10/26/07

Sao Paulo Guarulhos Airport, Brazil


Welcome to the land of caipirinhas, Gisele Bundchen and Havaianas! Being sleep deprived after some 8 hours on a cattle class flight from New York and a layover of 6 hours inside Sao Paulo´s Guarulhos airport isn´t really as bad as I thought. I dreaded initially the idea of being imprisoned in an airport for so long - I wouldn´t mind though if it´s Dubai or Singapore´s Changi (my eternal favorites) - but after clearing the friendly immigration and customs at this gateway to Brazil, I felt, well, if they have the Amazon for the intrepid adventurers to discover, then this airport must have at least something worthy for me to kill the time with. I´m waiting for my 3:30 p.m. flight via TAM airlines to my ultimate Brazilian destination: Foz du Iguacu.

The flight from New York was delayed for an hour - this while we were already inside the cabin of an American Airlines Boeing 777 - so imagine my anxiety building up. Thankfully, I had with me the book I just got for a nice read: The Best American Travel Writing as edited by one I truly admire, Tim Cahill. I wasn´t really surprised that our AA Flight 951 to Sao Paolo was delayed. This past summer, flights out of New York´s major airports (and virtually all over the country) have seen massive delays and massive anger from frustrated passengers. One of my patients that I recently took care of happened to be a former Air Traffic Controller - she was actually venting her frustration too that part of the reason for this problem is the shortage of certified controllers manning the airports and the airspace of the entire United States!!! She actually left the job after feeling too stressed out, dreading about worst case scenarios regarding air travel should the federal government not address this problem now. Ouch, that looks like disaster with a capital D.

With the free ticket I got from American Airlines, one would think I would be grateful enough not to comment on the inflight service - or the lack of it. It´s truly a given that American carriers are not known in the service industry for that, at least in the economy class section of the planes. It´s at this point when I feel my knees knocking on the seat in front of me that I wish I´m aboard Cathay Pacific, Emirates or Singapore Airlines - they´re the Queens of Economy Class, I tell you. On this particular long-haul flight, I asked for an eye mask as I´m not the kind that could easily be in dreamland while everyone parades before me next to my aisle seat and ambient light seeps into my eyelids. "No, we don´t have" was all the bald, raffish-looking male flight attendant could offer me. Oh, there goes my dreamland - why oh why did I forget to bring my own? I should just have taken a Benadryl but I didn´t have that either.

The meal service is something else. Thanks for my nagging hunger earlier at JFK (I just went straight to the airport with my backpack after work!), I had dinner at one of their fastfood restaurants or else, what amounts to an anorexic´s diet would have been served on my American Airlines dinner tray. I looked at it - the salad was so anemic it begged for some sunshine. In lieu of a proper dessert - a fruit or a slice of cake at least - they skimp on a poor bag of cookies!!! I bet, this must be American Airlines´ way of addressing the burgeoning obesity problem among Americans.

If there´s one consolation, it´s the electronic check-in counters that´s now available even with American Airlines flights to other countries. Oh, they´re a traveller´s best friend in the airport really! All I need was just my flight and passport information and voila, the sleek machine vomited my boarding pass without the risk of varicose veins had I queued with the kilometric line at the regular check-in counter.


We landed in Sao Paulo Guarulhos International Airport quite smoothly that I barely noticed the gears making that usual "thud". As soon as I cleared customs and immigration (thanks for travelling light, I only had my Eagle Creek Cross Roads convertible backpack plus a daypack), I went straight looking for a phone booth. Due to my own negligent state of mind, I forgot to mail my apartment´s rent check for November yesterday and it travelled with me all the way here! I wouldn´t be back in New York before I pay overdue fees so I´m forced to mail it here. When I checked my envelope, I forgot to write the zip code so I had to call the New York office and thankfully, someone answered and gave me a brighter hope. With that done, and the post office just next to the phone booth, I finally managed to mail the check with the correct zip code. No overdue penalty yehey!

While waiting for my flight, I had to update this blog and oh, there´s some crepe next to this internet cafe and it looks tempting. Why not, a French fare in Brazil is still good eh? I´m starving, no thanks to American Airlines.

1 comment:

  1. ang taray! the list goes on lookitchu u should be a pilot or a flight attendant than a nurse win!

    hugs
    ben

    ReplyDelete

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