Thursday, September 11, 2008

Farewell Sao Paulo, Hello Rio! Karen in transit on Sept. 11, 2008

Today's Magic Number is EIGHT!

8 Hours - number of hours I am waiting (still) in Sao Paulo airport to fly to Rio.

8 Nights - number of nights I spent at Green Place Flat in Sao Paulo, Brazil, before leaving today.

8 p.m. - Time my flight departs for Rio. It is only an hour, 15 min. flight.
It's strange to be in an airport all day on September 11. I have paid silent tribute to the many victims who died that day. Many were just travelers boarding another airplane to go to their destination...

Karen tries to make her luggage look smaller by crouching down next to it before she left her hotel room in Sao Paulo, Thursday morning.

Call it procrastination or spontaneity, but I thought it would be fun and exciting to show up at the airport at noon today and fly stand-by to Rio. From online research, I knew the flight should cost about $100 reales. At the airport, I went to three airline desks and was quoted $300-$600 for a ticket. I was told it would be cheaper to book on the Internet. So I did. The one flight that was a reasonable price departed at 8 p.m.

Good news: With 8 hours to kill, I have been hanging out all day at a lovely rooftop cafe here at the airport. It has a cityscape view, fresh breeze, decent food and kind waiters. Due to one language mishap, I am now on my fourth bottle of water con gas. Best of all, there are no booming airline announcements broadcast up here.

Flavia Frangetto and I struck up a conversation today at the airport cafe after she and her companion borrowed my flash drive. Here, she displays her doctoral thesis! Flavia is a lawyer and getting her doctorate in environmental law. She is especially interested in global warming issues.

I have been thinking about how much time I have spent on the computer so far this trip. A little weird to be so wired and connected. Today, my technology helped me make an old-fashioned face-to-face connection here at the airport cafe. A gentleman approached me seeing that I was using my Apple laptop, and asked if he could borrow my zip drive. He was sitting at a table next to me and I said sure. When he returned it soon after, I gave him my business card (tireless networker that I am). Turns out he is a professor of environmental studies. After he left, the woman who shared his table came over and introduced herself. And that led to a wonderful conversation with a brilliant and beautiful woman from Sao Paulo, Flavia Frangetto.

Going to go check in now! I have too much luggage! The plan is to stay at a hostel in Rio; I have arranged my reservation online and plan to meet a driver at the airport in Rio. Wish me luck!