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Entries about air travel

São Paulo airport

Be prepared for chaos

overcast 27 °C
View Brazil 2009 - 2012 on erodrigo's travel map.

Landing at São Paulo airport turned out te be a scary event for almost everybody on the airplane.
After a flight of 11½ hours, starting in Amsterdam airport, we approached São Paulo. It had already been a very bumpy ride the moment we hit the South American continent. As soon as we where above Brazil the turbulence started and the pilot requested everybody to go sit down and put their seatbelt on. But close to São Paulo he said to the flight crew to go sit down, but his warning came just a few seconds to late.

Before the flight crew reached their seat they where rolling around in the cabin, we had hit an air pocket. A loud scream of frightened people roared trough the plain. I just looked at one of the stewardesses and saw she was not in panic so I relaxed. After another 5 minutes of bumping around we hit the landing strip of São Paulo airport and a loud applause from the people on the aircraft filled the air. I never understood this phenomena because the pilots are justr doing their job. But I guess in this case everybody was very happy and thankful we made it to the airport alive.

São Paulo airport is very hectic and it is very hard to find your way when you are in transit. Since I had to catch another plane, to another city within Brazil I had to gather all my luggage and go trough customs. So waiting at the bagage belt for a long time, my backpack finally arrived, and after another long wait at the customs I was in the arrivals hall with no idea where to go for national flights. Luckely I speak a little Portuguese so I could ask the airport officials. Do not aspect that all offilcials at the airport speak English, only a few do so be prepared if you have to ask your way around.

The airport is a chaos and after asking and looking I fianally found the check-in for national flights. Here I had to stand in line for another half hour before I could finally check-in. Luckely I had 3 hours for my transit, because only after 2½ hours all the official fuss was over and I had my boarding pass. So with half an hour to spare I could go find gate 3 which the ticket said would be the gate for boarding. But on arrival in the domestic pier the computer screen said my gate would be 1A. So I walked up to the people at gate 3 and asked if this was still the gate for Porto Alegre and they said yes. So I waited for some 10 minutes and went to the computer screen again and it still said gate 1A. I decidsed to go to the down stair area of the airport where gate 1A is situated. In this area there are three gates next to each other 1A, 1B and 1C.

Upon asking one of the people behind the desks, he said just look on all three screens and see on which Porto Alegre will appear. And when it was time for the plain to leave on schedule finally the name of Porto Alegre appeared on the screen of gate 1C. So we could board and with a delay of 30 minutes the plain left São Paulo airport. But without some of the people I had spoken earlier at the check-in. They came in on the same flight as me from Amsterdam and where from France. I guess with all the changing of the gates (From, 3 to 1A to 1C) they got lost at the airport and missed their connecting flight.

So come to São Paulo airport well prepared for some chaos.

Posted by erodrigo 17:42 Archived in Brazil Tagged air_travel Comments (0)


Where to eat

semi-overcast 30 °C
View Netherland Antilles June 2008 on erodrigo's travel map.

Bonaire, after Curaçao and Aruba I arrived at Bonaire. What a difference, you will hardly believe. Although it is part of the same group as Aruba and Curaçao it springs out positive. In nature and quietness. It is much more relaxed and quite than the other two and has one very BIG advantage. It is in the top three of best diving sites in the world.
What a place to have a cold. Yes that is the lucky side of me. I am finally here and after two dives I have to stop because I have a cold.

But I have to tell you where to eat, because you have places to eat and then you have two restaurants where you really want to eat; La Salsa and it rains fishes at the Kralendijk promenade in the city Kralendijk.
The food is the best I tasted so far in every restaurant I have visited in the last two weeks and is even better than many restaurants I have visited around the world.
The service is likewise and the personnel is very friendly.
Tips for restaurants in Bonaire:
1. La Salsa:
Great food and likewise service
1. It rains fishes: if your a fish lover; same quality and services as La Salsa
2. La Guernica: Good Spanish based food and great service
3. City Cafe: Service is good and friendly but food is just like any other pub around the world. Not bad but not great either
4. Rum runners: Service is slow and the food is just under average. The view is marvelous

Do not go to Le Flamboyant. The food is overcooked or burned and the service is just lousy.
They serve you food spill it over your clothes and don't even bother to say sorry or offer help in cleaning it. They just say there are the napkins.

Posted by erodrigo 15:50 Archived in Netherlands Antilles Tagged air_travel Comments (0)


If you like beaches

semi-overcast 30 °C
View Netherland Antilles June 2008 on erodrigo's travel map.

Of the three islands I visit this trip, Aruba, Bonaire and Curaçao, I think for me this is the least interesting island. Since I am not a beach bum and am interested in nature and culture there is hardly anything for me here. Except for a lighthouse and a road with 14 crosses that ends up at a little chapel. The road is walked by the local people every year on Good Friday and they pray at every cross of the 14 there.
Well that where the highlights ;-)

If you like beaches and American culture (McDonalds, Wendy's, Dunkin Donuts etc etc) you will have a blast on this island.
But like I said; not me so after two days I left the place and went for Bonaire; where there is more to see for someone like me.

Posted by erodrigo 16:03 Archived in Aruba Tagged air_travel Comments (0)


Netherlands Antilles

semi-overcast 28 °C
View Netherland Antilles June 2008 on erodrigo's travel map.

Today I left Curaçao to fly to Aruba and after Aruba I will fly to Bonaire. So When I get back home again I will have seen three of the six Dutch tropical islands.
Who ever said it always rains and it is cold in the Netherlands was not paying attention ;-)

Although I have only seen Curaçao I must say I am positively surprised. There is much more to see and do on the island than what I thought could be found. I thought Curaçao was like Aruba, all beach with only one difference a very beautiful capital; Willemstad. Willemstad is really worth a visit, it historic centre is well preserved and the look of the old Dutch houses in these bright colors is absolutely wonderful.

But there is a load more to Curaçao. But do not take a normal East-West tour, ask a cab driver to show you all the beautiful places of the island, because you get to see much more wonderful places in a much shorter time and the
good part is you can get out of the car when ever you want. The tour busses only stop a few times and not always at the best places.
If you are lucky like me and have a friend on the island ask her or him to show you Curaçao. I am sure you are amazed just like I was.


But internet is slow in many places so always save your work before uploading it to your site or blog

Posted by erodrigo 14:05 Archived in Netherlands Antilles Tagged air_travel Comments (0)

Marsa Alam - Dolphin House Reef

Flipper where are't though?

semi-overcast 25 °C
View Egypt December 2007 on erodrigo's travel map.

Today we went to Gabal el Rosas, a really beautiful reef near our Brayka Bay Reef hotel in Marsa Alam. The first drop off is until 20 meters. And there are some pinnacles at 30 meters, but the long reef at 20 meters is absolutely beautiful so you don’t need to waist your air and go deeper.
We went in a zodiac to the drop off point and that was an adventure in itself. The red sea is still very stormy and we had waves up to two meters. But the reef was worth the circus ride.
Yesterday we went on the sheiks yacht to Dolphin house reef. The Red sea was even more rocky then today and we had waves up to 4 meters. Though we looked very hard there were no dolphins to be found. We made two dives. One on the east point and one on the west point of the reef. But Flipper and his friends never showed up. Guess a Dolphin isn’t a friend of man after all? Or maybe our group wasn’t human enough. Well it didn’t matter because the reef is wonderful with lots to see. So go there anyway if you’re ever in the neighborhood. It’s also good for snorkeling.
On the way back the boat had it rough and it was rocking and rolling, but not the people. Some people went sick, but well shit happens.

Posted by erodrigo 16:35 Archived in Egypt Tagged air_travel Comments (0)

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