Saturday, April 28, 2007

Brazil Trip - Part 2

Wow. I can actually use tags with the new Blogger! And so far today it's letting me post pics. So maybe I'm starting to feel a little less of the hate and a little more of the love for new Blogger.

Anyway, on with the story. In case it's not blatantly obvious I've never flown Business First Class before.

***

Ok, so first I get to Toronto Airport and find my way to the lounge. Julie is there but no one else. Apparently this lounge is only for people who are between flights; so we go find the new Maple Leaf Lounge where we are all supposed to meet.

Everything is complimentary, drinks (beer including Guiness), wine or cocktails and snacks.

Then we boarded the plane. I was served a glass of sparkling wine while everybody boarded. The seat is a recliner. There’s a gift bag in the seat with earplugs, lotions and SOCKS! This is to make your trip more comfortable and enjoyable.

So after we’re in the air I went to use the washroom (first time since Windsor ; I was bursting!) Well you know I just can’t fit in with this hoity toity lifestyle when I realize I’m trying to wash my hands with hand lotion; how was I to know which one was soap?! Then they bring around mixed nuts and drinks (I had wine) shortly followed by a hot wet cloth to wipe up with. This was unbelievable! The steward came around to see if I wanted more nuts but I didn’t want to fill up before my Arctic Char dinner.

Then they came around and brought linen tablecloths for our in-the-chair-arm trays to prepare for dinner. I can’t wait for this dinner because I’ve been smelling it since we first took off. Dinner itself I had a choice of a vegetarian salad or one with dried beef strips (I chose the beef), a choice of fresh rolls, a cheese plate, the main course of Arctic Char, mixed rice and bock choy, an a chocolate mousse type dessert. And of course they top up your wine while you’re eating. The other choices for dinner were a chicken dish or a pasta dish.

I chit chatted with the guy sitting next to me, a Brazilian man who was on a business trip for “Lever” so of course the conversation turned to soap! Lol

By the time we finished dinner it must have been 2am so I settled down with my pillow from home (I’m so glad I brought it!) and my blanket, stretched out and went to sleep.

I woke up around 6 and just relaxed and dozed off for another hour, then they started coming around with trays of various juices. For breakfast I chose the sundried tomato frattita over the plain omelet, and it came with a mixed fruit plate, a croissant and of course coffee and more juice. I passed on the cereal and the yogurt.

I spent the rest of the trip chatting, taking pics out the window and trying to remember something (anything!) from my Portugese language book. Why do I have such a mind block when it comes to languages?!

Anyway I had to give all this detail about the flight because I’m sure I’ll never fly business first class again; at least not if I´m paying for it! For the price of my ticket alone we could take two full cruises for two including all expenses!

We landed 11 hours after we took off, got through customs and got our luggage fairly quickly. The first thing you notice as you step off the plane is the humidity. There’s no doubt we’re in a tropical country. I couldn’t get any signal whatsoever on my cell phone (yes I changed the mode) so text messages are out, and the payphones only take phone cards. I changed over some money to the Brazilian “Riel” (approximately $2 Riel = $1 U.S.) Emilia and Rose (from the Metal Workers Union) met us with a small bus to get us to our hotel. All I can say is it’s a good thing none of us have to drive here, it’s CRAZY! The traffic is completely insane and then you have a lot of people driving small motorcycles who zip in and out of traffic. I did see one get “bumped” by a car when he cut the car off, I can’t believe I didn’t see anyone get killed. As we drove you could look in any direction and see skyscrapers as far as you could see. This is apparently the third largest city in the world with half of Canada’s population in this one city.

We passed by underpasses where it looked like garbage dumps, with people picking through it and possibly living there. According to my reading there is very little in the way of social services here, and there is extreme wealth contrasted with terrible poverty.

Of course there’s glitches at the hotel. First I can’t get the elevator to work, you need to use your room key to get it going (for security) I get to my room and can’t get the lights to work so I pee in the dark. Then it turns out my toilet won’t flush away the toilet paper; just doesn’t have the “woosh” needed. My air conditioner won’t work either. And of course I can’t get any of the local wireless internet connections to work. Now I’m REALLY frustrated because I need to let everyone know at home that we made it ok and all my plans of action are falling through. And of course no one speaks English here, and I’m not picking up any Brazilian. I’ve reverted to sign language; or maybe I should call it charades! Lol I finally use a local computer through the hotel and email home. I meet with Annie who tells me that you need to put your room card in a slot on the wall to turn on your power in the room. (and you need to remember the card is there or you’ll spend 10 minutes trying to find your room card so you can leave your room! Lol) She also shows me that my laptop can be run on either 110 or 220 with no problems. Being as you don’t always know what you’re going to get here that’s peace of mind for me. And yes, her toilet flushes the toilet paper away. So I head back to my room to change as I’m already late to meet up with everybody, and now my room key won’t let me in! I go get it reprogrammed and then I’m finally good to go.

We took cabs to a local restaurant to have something to eat and drink, but the cabs (both of them!) got lost on the two block trip to the restaurant. Yeah I know; go figure. It was pouring rain by the time we got there.

I tried a Brazilian beer called Antarctica Original and it’s quite good. We shared some beef and fish appetizers and then I had a tropical salad with a mustard dressing and fish on the side. Very tasty. And Marco the owner who bent over backwards to make us comfortable and welcome had an uncanny resemblance to a younger Kenny Lewenza. Then we had much debate about who wants to be the one to ask Kenny if he’s ever been to Brazil! LOL

We walked back to the hotel now that we knew where we had to go and as much as I wanted to write up the day I couldn’t keep my eyes open any longer and went to bed at 7:30. So here I am writing it at 3am instead! Now I’m heading down to the office center to see if I can email this off, then I should head back to bed to try and adjust to the local time.

1 comment:

Brazil property said...

Nice pictures and I'm sure you enjoyed in Brazil. I was in Brazil and I was impressed by its beauty. The nation's natural beauty is reflected in its variety of geographic locations, from Sugar Loaf Mountain in the city of Rio de Janeiro, to the magnificent Iguazu Falls in the south, to the Amazon basin in the North, there's something for almost every taste... snow skiers excepted.