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Aventuras no Brazil


Well, it’s certainly been an overwhelming 24 hours of travel all the way from Heathrow to Porto Alegre, and I’m surprised I’m still awake to be able to type up this blog post…

I knew that it was doomed from the start when I found out that my seat from Heathrow to Sao Paulo (a 12 hour flight) was in the middle of a three-seater row. And because I have the worst luck in the world when it comes to flying, my gut feeling was that my fellow passenger wouldn’t be a wilting waif. And as fate would have it, I ended up in between two, let’s say, rather portly gentlemen, one from Scotland and the other from Sao Paulo. I didn’t speak to the chap from Scotland because he passed out almost as soon as we were airborne, but I did get a chance to talk to Fernado who was travelling back home for a month before heading down south to do some skiing. As we talked, there was practically no space in my seat to sit comfortably, something which hadn’t gone unnoticed by Fernando who showed a great deal of sympathy for my plight (Mr Scotland was still passed out and had nary a mind to even monitor his snoring…). We were served dinner (Scotland didn’t wake up for dinner he was that sparked out), and as I hunched forward as best I could to tuck into the delights of 30000 feet food, I glumly thought to myself that I had another 10 hours ahead of me of feeling like the proverbial sardine in a tin. I guessed that if I could get some sleep, I would be sorted, but alas, with Mr. Scotland on my left radiating a heat so fierce I thought he had a fever, I started thinking about a get-out plan. The flight attendant was happy enough for me to move to an open seat, although I’m not sure the guys I disturbed were. I was, however, greeted with an open seat on my left and could have wept for joy. Instead, I decided to get some ‘sleep’ for a few hours. About 4am (local time), I awoke to what I cautiously termed ‘breakfast’, although I’m sure ‘experimental meal-plan’ would be closer to the mark.

Anyway, once we landed, I was treated to something I dread at the end of half-day flights: queues. Queues to immigration. Queues to check-in. Queues for security. Queues for boarding. It was pretty much solid queues from Sao Paulo until I landed in Porto Alegre, where I couldn’t find the bus to take me to the train station. Once I had found the train station, I couldn’t find a taxi to take me to the hotel. Once I had found the hotel, I couldn’t fit my power adaptor to the sockets. Once I had found an electronic store ($R20 there), bought a new adaptor ($R50), and got a taxi back ($R20), I realised that actually the continental adaptor I had brought with me DID fit in one of the sockets, I just hadn’t seen it before I rushed out. So now I’m down $R90 (about £30) with absolutely nothing to show for it except a useless bit of plastic. I can’t speak Portuguese to try and get a refund for it. I’m absolutely shattered. I’m hungry. I’m smelly. And I’ve still got to finish the Mock the Week presentation before Thursday.

Who said conferences were fun?

The Social Linguist

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