Saturday, December 20, 2008

From Belo to Rio

I didn't sleep at all well during the night - having bad nights for many weeks now. Even dreaming that I'm dreaming and within the dream. All to do with work, stress, eating badly, no exercise and all that stuff.

Worked on a few things on the computer, downloaded some more old books about voyages from Google and Gutenberg.

Went back to bed, woke up a bit later than normal, struggled with things to do that were of any use.

Sun broke weak and what strength there was was soon masked by light clouds. At least it isn't raining today.

Remembered just in time to take the sheets to the laundry, shopped for useless snacks to munch on so I didn't have to cook lunch. Drank too much Chilean wine, packed and headed for the airport.

What would look like the usual chaos of travel at Christmas time greeted me. The difference was the milling crowds weren't milling because there was an excessive number - just that check in for three flights was being handled by three people.

I managed to select a slightly shorter queue in 'domestic' even though my flight was connecting to an international flight in Rio de Janeiro.

Of course then there was the x-ray check and pass control. Another long queue that went in fits and starts. Eventually I discovered why: there were only two x-ray machines for three international flights. And after them, in the same small hall, pass control.

Which of course was also being handled by two people. At every stage no-one really seemed to know what they were doing and were constantly asking their colleagues.

I already know from bitter experience how disorganized Sao Paulo airports are, and how dishevelled Rio's are. Belo's airport was obviously designed, built and equipped by the same company that has done airports in Italy. Same soulless metal, p[astic and tortured 'work' flow. It always amazes me that so many architects never seem to live in the same world as those who must suffer the consequences of their 'innovative, advanced, concepts'. In Brasil its worse as they all seem to suffer from the Niemeyer Syndrome - man reduced to automaton by swirls of brutal concrete wastelands.

One thing for sure is that in every airport I have been in in Brasil, even the idea of organization and service is non-existent. 'Ordem e progreso' - order and progress - the motto on Brasil's flag, can only mean disorder and decline when having anything to do with its transport network (amongst other things).

We landed, way too late as the plane waited for people to dribble through the controls in Belo, in Rio. Where of course there was absolutely no help and no support.

By the time I had worked my way through the entire length of its two terminals, the gate was closed. Fine - if ever I am in Brasil again, I will not fly TAM (for what that's worth - Gol/Varig are just as bad. Its like flying in Italy. Avoid it if possible.

No matter in the end - OK to take the even-later (1am) American Airlines flight to Miami and then Dallas. Wandered around the brutally desolate departure area in Rio's airport, bought Marcia the recipe book she wanted, a tasteless coffee for me and found a power outlet for the Mac so I'm OK for part of the flight.

The American Airlines plane arrived a little late, but not so much to delay departure significantly. AA still uses old planes on these flights - old heavy monitors with their worn out color, scuffed and rubbed chairs and tables. Who cares? I'm going to sleep.

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