Six a.m., São Paulo. We pack, make sure we don’t leave anything behind, and go downstairs where hopefully, a taxi is around. Mark is more awake than he should be considering he slept less than usual. He is excited to fly again and I sigh because I know that even though we are indeed flying, he will complain every five minutes until we actually take off, which is a few hours from now.
The taxi driver is the chatty kind and he loves music. He plays a bunch of foreign tunes sang by Brazilians, including “Ne me quitte pas” and “Je ne regrette rien”. As I’m writing this, twelve hours later, the voice of Édith Piaf is still stuck in my head.
I’m trying to make conversation in Portunhol (or Portuñol?) while Mark is asking me where the planes are, why we are going fast and why we are going to China.
“WE ARE NOT IN CHINA!” I reply, while talking to the driver who, oblivious to the drama in the back seat, is praising some singer.
I’m not sure it’s a good idea to name a highway after pilote Ayrton Senna. I mean, I get it, he was a great pilot and a Paulista, the city wants to honour him. Still…. he died at the wheel of his race car. It’s a bit like naming a boat “The Titanic”, isn’t it?
We finally arrive at the airport. We are flying Azul, a low-cost airline, and we bought the tickets online the night before. I am a bit stressed out because many things could go wrong but the check-in process is surprisingly easy if slow. Security check-point, I smuggle in my lighters. We are at the gate. I grab a cup of coffee but it doesn’t wake me up.
For a budget airline, Azul is generous. We are given drinks, then small snacks, then coffee. There is even a rudimentary entertainment system but the three of us pass out in front of Bob Esponja and CNN (respectively). Two and a half hours later, the plane starts to descend upon the Atlantic coast. It’s stunning and just as we are busy taking pictures, I remember that Brazilian planes don’t land—they bounce on the tarmac. Must be a local “skill” pilots learn.
Azul bounced a couple of times, Mark loves it, I sigh.
This time, our bag do show up on the moving belt. We step out. It’s tropical humid, way hotter than in São Paulo, about 35°C.
We’ve never been to this part of Brazil, the northeastern coast, and we wanted to escape the rain and floods down South. It’s awful to travel in bad weather, regardless of the actual temperature—I remember Australia in 2010 where the rain followed us all the way down to Queensland. We know very little about the area and it was a last-minute decision but I can’t wait to see the beach… judging by what we saw from the plane, it should be all good.