Recife travel notes, Thursday and Friday morning

Thursday, 7:25 p.m.

Here I am sitting in the Guarulhos airport (metro Sao Paulo), with my flight an hour late.

I don’t know if it’s the airline, which I don’t remember using before, or the bad weather, since it’s been raining now for hours. I caught the bus from SJC to here at 3:30 p.m., and we soon hit rain on the road. The breeze and cool night weather makes me wish I’d worn long pants; I kept the bermudas on that I was wearing earlier in the day. I’m also wearing the boat shoes the doctor told me to wear as much as possible, since they allow my feet to get plenty of circulation, which the infection needs to clear up quicker.

I got through the x-ray without having to submit my medicines to its electrons.

Right after I checked in, which went quickly, I sat and transferred some written notes from an older edition of the Total Transformation seminar to the newer one. That took me about 40-50 minutes, I guess.

I’m sitting down at Gate 1-C, where we catch a bus out to the plane. I suppose since OceanAir is a newer airline, they don’t get the best slots. Gol has all Boeing 737-somethings, but I don’t remember seeing what OceanAir flies. I doubt they have as good equipment.

Sitting here typing away to keep the boredom at bay; I tired watching the people look lost and study the flight monitors. At least, the TAM flights have cleared out, so we’re a bit less crowded down here. From the monitor there is only one more flight from here after ours.

So far, the monitor shows us leaving at 8:10 p.m. We’ll see what happens.

Lots of tennis rackets came through earlier. I suspect many were from the Banana Bowl in SJC at the Santa Rita club not far from our house.

I got a small fries and small Guarana at McDonald’s for a criminal price, R$6,50 (@ US$1.67, you figure it) and then ate the chocolate chip cookies Leila sent with me. At home we’d had lunch around 2 p.m., veggie taco salad, and I had two good helpings, so I wasn’t terribly hungry, but figured I’d better get it then or it would be a while before I could eat again. So I’m set for a while.

Still raining out, not hard but a good stready drizzle.

Lady next to me going on same flight apparently, but on to Petrolina. I heard her tell some people her mother died this morning. She sits clutching her boarding pass in both hands.

On the bus here, I slept almost the whole way, was pretty tired. We went to bed past midnight last night and I woke up shortly after 6 p.m. I went to the office for a while this morning and around 11 caught myself nodding off once. That’s a rare thing to happen.

I mentioned on my blog earlier that I got stories up for BNc through Tuesday of next week, some of them I’d been working on for several days, one held back for what I’m not sure, so I went ahead and posted it.

I meant to notify Soline yesterday that I was going to miss swim class because of my foot, but let it slip. I’ll tell him later; I hope my foot is well enough by the time I get back to swim.

It’s 8:15 p.m. and we’re still sitting here. The delayed flight was rescheduled for 8:10, but looks like it will be lots later than that. At times like this it’s good to have a cell phone to be able to notify the host that we’ll be late. …

So we just took a ride out to the place where supposedly our plane was waiting on us. After a long ride, we got out there, stopped in front of a BRA plane and waited for 10-15 minutes. Then we turned around and the driver informed us that we were going back to the terminal since that plane wasn’t ours. “Brincadeira!” exclaimed the gentleman sitting next to me. “They made off with our plane,” I jokingly told him. So here we are again back at the terminal. They say it will be yet another 30 minutes, and here we are at 9 p.m. already. This is a joke.

The gentleman next to me was figgety, kept beating — not tapping — his foot on the floor, twisting in his seat, very impatient.

The BRA plane was ours — borrowed by OceanAir apparently, but the pilot said something about a diskette not uploading for their weather or flight plans or something. The plane is a Boeing 737-300 but ancient. And I’m freezing.

FRIDAY

I slept until after 8 this morning, after the evening’s marathon. Luciano, the Prazeres evangelist, and Helmo brought me to dona Zeze’s house, since Luciano’s was being renovated and added on by the owner.

When I awoke two of the closet doors were open. Dona Zeze’s son Fabio had come in sometime this morning to get his clothes. Americans would never think of walking in on a sleeping guest, but that’s happened to me a number of times in Brazil when traveling to speak and staying in the home of someone from church. Brazilians don’t have the same sense of privacy that Americans do, and it really doesn’t bother me any more, I guess with time and age, I’ve gotten used to it.

I had locked my door when I went to bed, but after getting up and going to the bathroom during the night, it occured to me that the owner of the room might need in here to get his clothes, since I would likely be sleeping later than normal. So I left the door unlocked, and as suspected, Fabio sneaked in, but without waking me. I suppose that’s why he left the closet doors slightly ajar, to not wake me by closing them.

After waking this morning after 8, I laid back down, but didn’t really sleep. I was surprised I slept as late as I did, and thought I might even sleep a bit more. My mind was already in gear, however, so I thought about the day and woke up properly, stretched a good deal, took my 5 drops for my foot infection. Time now for a bath and a bite to eat.

10:30 a.m. I had breakfast and a shower, so I think I’m awake. Breakfast was great. Dona Zeze made fresh grape juice! (She gave me a choice of that or fresh-made apple or orange juice.) Then she toasted whole wheat bread, had some type of delicious soy creme she had made, a light white cheese which I should not have eaten (lactose intolerant) but cut off a small slice of, and a banana to top it all off. I left off the huge papaya and the sweet cookie made with soy.

She worked out with Luciano for me to have lunch here. She’s into natural food, and wanted to prepare an almost vegetarian lunch for me. I think she remembered somewhat from my last visit to Prazeres and certainly from our conversation this morning that I like natural food. She is a widow and her adult son and married daughter with her husband all live here.

The seminar starts tonight, so today is for getting ready or visits or whatever the folks here have in mind. When I was in Salvador with Arthur, he ran my legs off visiting the brethren, which was fun. Luciano may have something in mind —

Was him on the phone. Wants to take me to see a movie this afternoon. He figures that with three classes tonight from 6 to 9:30 or 10 and then the all-day marathon with nine classes from 9 a.m. tomorrow until 6 or so, no need to run me in the ground. Yes, tomorrow will be one of those marathons, where I kill my listeners.

On Sunday, he said, since Prazeres meets at night, he wants to take me to a secluded beach in the morning and then lunch out. This will be a first, since I usually don’t get close to the beach or doing any sightseeing. I’ve traveled dozens of times to places like Recife, Salvador, Rio, Fortaleza, etc., and never got to do much of anything. Usually I’m either teaching or visiting in the brethren’s homes. Which is fine with me, that’s why I go. The last time I was in Salvador, the brothers took me to visit a Christian who is a lifeguard on the beach. He invited me to take a dip, but I had taken no trunks with me, so he found a pair of lifeguard trunks. The two of us got in the water for about 20 minutes — and me with “Lifeguard” written on the trunks — and kept talking about the gospel and the church. Was the kind of visit you’d like to repeat.

Even after 20 minutes, I was a bit burned in the face and on the shoulders.

I wish I weren’t so white, a nice brown would have been nice, but one doesn’t linger on wishing one’s physical characteristics different than what they are. This is the way the good Lord made me, so we’ll take what we’ve been given and make the best of it.

What do you think?