Sunday, December 20, 2009

Onde é o banheiro? Blog de Brasileiro, dia 14 (sabado, decembro 19)

Mosquito bite count:
-Hands: 4 / Arms: 7 / Shoulders: 4 / Chest: 1 / Head: 8 / Neck: 2
-Back: 0 / Legs: 1

Today is where I fly home and hope like hell that the berimbaus purchased do not get confiscated by customs. We put a clear coat of lacquer on all of the biribas and cabacas the previous day, save for the one that I specifically purchased on Francois’ behalf.

Morning was spent with last minute scrambling to get the room cleaned out, perform all last minute idiot checks, and exchange contact information with some of the friends we’ve made so I can practice my Portuguese and they can practice their English. We also ensure that our bar fridge inventory matches their numbers, which we corrected yesterday when despite the fact that we only had 5 bottles of water to begin with, they were supposed to have 6. Camara and Safadinho do not have that foresight and are hit with a 75 R$ bar fridge invoice.

Mestre was on the horn with the transport company most of the night to make absolutely damn sure that they were on hand to pick us up from the Pousada. Jacare and Saphodinho left the Pousada to stay in Recife; Charme was able to get a last minute flight to Rio; Zulu (AKA the Other Vince), Jaguar, and Acai caught an 11AM flight to Miami; and Canela and I are now on a 4PM flight to Sao Paulo, where I will kill a few hours before flying out to Dallas Ft. Worth and meet up with Zulu, Jaguar, and Açai.

And of course, despite all best efforts, the transport van was STILL late, although given their complete failure to show up at all yesterday, half an hour late is pretty darn good.

As Canela and I are taking the later flight, we had several hours to kill in the Recife airport, which is dangerous when there is a lot of really cool crap to buy. Realizing that I left a few people off the list when shopping for trinkets and kitsch in Porto de Galinhas, I finally start exercising the credit card that had gone unused for the past two weeks as I relied on Brazilian cash.

Thankfully not finding a McDonald’s in the Recife airport, I end up at Bob’s, where I eat what may be the best airport fast food hamburger I have ever eaten in my life. Canela opts for Subway. As I’m eating it and I make my way through the last bites, I’m realizing that for once, the burger actually looked smaller in the photo.

I also take the next step in my attempt to improve my Portuguese by purchasing a copy of Besouro, a novel based on the life of the famous Capoeirista Besouro Manganga, which also inspired a film that just came out this year.

This book is written entirely in Portuguese, which will mean it will take at least 10 times as long as the average book for me to read, although I anticipate that it will go faster as I slowly increase my vocabulary. I have a quick conversation with the bookstore clerk with his limited English, telling him that I don’t know that much Portuguese, but I’m interested in reading it due to my interest in Capoeira. He asks if I know any Portuguese at all, to which I respond, “Um pequeno.” He then spouts a few random Portuguese greetings, “Bom dia…obrigado…” I then add in, “Onde é o banheiro”, which provokes laughter behind the clerks behind the counter.

Canela and I are flying on TAM Linhas on an A321, which is smaller than the planes that took us on the way in, but somehow more comfortable. And they just served us a hot ham and cheese sandwich. This beats the pants off of the chintzy cookies and boxed drink we got on the American Airlines flight from Salvador to Recife.

Landing in Sao Paulo, Canela makes her connection to Chicago and I’m making my brief stop before heading out to Dallas. We wander around for about an hour as this is a very large and busy airport. The airport is akin to a rat maze and I’ve lost confidence in my ability to find my way after airport staff gives directions. Canela suggests that the airport was designed in the 1970s to counter protests and gatherings, which is why navigation is very complex. After about fifteen minutes of searching, we end up at the American Airlines counter where I have to exchange boarding passes and Canela has to re-check in.

The unfortunate thing is that this is not a really direct connection, as I have to pass through airline security AGAIN. I end up having to swallow the entire can of Brazilian Coke (intended as a gift to the Coke-addicted girlfriend) at the security checkpoint, forcing me to purchase a replacement before the gate. The price is a whopping 5 R$, which translates to roughly $3-4 CDN. Back in the Recife airport, it cost 3,50 R$. It didn’t even cost that much in the bar fridge back at the Pousada.

Without stepping outside of the Sao Paulo airport, I have a very limited impression of the city, although I have finally found the Brazilian-Japanese population, so I’m not going to be attracting stares. And yes, stuff is much more expensive here. And there’s STILL no free internet. I will wait until I get to Dallas-Ft. Worth and check there.

With this, I say boa viagem to Brazil and step on the plane.

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