watch the TV. there's football on. There always seems to be football one one channel or another. I sip my cachaca, too. And order another one. And another. Not that I'm rushing. I've still got a couple of hours until my flight. I order another ice cream cone. This is my main meal of the day.

About an hour before my flight is due to leave, I pay up and check which gate it is. Luckily it's right by where I am. There are only a few seats at the gate. One is empty. Just before I get to it a bloke asks the woman sat next to it if it's free, then dumps his bag on it. What the fuck? He doesn't even want to use it. What a twat.

I'm not going to stand until boarding. I look for somewhere else to sit. Oh look, there's a TGI Friday. Time for a traditional Jack Daniels send off.

It's brilliant. I can see the gate from my seat so I'll be able to see when they start boarding. The prices are much more reasonable than in the US. The whiskey is around 6 euros a pop. At that price it would be stupid to drink just the one.

When I see boarding begin, I troll over and walk straight onto the plane. This is incredibly stress-free. Just how I like to travel. One of the (many) annoying things about travelling with anti-American Mike, was that he'd insist on turning up at the airport as late as possible. We had to sprint to the gate on more than one occasion. No way I could do that now.

The flight isn't full. The seat to my left is free. Let's see, is the bloke sitting in front of me a recliner? Of course he fucking is. What sort of twat reclines their seat on a short daytime flight? Just as well there's that empty seat next to me. I fire up the laptop and watch some more Peep Show. I don't even get through two episodes before we start our descent.

I'm at the carousel only about 10 minutes after landing, but my bag is already doing the rounds. I grab it and head outside. And there's my taxi driver holding up my name.

It all happens so quickly, I forgot to go and have a piss. Fortunately, my driver stops for petrol. Here's my chance.

"Sanitarios?" There's one handy word of Portuguese I've learnt.

On the way back from the bog, I get myself a bottle of water and a bottle of beer. This is all working out perfectly.

The light is fading as we speed along the road. As darkness falls so does the rain. Not quite as bad as on my first night in Sao Paolo, but bad enough.

At 19:30 I check into my hotel. Oh, that's handy: the bar is open. That's where I head once I've dumped my bags in my room.

I get an ice cold beer and a cachaca. the latter once again served from a little cask on the bar. For once, I'm glad the beer is that cold. It doesn't improve as it warms up. A couple more cachacas help wash away the nasty taste of the beer.

I don't make a late night of it. I vaguely point my eyes at yet more football on the TV. While Laphroaig gently laps the shores of sleep. 

My accommodation most of my food and some beer were paid for by Concurso Brasileiro de Cervejas Blumenau. All travelling expenses I paid myself.

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