Friday, June 4, 2010

As formigas bom de Uberlândia

I've finally made it to Uberlândia, and am ensconced in a delightful little place right next door to the University (Federal de Uberlândia, or UFU). Getting here was quite the trick. Here's what was supposed to happen:

(0 hours): Leave for Boston Logan airport
(2.5 - 6): Fly Miami
(6-9): Drink in airport bar
(9-18): Fly to Guarulhos International Airport, São Paulo, Brazil
(18-20): Clear Immigration, clear Customs, check in with TAM for my domestic flight
(20-21): Fly to Uberlândia
(21-∞): Drink in Uberlândia, catch ants.

Now, here's what actually happened:

(0 hours): Leave for Boston Logan
(2.5): Flight delayed
(3.5): Flight delayed again
(5.5-6.0): Flight canceled
(6-6.5): Get rebooked for flight to São Paulo, and from São Paulo to Uberlândia (or so I'm assured)
(6.5) Get voucher for taxi home. Wait for luggage
(6.5-7): No taxis will take voucher
(7-7.5): Find a sucker, get a ride home. Get verbal agreement to pick me up tomorrow.
(8-12): Drink at home
(12-20): Sleep
(24): Taxi's supposed to be here, isn't.
(24.5): Find another sucker (housemate) to drive me to airport
(26.5): Flight delayed
(27): Flight actually takes off to Miami
(30.5-33): Drink in Miami airport bar
(34-42): Fly to São Paulo. Don't sleep. Can't sleep in planes.
(42-43): Wait in monstrous immigration line. Get nervous about connection
(43-43.5): Wait in Customs line. Really getting nervous about connection
(43.5): Barely make it to transfer booking counter in time. They don't have my reservation.
(43.5, part II): In fact, they never did get that reservation transfer that American definitely, assuredly made after canceling my first flight. But if I run upstairs to the first TAM counter on the right, they can get me on.
(43.6): First TAM counter tells me to go to second TAM counter.
(43.65): Second TAM counter says just a minute, goes to talk to reservations people.
(43.65-44): Second TAM counter guy talks to random Brasilieros.
(44): Second TAM counter guy tells me I need to wait in third TAM counter line.
(44, part II): Only flight today from GRU to UDI takes off, without me.
(44-45): Wait in third TAM counter line.
(45-45.5): Nice TAM senhora books me on flight leaving in 11 hours, from another airport.
(45.5): Try to call Scott to tell him I'm not actually landing at UDI in 30 minutes. Can't figure out payphone. Learn I need a phone card.
(45.5-46): One place that sells phone cards only takes cash.
(46): None of the 5 ATMs I find takes my debit card. I have three dollars American in my wallet. Stupid, stupid Jon. 
(46.5): Turns out my co-op's ATM card works! Embezzle BR$400 from Millstone. Buy phone card.
(46.5-47): Still unable to figure out how to call Scott's cell phone. Buy 10 minutes of internet time instead, send email.
(47-47.5): Take bus to other São Paulo airport. Meet nice Brazilian kid going to Duke undergrad. 
(48): Check in at TAM counter in Congonhas Airport. Get put on earlier flight.
(48.5-50): Hang out with Duke student, eat pão de queijo. 
(50-51): Fly to Uberlândia. Meet Scott Powell at airport.
(51.5-55): Eat, drink with Scott.
(55-58): Try to check in at place I'm staying. Proprietors are apparently not around, but a delightful woman named Zelma (Zeulma?) is. I try (futilely) to sustain conversation using only the words for please, thank you, and beer. 
(58): Paulo shows up with a key, shows me to room).
(58.5): Blissful, blissful sleep. 

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

learned a lot