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Posts Tagged ‘Travel’

PostHeaderIcon Day 1 in Brazil

It’s hard to believe it’s been four years since Chris, Andy and myself were in South Africa for the 2010 FIFA World Cup but that’s exactly what it has been.  
This year there is just Chris and myself, and due to poor planning by my parents and getting married 50 years ago during the first week of July and expecting us to visit them for such an anniversary, this will be a much shorter trip of just 12 days.  Not to worry though we’ll still have plenty of observations to share and we’ll get to see 4 games.

Today Chris and I both arrived in Recife from our different starting points, I travelled from Boston to JFK, then JFK to Sao Paolo, Sao Paalo was an absolute zoo, initially we weren’t allowed off the plane due to there being too many people in the passport control areas.  After 15 minutes we got let off the plane, which released us into a line that took over an hour to progress through to get our passports stamped.  Eventually I was able to collect my bags, go through customs then drop my bag off for my next leg, which meant I could then join another really long line to go through security for my flight to Recife.  To be fair, most evenings are like this at Logan when all the international flights arrive at Terminal E at the same time.  Peoples spirits seemed high, and when the Brazilian pilot came on the air to apologize to the Argentinian fans on the plane, because the Brazilians were going to beat them, that got a huge cheer and was pretty funny.

So after arriving in Recife I met up with Chris who had arrived a couple of hours earlier, and we picked up our rental car.  We soon discovered that very few Brazilians speak English and we’d be having to using Bing translate a fair bit to get by.  Walking out of the terminal in Recife you would swear you were at the Miami terminal in Florida, the heat suddenly hits you and no one is speaking English. we picked up the rental car, which is a sexy little number (not really), it’s a tiny Fiat UNO.  What is it with Italians, do they all have super narrow feet? The brake pedal and clutch in the Uno are almost touching each other and there is a big block to the left of the brake pedal, so people with feet wider than a box matches will find it tight. I certainly find it pretty difficult to have my feel on the clutch and the brake at the same time, which made driving in Recife traffic pretty tricky.  It’s not just the Fiat UNO, I remember many years ago I didn’t choose an Alfa Romeo as a company car because the pedal spacing was so small (and I wanted some reliability), anyway, we got the car and started driving with the gaol of going to Recife Shopping to pickup our World Cup tickets.  In hindsight we should have loaded up the GPS etc before we started moving, so after a short drive I pulled to the side and we set up Waze and found our target location. We both almost shat our pants when the GPS took us on a very dodgy shortcut to avoid traffic and someone set of some firecrackers nearby.

If you’ve ever driven in a major city like Boston, London or New York, you probably think you’ve seen bad drivers, I can tell you with 100% certainty, you have not.   Here it’s amazing cars are all over the place and motorbikes, oh my goodness, these people are an inch away from death, they are just zipping all over the place with no regard for how hard and how much cars can hurt.  Think the pot holes in Boston are bad?  They’re nothing, here pot holes have cliff faces for the car to try and climb up and down, they supposedly haven’t finished some of the stadiums, they certainly haven’t finished the roads.  The drive to our hotel in Joao Pessoa from Recife took us about 2 hours to drive 65 miles.  We saw some gorgeous scenery along the way, donkeys pulling carts, almonds being sold at the side of the road and about 30 speed cameras.

Finally after leaving my house at 12pm yesterday, we got to the hotel at about 4.50pm, just in time to catch Brazil ply Croatia in the opening match.

Due to our location just south of the equator, sunset is right around 5.30 which took us a little but by surprise, tomorrow we’ll get to check
out the beach and local shops. More later time to catch up on some sleep.

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PostHeaderIcon Road work between Johannesburg and Durban

Please Don't Kill Us

This roadwork sign says it all….