Thursday, December 28, 2006

Final Day in Foz

The final day in Foz, I head into town to attempt cash machines (again), and wander the town, though I don't feel comfortable here. It may be because there seems to be nowhere "safe" to me, as a gringo, to hang out. By safe, I don't mean in terms of security, more "easy"! No smart air-conditioned Starbucks, with the same menu as back home and a credit-card machine that will work - you get the idea. Nowhere anonymous I suppose. Plus it's stinking hot, though I've said enough about that already! I settle for a cappuccino (horrible - more like a cup of cream) and a pastry in Maria y Maria cafe, which reminds me slightly of office canteens back home, or Ikea without meatballs and cranberry sauce. The Two Marias, followed by a bit of net access somewhere to catch up on the COLT gossip via quick MSN chat with soon-to-be ex-COLT Shaq.

To the airport. Tantalisingly they have wifi but no actual net connection! How irritating! I check in, and am told ominously that the flight will be delayed, but they don't know for how long yet, and will make announcements in due course. Given that the flight is supposed to be in an hour anyway, this is not good. Ah well, no point in worrying about that which is outside my sphere of influence. I get comfy in the lounge, using the opportunity to write, first a couple of emails, then a couple more, and by the end of the delay I have written to about half the people in my address book and created my genius photo-shop collage (please send all applications to give me a designer job to the usual unmanned post box). Which reminds me, I pop a couple of postcards into a yellow post box there, and the bottom falls out of the box! It wasn't me, guv! I figure that the postie forgot to lock the thing - hopefully the same won't happen to the next person who uses it.

I've seen rooster-tails behind speed-boats before but never a flight taking off..

End up arriving in Rio at 11pm. Amusingly the TAM check-in is heaving. And I thought it was just mid-morning chaos on the day I first arrived in Brazil! Get to the main bus station, the extremely hard for me to pronounce (correctly) "Rotoviaria" (Rotovi-arrrria) by 12 midnight, passing by the Christ statue far in the distance (yay!). Bus at 4am. Nowhere to run to, nowhere to hide. I wander around. I sit. I wander around again. It's 12:45am and a temperature gauge is reading 30 deg C, plus it's humid as hell. I leave my main bag at the luggage store, where they recommend I try a "Cheeseburger Al Forno" at the greasy spoon bar across the way. I order this and an expresso. No expresso, but they have strong coffee in expresso cups instead. I also pick up a sweet ginseng fruit drink thing.

I try for wifi. No wifi. I'm fairly impressed I even took laptop out. All I can say is that extreme boredom forces risks! I must mention that I'd finished all my books. Nothing to read but a touristy pamphlet in Spanish that I'd picked up as a translation task, but of course I'm far to lazy to attempt this! The roar of fans dominates the place. People doze on seats with arms wrapped around their bags. Weirdos shuffle, as do I with two more hours to wait. Cleaners section off bits of floor and mop away. I watch the floor dry.

Tii iiii me is on maaaa side, oh yes it iiis..

Bus leaves at 4am. Brand new clean and exciting Mercedes bus. I'm impressed, and admire the interior for all of five seconds before falling asleep. We take a fun coastal road, veering left and right, left and right, following the BR101 road from Rio to Sao Paulo. It's freezing cold and everything but my current shorts and a t-shirt is in the hold. Colder and colder. I start trying to remember the early symptoms of hypothermia but brain doesn't work in sub-zero temperatures. Suddenly the sun comes up, and thaws the air-conditioning, giving a brief respite till the bugger starts dripping on me! Dammit! As revenge I use one of their nice new headcovers to soak up the water, though I later feel guilty for the petty behaviour. The views are beautiful with the sun shimmering on the water, but I can't keep my eyes open to enjoy the view.

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