Monday, July 30, 2012

Traveling to Brazil

Traveling to Brazil was, gratefully, a breeze. I wasn't sure how far I would need to walk between flights, so I dressed in my most comfy clothes: a long, flowing orange skirt, sleeveless soft t-shirt, and one of my husband's oversized cotton sweaters. Oh, yes, and purple and grey sneakers on my feet.  Not stylish, but it was an overnight flight so I figured, who cares how I look?

My husband got an upgrade to business class for me, so I settled in pretty quickly. As usual, I put all my bags under the seat in front of me. I do this because it feels like an efficient use of space, in order to save the overhead space for others who might need it more than I do, and so that everything I might possibly, conceivably want is at my fingertips. Never know when you might need sunglasses or a flashlight.

The flight attendant must have asked us three or four times to be seated so we could taxi. After each announcement, as if it were a cue, someone would get up and go to the bathroom, or open the overhead bin to retrieve an item. They weren't even rushing! I love the Latino culture. Eventually, everyone was seated, or seated enough for us to get going.

I looked around the business class cabin and realized, I was literally the ONLY one with bags under the seat. At first embarrassed by not following some unwritten rule that maybe I should have known about, I then decided that I would revel in my peasantry. I had another opportunity to strut my common stuff when the flight attendants offered tons of food during the flight. Each time, I responded, "No thank you," as I pulled various foods from my bag, including a complete macrobiotic dinner I had packed. 

When the meal service was done and we all settled in for the night, I realized why there were no bags under the seats: Each seat has FOOTRESTS that extend under the seat in front of you, so you can have your own little insta-bed! Very cool. I could skip the meals but I wasn't missing this! I pressed the button and heard the electronic whir as the footrest eased its way under the seat in front of me, cozying in with the rest of my stuff. 

Once we landed, the really handsome Brazilian gentleman next to me (wearing gorgeous dark blue jeans and nice leather shoes) asked if this was my first time in Brazil. Obvious? 

After going through customs, I waited in airport seating for the rest of my "tour group" and had the opportunity to observe all the well-dressed people in very fine, appropriate and coordinated shoes, walking by me in my orange skirt, oversized sweater, purple sneakers, and Disney-labeled luggage and handbag with Mickey ears hanging from the side. I'm not kidding. The picture-perfect American abroad.

I'm now at the hotel.

It is clean, the food is wonderful, and the people are very nice. I would love a hot-water tap in the sink and the ability to flush toilet paper, but hey, these are small things. I got a footrest!

I meet with everyone else in an hour or two for a tour of the Casa, followed by dinner and rosary. More on that later or tomorrow.

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