Finally a new blog about my new life
brand new: My New Life in Brazil!!! Check it out!
brand new: My New Life in Brazil!!! Check it out!
I will definetly start a new blog in 2007. Once is it up and running I will put the address here. Otherwise you can contact me via email on my hotmail account (vfrare at hotmail dot com). Sorry to dissapoint but I have been having some new ideas and at the same time there is all the work to put together my new company. So once 2007 kicks in I will let you know about the new blog.
Today I wanted to write a bit about being back in Brazil. During the week I had to face lots of people on the shops, gym, hair dresser and so on. It is amazing how nice people are over here. Most of them smile all the time, say goodmorning, thank you, introduce their names before they talk to you. Quite another world from Dubai.
Moreover the country is experiencing a huge crisis in the airport scene. There was an air crash a few months back and they found out that the air traffic controlers were understaffed and overstressed. So they went on strike to demand better working conditions and started working up to international standards! What happened? The whole system is collapsing. Flights are delayed, there are days when major airports have to close down because there are just too many flights taking off or landing, etc. It is a huge and embarrasing mess. However, people have been quite nice to each other at the airports. It this were to happen in a place like Dubai or India people would start killing each other. Over here what we hear is: Ok, so I have time for another beer, or: let's all share a rented car and go by road. Brazilians are a nice bunch of people.
Just take a look at Paradise Brazil
Why is it that in the richest country in the world, with one of the most dynamic economies the airlines do not make money? Why is it that Americans get the worst on board service in the world?
I flew American Airlines to the US and it was appaling! The airplanes are old, dirty and the seats very uncomfortable. The crew was even older than the airplanes and there was one who looked like a Christmas Tree. The food is made for people on a diet. If you want a beer or a glass of wine you have to pay $5! For a pair of headsets, to watch those TVs on the ceiling $2!!! What a difference from Emirates or any other European airline!
As I was traveling with ID90 tickets I could not complain. I was happy there was a seat for me!
Yesterday I finally made it to Los Angeles. However when the plane flew over the city I got scared by the size of it. It is massive!!! Than all of those scenes from all of those movies about all of those murders, guns, shootings, Crash! and so on came to my mind. I had to find my way thru the maze of freeways!!!
Got to the car rentar company and the attendant was so nice he gave me an upgrade. Instead of a small sized car he gave me a super sized one, a Chrysler very well fit to middle aged American men. So there I was, lost in Los Angeles, with a huge car quite bulky to drive. Than the battery on my cellphone went dead. Nobody to call for help. So I decided to take the San Diego freeway to try to get as close to San Diego as I could.
Massive traffic. Sheik Zayed Road in Dubai is nothing compared to the Freeways in California. Plus, I was tired, hungry, scared and did not know what to do nor where to go. Oh, my credit card was maxed out so it was useless.
Somewhere in Orange County I managed to get off the Freeway to get something to eat. Kept on going until I was dead tired and found a motel in San Clemente, close to Laguna Beach. Today I managed to get to my friends house in San Diego. Will stay here until tomorrow afternoon. Than make my way back to LA. At least now I am more used to my super sized car and to the traffic on the freeways.
Today I am off to Napa Valley to visit wineries. Contrary to the film I am not riding with my bachelor friend in pursuit of pleasures before my wedding. I am with Paola, Patrick, Diego and Isabel. It is a beautiful day here in the Bay Area. Aparently it has never been this nice this time of the year. Maybe I brought the good weather ;-)
Yesterday Paola and I spent the day in San Francisco. We went to the SFMoma, Museum of Modern Art and shopped for the rest of the day. It was black friday, the day after Thanksgiving and all shops go on discounts for up to 75%!!! Needless to say there was a mob in town desperate for the good bargains.
In the evening we did theatre with Patrick. 'Doubt' was the play. An amazing performance. Should go to the theatre more often.
This is a typical American holiday. Today all families will gather and eat turkey. Tomorrow is a big day for sales and everybody goes crazy trying to get good deals once the stores are open.
The weather could not be better. It is a cool California day without a single cloud in the sky. I am staying with old time friends and their children and enjoying them very much. The last time I was here Paola had just gotten pregnant with Diego. Today he is 7 years old and Isabel is 3!
Time flies by to quickly. I wish I could be more often with more people but the world is still not as small as I wish. But today I give thanks to airplanes, the internet, telephone calls, credit cards and the post office which makes it less painful to be away!
After one of the longest trips of my life I finally landed in San Francisco. Spent the day with Paola downtown and now am half dead. Will stay here for Thanksgiving.
That time of the month is coming in Dubai when the rosters for next month start to materialise. Why is it that we all get disapointed when we finally see what the next month will be like?
Typical Cabin Crew attitudes and behaviours are:
-The SFS or FG1 who knows that all other grades do not have their rosters yet and walks into the briefing room holding the paper and discussing the flights for next month with the other SFS or FG1 just to show off and make the others, specially the poor G2s jealous.
-The poor G2 who is going on leave next month and will only find out if he/she got the days off before or after the leave in order to change the annual leave ticket around the 28th of the month. It is usually too late. Many calls to the CCM will follow, specially when the very intelligent Canadian system for bidding gives him/her five days off, a Damascus and than the leave! So typical!
-The bastard who manages to get all the flights he/she bid for and needs to tell it out loud in the crew bus to the other tired crew who will be doing the shit left over.
-The thick lipped Egyptian who will immediately cross out all the flights she/he will call sick for next month.
-The dumb girl who will complain that the bidding system is shit, that the old bidding was much better, that back than she would get all the flights she wanted. Not knowing that the real problem lies in her brain and in her lack of intelligence to bid properly.
-The desperate crew who will start calling EVITA around the 15th of the month just in case the rosters are already out. But remember: YOU DO NOT HAVE ANY CHANGES!
-The whole unfairness of it all since those who did not want that Osaka will get it while you, who have bid thousands of points for it, get that Cairo or Ryad when you also bid thousands more to avoid Middle East.
-What about that very typical girl who looks at the roster and says: Where is LHR? What is CU? Do we fly to Jakarta???
Did I forget anything as basic as these????
It is not because I am Brazilian or just because I was born and lived here until I was 20 that it makes it easy to come back. In fact I look at this place more or less like a foreigner without being one. It makes it a little complicated. Therefore I decided to create a new name for this place: Belindia.
Belindia is the combination of Belgium and India. At times Brazil looks like Belgium at others (many others) it feels like I am in India (without the Indians though, gladly).
On my first day I went straight to the mall and got a new SIM card for my mobile. Very efficient, very Belgium. Going out of the mall there was a huge slum and because of the tropical rainstorm the power had gone off and the traffic lights were not working. Very India indeed. I guess I will end up learning how to live with these two extremes quite soon. At least my family lives on the Belgium side!
The main issue this far has been the transition from a protected and well planned routine in Dubai to the uncertainties of being back here. For the time being I am at my parent´s, which is comfortable but not private at all. Than there is the ´heart´ factor since I left my heart in Garhoud. There is also the loads of people around, who want to see me, ask questions, give advice, etc. It is nice but sometimes I get overwhelmed with too much noise around.
Well, yesterday I closed a deal with two friends and we are opening our own business in February. More to come. For the time being I will just be patient and wait for it all to sink in!
Brazil looks like a giant broccoli country from far above. It was amazing to realise how green and full of forests this country really is. All the way from Sao Paulo to Curitiba all I could see was Broccoli (this is how the trees look from the plane).
I arrived safely in Curitiba after a long long long journey from Sheik Zayed Road. It took me over 1 hour to check in in Dubai because off my excess luggage. I had 86 kilos. Could carry only 46. The main problem was to have all of the 3 suitcases weighting less than 32 kilos each, the limit. So I spent the entire morning shifting stuff from one suitcase to the other. But at the end it all worked out fine and I did not have to pay as much excess luggage as I thought.
The big surprise was to find Carla, a Brazilian friend who works for Emirates, in the same flight. We sat together and drank a lot of Champagne from Business Class all the way from Dubai to Paris. From Paris to Sao Paulo the flight was overbooked and we did not manage to impress the Air France crew as to get an upgrade. All seats were taken and I came squashed on a window seat.
Everybody in Brazil kept telling me to be prepared to wait for hours at the airport in Sao Paulo since there have been major problems with the air traffic controllers after the Gol Airline crash last month. The average delays are around 10 hours. I arrived in Sao Paulo at 8 am and had a connection to Curitiba booked for 16:30 so was not really stressed. When I checked in the TAM counter they rushed me to the aircraft which was leaving in 30 minutes and arrived in Curitiba for lunch. My brother was at the airport waiting for me!!!
I really dont know how to explain my feelings today. Guess with all the lack of sleep and jet lag things get a bit confusing. Moreover I tried to sleep but couldnt so I managed to unpack those 86 kilos, drive to the mall to get a new SIM card and visit a friend. By the way, my new mobile number is +55 41 9861 7551.
On Monday I am off to California. Will now get some sleep and tomorrow will try to explain how I feel...
Já estou imaginando a minha chegada ao Brasil. Antes de apertarmos os cintos o aviao vai fazer um vôo panorâmico da costa brasileira. Verei Salvador, Mació, Recife e o Rio. Nos altos falantes estará tocando Aquarela Brasileira...
...Brasil, meu Brasil brasileiro, meu mulato e zoneiro, vou cantar-te nos meus versos...
Tocará também o Samba do Aviao do Jobim: minha alma canta, vejo o Rio de Janeiro, estou morrendo de saudades...
Ao sair do aviao a bateria do Salgueiro estará me esperando. Giselle Bündchen vai me levar até o carrossel das malas onde Marisa Monte estará tocando violao caso as malas demorem para sair. Nao precisarei parar na alfândega pois os policiais da Receita Federal me levarao direto para o check in da Tam. Lá, as mocinhas de batom vermelho me darao as boas vindas ao Brasil, outra vez.
Caso tenha que esperar muito tempo no aeroporto para a conexao a Curitiba, baianas ofereceram acarajé grátis, suco de cajú e até água de côco. Haverá um show do Gilberto Gil no saguao do aeroporto e aulas de capoeira para passar o tempo.
Ah, como eu gosto do Brasil!!!