Here are notes I wrote on my Neo as I returned to Brazil from the US May 13-14.
Journey May 13 2008, 6:35 p.m. EDT
(For a rundown of time while in the US, see here.)
In Atlanta waiting to board the SP flight. The Mem-Atl flight was on an Embraer 170 so maybe I can redeem myself with my friend Americo when I called a Bombardier plane an Embraer product. Check-in at Memphis was quick and painless as usual, Joel took off by 1:25 to avoid paying parking and get back to Henderson in good time.
We left Pgould about 10:40 a.m., lunched in W. Memphis, made it to the airport by 1 p.m. I enjoyed talking with him from Pgould to Memphis, as usual.
I’m resisting buying any food here, not much in the E terminal that interested me. I certainly wasn’t going to buy from McD, though the guy sitting next to me brought a bag from there and the smell is making me hungry.
Joel asked me to take a book to Vicki, and I only had room for it in my shoulder bag, so I’m reading it. Light reading is easier, since there are so many distractions. Heavier reading is tough to do with so much noise and movement and I get really distracted by such. I’m also carrying two DVDs for Leila that Joel sent. Besides a full bag — but it’s small since I try to travel light.
Won’t be a full flight tonight, and the attendant when I checked in said the seat next to me was not assigned and would try to keep it open. So maybe I can get a more decent rest tonight.
The seating config of this Boeing 777-200 is different: 3-3-3. Most have two seats on the outside aisles and five in the middle. So next to me I had a vacant seat and in the aisle seat a personable university student named Tiago from Campinas.
Veggie dinner was again passable, and the breakfast brought a bagle that was far better than the sandwich I still have nightmares about.
In Atlanta a Brazilian woman had five small children with her. All under 8 or 9 years old, four boys and the smallest a girl, who appeared to be handicapped. She was married to an American, living in the US, and going to visit kin in Rio, I think. I pulled a large carry-on on and off the plane for her. She and her gaggle of munchkins sat a couple of rows behind me.
I slept more on the return flight, likely thanks to the empty seat beside me, which allowed me to at least stick a leg over. I think Tiago stayed awake the whole night watching videos and playing games.
The plane was scheduled to arrive at 6:15 a.m., but we set down by 5:30. Immigration was another long wait with lines doubling back on themselves interminably, but I was out by 6:30 or so and headed to buy my bus ticket home.
The bus to SJC left at 8:30 a.m., so I had a bit of a wait, caught a McD breakfast when it opened at 7:00, with tepid coffee and a tasteless egg sandwich. I thought I’d remembered that they had a decent breakfast, but not in the GRU airport, for sure.
I napped on the bus home and beat Vicki and Leila to the front drive of the bus station by a few minutes.