10 Things I learned in Brazil.

This seems a little more dramatic than it needs to be, as I was in Sao Paulo for one night only. And that is not a sold out Broadway show. Not yet anyhow.  It’s just me being wisk away across the Atlantic in a metal tube for one meeting and then flying back the next day.

But like anything in life there is always lessons to be learned.  Here goes.

  1. Your passport will be checked at least three times from the time you disembark up to an excluding customs. Maybe it’s my face. 
  2. No-one checked my yellow fever certificate which means my emcounter with a HUGE needle, in a smellly clinic, was all for nothing.
  3. Traffic is horrendous. People walk around with carts selling snacks, thus providing additonal things motorists have to avoid on a never moving freeway.
  4. Woman do not strut their stuff in g-strings like they do in all the travel brochures of Brazil. They do drive taxis though. But fully clothed.
  5. Public urination is frowned upon even though the canal smells like a urinal during the October fest. A cop will verbalise his disgust in Portuguese even if you have a medical condition and would die if you hold it for another second.
  6. People consume so much meat that if you dare to witness a full sitting, you are definately going to end up with a gout attack or something worse. It has to be a vegetarian’s worst nightmare.
  7. Some areas of the city has a putrid smell that can only be described as the underarm pit of a hoarder-cat-lady who belongs to a cult that considers personal hygiene a cardinal sin.
  8. Caparinho is a lemon-vodka based drink so sweet, it strips the fluoride from your teeth whilst attempting to finish it. It contains approximately 1,634,298 calories. Per sip.
  9. It takes a taxi one hour and forty five minutes to get from the hotel to the airport at the speed of a dying snail. I already mentioned the traffic didn’t I?
  10. And that’s all folks, it was a quick visit.

It happens to the best of us

I’m flying again. To Sao Paulo, Brazil.  Two nights.  One meeting.

There is no typos in that sentence. I promises.

On the connecting flight from Durban to Johannesburg I met two people because I was sandwich in the middle of them. A motivational speaker and a vegetarian.  She has 11 cats. I’m not sure how many cats he has because I didn’t ask.  We were both too involved in trying to understand the need for eleven cats. She wasn’t covered in bird poop so she wasn’t the bird-lady from Mary Poppins. She wasn’t crazy.  She ran a pet-sanctuary.  Did I mention she also has three dogs, a parrot, two tarantulas and a eighteen year-old son. I listed them in order of importance. Continue reading

The most important Spanish lesson of your life

Forget that the rain in Spain falls mainly on the plain. The guys don’t speak a lot of British over here. They couldn’t care less how well rounded your pronounication might be. It’s all about espanol. In order to assist, if you should you ever find yourself in these neck of the woods, here are the most important phrases to learn when conversing with a Spanish bartender.

“Hola, como estas?”

This phrase prepares the soil for the rest of the evening. It’s a simple hello, how are you? Botch this up and you might as well leave now. It’s considered a friendly greeting when said in a upbeat, smiling tone. It also proves that your mother didn’t raise an animal. Continue reading

It happened on the way to Munich

When you have spend as many hours on a plane like I do, you find creative ways to entertain yourself with random things. Get your head out of the mud! It’s not that kind of airline! Besides do airlines like that even exist? (If they do, please mail me their contact details. Just in case…)

The flight from Bilboa to Munich is three hours with Luthansa and they serve snacks and drinks. In English, without having to pay extra for it. (Take note Iberia air.)  Soon after serving round 1 (turned out to be the only round) of drinks something funny happened. At least it was funny for me… Continue reading

5 Things that can ruin International travel

1. If you need a visa and the time it takes to issue one by the country you want to visit takes longer than expected causing a rerouting of the entire trip.

2. Being informed that your connecting flight is cancelled due to a strike in some civilized nation, which is coincidently the airline you chose because of that perfect connection.

3. When you find an alternative routing of the said cancelled flight, but the additonal flight is on an airline you will never want to fly with again. Your trip just got six hours longer. Congratulations.

4. Not receiving the boarding tickets for the new routing as the striking country does not have the offices of the newly assigned airline in the terminal building. You have to clear customs and wait in a whole new set of queues just to get back into the terminal.

5. And lastly when your luggage didn’t make it on the final rerouted flight and you have to wait for another two hours for it to arrive on the next flight.

And then I had another 1.5 hours by car which implies that I clocked 31 hours of travel. What can you do? Smile and drink beer.

I don’t have any real reason to complain…I am in Spain after all…

And here the rain falls mainly on the plain.

This is Turkey

Yes, I’ve been busy. Getting back to business in another foreign country.

Disembarking in Istanbul, the only thing resembling a Turkey was the fat, bearded policeman who took my passport. The one who escorted me to a little room where he put on a pair of rubber gloves and made me very nervous. My heart raced. And not in a good way. I haven’t gone for a prostate exam so I wasn’t comfortable with  a full body search. He also asked me if I was carrying dollars, which seems to be the universal currency for a bribe. Unfortunately I didn’t have any on me. I was finally let go, after he fumbled my neatly folded clothes into one big mess. I didn’t complain. Turns out I was the random spot check of the day. He wasn’t corrupt after all…

It’s obvious that I have the face of an international fugitive or a drug lord. Or both. Maybe I should get rid of my goatee. Continue reading

Meet Hilda.

Being alone is never as painful as when  you have to dine on your own but men are men and men must eat. Steak. And I am not suicidal, so I refuse to have dinner in my hotel room. There is something fundamentally wrong about a person sitting down to have dinner by his lonesome self. It must have been how leppers felt in biblical times. Outcasts, sitting on a dump, scratching their open, puss-filled wounds. Shit, that is disgusting and do you mind, I’m trying to eat over here…As a business traveller I am quite accustomed to this form of social torture and more so because I never dine alone. I always have company.

Let’s call her Hilda. Continue reading