My flight plan was slightly derailed. I like to pretend I’m on a train and not a plane but at Manchester airport the tube tunnel thing that leads to the door of the plane took us down some steps to the ground floor. To my horror a realized I was going to have to walk across the tarmac to something that looked more like a plane than a train. Bugger. It was a smallish plane as we had to stop in Madrid, there were only two seats each side of the aisle. I was pretty chilled about it, I didn’t need to take any of the drugs I had on my person.
Madrid airport was a freaking nightmare! We had about a 3 hour stopover and I needed a cigarette. It took some serious investigation and cross-examining of airport staff to figure out that the only way out of the building to a smoking area was by train! It took over an hour to find my way out into the freash air in order to inhale some much needed toxins. After two or three fags we headed back into the main building and sat around waiting for the plane.
11 Hours later…
So here I am in Brazil, it’s like this whole other country. We were picked up by Adelina’s sister Teo, Her husband Leo and their Daughter Bea. After stowing everything in the back of a brand new pick-up we set off into some properly insane traffic. Driving from Guarulhos airport into Sao Paulo I was struck by the strangest thought – that the closest point of reference I have for this place is Tintin and the Picaros. Herges attention to details like the shapes of trees and foilliage as well as cars and trucks was the first thing that struck me as we pulled out of the airport.
So I am driving into my own Tintin adventure, what could be better?
On the way into town Teo gave us a commentary which included the pointing out of several favelas and then the denial of their existence. Which I sort of understood. Then came the river. I was told at length that it was being dredged and the banks cleaned but I wasn’t prepared for the sight of the blue water. However this was not the azure blue of the ocean it was more the toxic blue sludge of a chemical toilet and we had yet to reach the really smelly bit! As we got nearer the centre the colour became more normal as the stench got worse. We all clutched our noses for a while. They pointed out the shopping bit and a nice modern suspension bridge.
On the other side of the centre we passed an area of hand made furniture shops in the rustic style and then we pulled up at a roadsode hut for food.
This turned out to be Pastel, a type a freshly made square pasty with thin pastry and a range of fillings. On the way in I had mentioned that I really wanted to try fresh coconut, only being used to the dried up husks we get in England. They put one in front of me before we even got to the house! It was nice but not as good as I had always imagined, maybe rum is the key.
Not far around the corner we came to the Casa de Judite (Adelina’s mother) where we would be staying. I went in first as a surprise, no one had told her mum I was coming but she took my arrival in her stride. The house was more primative than I was expecting but comfortable none the less. Lunch was rice, beans and chicken. By 1.30 it felt like 6pm so we went to bed for a few hours.
In the evening it was round to Teo and Leo’s, a much more modern house above Leo’s garage. A huge balcony for BBQ parties covers three and a half sides of the building on the first floor. 100’s of square metres in size the floor is ceramic tiled, pillars are festooned with hammocks and the BBQ itself has to be seen to be believed. Here I was offered what would become the first of many cervezas. Brahma comes in cans the same size as coke and at 4.8% is enough to get you merry in this climate. Around 10ish some pizza arrived and by 12ish it was back to Judite’s to sleep. The girls stayed at Teo’s and Jake came home with us.
It was a sticky night.