We touched down in São Paulo, Brazil after a twelve hour flight from Zurich. Claire had been her usual social self, setting up her stool and proceeding to fall asleep before the plane left the Zurich Tarmac. Ten hours later she awoke to have breakfast declaring that she had had a wonderful flight and was raring to go. Philip on the other hand had only managed about three – four hours sleep, whilst I had got about eight hours and, as much as one can feel ok after a flight that long was doing alright.
A couple of things we noticed upon landing :- bright sunlight (yep needing the sunglasses…except they’d been packed). Whilst there had been varying degrees of light in Europe there was nothing like the sun reflecting off the windows and definitely not people walking around in T-shirts.
Once again a whole new language. We have to be extremely grateful that English is the universal language as in South America, Spanish is what everyone starts speaking to you in. Without them having some English, this whole adventure would be extremely difficult. For people like us who have some idea and are travelling together we can bounce off one another, it is possible to work it out; but if you didn’t speak English or Spanish and were by yourself then this would be extremely disconcerting.
The other thing you notice even though you’re just in the airport is that it’s not nearly as clean or as well looked after as European airports. There’s paper and empty cans everywhere and it has that look of “someone else will clean it up”. This is just first observations and maybe different once we’ve been in South America for a while. This is also Brazil and we still have a flight to catch to Argentina so an assumption about one place shouldn’t be an assumption for all of South America.
And the last thing…if you’re blonde in the world you’re the minority. Asian people have dark hair, South Americans have dark hair, Southern Europeans are dark …so in a lot of places in the world, Claire and I have stood out just by the colour of our hair (except in Scandinavia and Germanic countries where they figured I came from there and starting speaking to me in the mother tongue)
There are some airports that are ok to spend a little bit of time in. Oslo for instance was reasonably enjoyable and the time seemed to go relatively quickly. Let’s just say São Paulo airport is not one of those airports. The seats are all the vinyl strapped seats with arm rests in between each one so that you can’t stretch out. There is also very little in the way of things to look at, shops to explore or even things to eat. Therefore after four hours of waiting around we were happy to get onboard our TAM flight bound for Buenos Aries. This was after showing our Reciprocity passes and having to wait on the Tarmac as there was a queue of eleven planes. Ok so this is not Zurich or even Europe so things may take a bit of getting used to!
Finally we arrived in Buenos Aries… next stop. This part of the trip was a little more unknown as we had booked a large component of it through Chimu adventures, a South American specialist. This is not how I like to travel (or one may say how I like to live). I like to know where I’m going, what I’m doing and how to fix it if it doesn’t go right. Therefore getting off the plane, we were desperately hoping that we would come through the “doors” and see a man holding a paddle with the name “Elliot” on it or else Elliot tours was going to have to spring into action. Luckily this all occurred without a hitch and we were transferred to our hotel, The Recolata Dazzler Hotel. Whilst supposedly listed as a standard hotel, it is in a great spot and sets the quality for all hotels to come (a positive thing).
Once settled at the hotel we ventured out into the Recoleta area of town. We back onto the main cemetery which sounds kinda creepy but is listed as one of the top attractions on Trip advisor. This is because it houses the bodies of people like Eva Peron and other presidents. It has a huge high brick wall which shows its age and on the outside of the wall are large, what appear to be oak trees. It’s a place we’ll go and explore some time in the next couple of days. For now though it was getting our bearings and becoming a little more comfortable with the South American environment (oh and the sun glare, 30 degree temperature, shorts and thongs!)
To top things off we discovered a great ice cream shop and Philip got to have a little piggy moment, tucking into a large, chunky and very moist Argentine steak. Claire on the other hand got her little piggy moment not only with the ice cream but also with a further purchase at the shops. Both I think had been in withdrawal mode after spending the week in Norway and today’s “fix” had been very enjoyable for them both.
After looking around we returned to the hotel, caught up on some blog details and generally took things easy. The time difference has meant that whilst it’s 9pm here, if still in Zurich it would be 1 am. Therefore another small thing to adjust to but a good chance to do it tonight. Tomorrow a city tour has been planned and then a tango dinner and show. A good chance to look around Buenos Aries and see all this city has to offer… who knows maybe even see Phil do the tango!! (A mission the editor thinks will be difficult to achieve)