Friday, January 8, 2010
Crossing the threshold.
It’s our first night in Brazil!
The trip really started yesterday. The journey from Halifax to Florianopolis is more than 24 hours total. We had some long layovers, though – five hours in Toronto and another four hours in Sao Paulo.
Traveling that long with a three-year-old is challenging. But for the most part, Aya was a peach. We figure she’s been on about two-dozen flights now, so she’s turned into a real pro. As for me…not so much. There’s always some little snag. This time it was my belt. The buckle busted as I was taking it off for security. So there I was, walking around the Sao Paulo airport trying to keep my drawers hiked up as I hustled out carry-on baggage around the airport. The cheapest belt in the airport duty free was $200 US. I might have looked like an idiot, but I’m no fool. I wasn’t about to spend that kind of money on a belt I didn’t really want. Luckily, Liz jury-rigged a repair using a ribbon from her carry on baggage. Gotta love her for her resourcefulness.
We also ran into some company. Liz’s brother was supposed to come down and join us at some point in the next three weeks. But he surprised us in the Toronto airport by joining us on the same flight down! His buddy works for Air Canada, so he can fly anywhere he wants for next to nothing. The flight to Brazil cost something like $60 and he got bumped up to first class. Must be nice.
At Sao Paulo, we had a planned rendevous with our old friend Melissa, who has married Brazilian and been living down here for 7 years. She introduced me to Liz ten years ago. It was her first time meeting our daughter, too. It was a sweet moment. She’ll be joining us in Florianopolis in about a week.
When we arrived in Florianopolis, our concierge was waiting for us. My wife Liz is a world-class planner who really thinks of everything. She found an American woman in Florianopolis who freelances as a concierge/tour guide/fixer. She picked us up at the airport and got us to our house. She is also going to make sure I find the jiu jitsu academy in time for class Monday! Here’s her website http://www.helpmefloripa.com/
Liz found our house online. She wanted something really special since we’re staying three weeks in the same spot. It’s an all-concrete house. Not a stick of lumber was used in its construction. It was built on the edge of a native forest without displacing a single tree. It features huge windows and won’t require any artificial light during the daytime. It has a great kitchen and a huge outdoor living area with a Brazilian-style BBQ and pizza over. We were told we’d see monkeys, but haven’t yet. Aya’s going to love that. We did see a butterfly so big we thought it was a bat. And the house has geckoes, which reminds us a lot of Maui.
So far, the whole place reminds me a bit of Maui, though admittedly I’ve hardly seen any of it. But there is a certain laid-back air to both places. A big difference seems to be that people drive like maniacs here, so that will take some getting used to.
Tonight we just had time to get settled. We picked up some groceries and take-out Brazilian food. Now it’s time for some much-needed rest. The concierge’s boyfriend is a chef and he’s coming over to teach us how to make some Brazilian dishes tomorrow. No jiu jitsu until Monday, so I can use the next two days in full to explore.