From Brazil to USA

Here are some travel notes and a note about UFOs in SJC!

I leave SJC and the ETs show up! Well, at least, UFOs are seen and filmed. Don’t ask me to translate the article …

Sao Paulo airport was busy for a Monday. The bus SJC-GRU which left at 6 p.m. arrived well, then I spent 40 min. in the same spot in the Delta line for Atlanta.

Skies were clear all day Monday in SJC and SP area, temps must have been in the 90s. So we had a smooth takeoff.

Dinner was decent — I’d requested a vegetarian meal –, breakfast included a horrid veggie sandwich. The flight attendant, on giving it to me, mentioned that they had extra croissants, as if she knew the sandwich wasn’t much.

Arrived well in the US. The Atlanta-Memphis flight had a CRJ-400 plane, made, I’m fairly sure, by Embraer, the Brazilian manufacturer with HQ in SJC the Canadian Bombardier. (I flew Delta; Continental flies ERJ-something Houston-Memphis.) But some equipment was buggy, so we spent 40 minutes while the maintenance crew played with it. The CRJ is an agile plane, we just floated off the runway. Sky was cloudless and blue, if hazy, temps a bit nippy. The pilot laid the plane down on the Memphis runway nicely.

Joel has loaned me his car. He, Micah and Valerie met me at the airport. We brunched together at IHOP. I then took the car by myself — without getting sleepy — to Mom and Dad’s in Ark. Spring was in evidence, dogwoods, clover, everything in bloom.

Tomorrow I rest before hitting the road for 4 hours to Alabama on Thursday for the beginning of the retreat that afternoon. My talk is scheduled for Friday afternoon.

Below are some notes I typed on my Neo during the flight, partly just to pass the time.

IN SAO PAULO. Where do I go from Memphis? To mom’s? To Jean’s? Iuka would be closer to Hamilton than Pgould, but I would be dropping in unannounced. I’ll sleep on it, in the plane. Advantage to Pgoud: shorter drive, since I’ll have Joel’s car and will be driving myself.

Called my name — at least I thought it was mine — over the intercom and to check in at United’s Gate 6. Strange, but I went there, no one was at the desk, and when somebody finally showed up, he said no one had called, maybe it was the airport. Go figure.

Our gate is 4A,which is strange since it’s not a loading tube, but we’ll be driven out by bus.

Waiting in line for the xray and for customs, going back and forth through the line, I felt like a steer in a chattle chute. Seems almost inhuman what they do to you. Some people had to remove their shoes for some reason. I’ve never seen that here.

At home Monday afternoon, I bought nuts to eat while I wait to board, to avoid buying some junk food. I got a Sprite down here at the gate, R$4. If I’d known the price I would not have bought it. Ripoff.

I filled up on the nuts, may not eat the airline meal. Then again, for lack of something to do …

ON PLANE BRAZIL-USA. Remind me never again to ask for the veg plate. Breakfast had a horrible veggie sandwich, though the dinner plate wasn’t bad.

I probably slept better this time that others, but still woke up a lot during the night. Ready to get this trip over with. Will be good to see the boys and Val.

I think we still have over an hour left in this flight. … We’re descending, getting ready for landing,but it’ll be a few minutes yet.

ATLANTA. Tues. 7:55 a.m. Smooth. No lines. A whiz throught the Atlanta customs and baggage, shake-down with shoes and xray. Waiting for call for Memphis flight.

Thought about stopping at a coffee shop for breakfast, after the skimpy stuff on the flight, but there’ll be something to eat too on the Memphis flight, so I resisted, as much from the pocket book as from the stomach.

I’m amused by watching people pass by. Imagining what their destinies are, their reasons for travel, the soldiers passing by on their way to their assignments, the expressions on the faces, concentration, frustration, expectation. The shapes — so many of them rounder and plumper than years ago. Their clothes and carry-ons, cell phones, laptops, leisured or hurried (usual) pace. Watching the people helps to pass the time.

J. Randal Matheny

Be pithy.

What do you think?