Friday, July 29, 2011

We’re a long way from Buchanan Toto

I landed in Sao Paulo yesterday morning after a red eye from Toronto.  Flying in it seemed like the city went on forever.  We’re accustomed to North American cities where the high rises are concentrated in one central area and then the city sprawls out from that centre.  Sao Paulo doubtless has a core but you sure couldn’t tell from the air.  There were high rise buildings clustered in probably 20 or more locations over the space of 10 minutes.  Wikipedia says a Boeing 767-300 cruises at 530 MPH so even allowing some slowdown as we got closer to approach we still covered 60 to 80 miles in that time and we didn’t fly over the whole city by any stretch. 

Air Canada did well on the flight.  There was one “customer service” agent in Regina who fully lived up to their current motto – we’re not happy until you’re not happy – but otherwise their staff were pleasant and efficient.  Her big concern was that my name on my ticket showed as R Evans while my name in my passport shows as Robert Evans.  I pointed out to her that I had typed Robert into her damned website but it had converted that to R because I am Aeroplan member number one.  I’m sure my Aeroplan card is the oldest one still in use.  Its so old it only has 9 digits in my number and they need 10 now.  Her only response was to point out that my ticket said “R” which I already knew.  She thought I should change my information in my Aeroplan account which doubtless would have taken her less than 10 seconds while she had it up on her screen and equally doubtless will take me half an hour if I care to go through the agony on their website.  Since my goal in life is to avoid flying as much as possible and to fly Air Canada only as a last resort it seems like a low return effort to change my name on their webform.

We’re just outside of Uberaba, Minas Gerais, Brazil.  I had to look on a map to see where Brazil was when Growsafe said they were sending me down here.  Maybe its just me but I think us northern hemisphere types tend to forget that there’s actually half of the world where the sun sets in the north.  If you follow that hyperlink you’ll see that Uberaba is fairly centrally located in a BIG freaking country.  They’re three time zones different from real time which makes for some strange mealtimes but they seem to eat a lot so its not that bad.  And they have these awesome cheese buns where the cheese is right inside a tiny little bun with the most wonderful crunchy crust.  And they seem to eat them pretty well non-stop all day, always fresh out of the oven.  And the coffee – oh man do they know how to make coffee.

Its winter here now but winter at 20 degrees of latitude isn’t all that bad for a kid from Saskatchewan.  I’ll post again with some pictures of the goofy looking bulls they raise here.  They’re not Zebu but that’s the only goofy cow name I can think of right now.  Its some name I had never heard of but one thing this trip is hammering into me is that there is a huge big world out there that has nothing to do with North America and is doing just fine anyway thank you very much.

We’re not completely disconnected from North America however.  The doberman – the very heavy set, muscular, vicious doberman – that guards the property at night is named Obama.  I think he has a better chance of getting elected the next president of the US than his more famous namesake but that’s a subject for another post too.

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