18.11.2015 - 18.11.2015
Could spoil myself with a sleep-in, since this day was dedicated to traveling and transfer myself, i.e. no guided tours today. No news about my bag. Made a few attempts to call both Baggage Express and Frankfurt Airport, but without results. In pure anger I packed down my things and checked out from Hotel Go Inn Manaus. Had about 1 ½ hours before my transfer to the airport would arrive and pick me up, so I had time to write an email or two in anger to AirBerlin so I at least get a response. The transfer showed up at 12.30pm and he spoke well English. He looked a little surprised at me and wondered: “Only one bag?” So I had to tell the whole story again how my bag got stuck in Berlin. During the ride to the Airport he called Peter (if you remember, the driver during my first transfer here in Brazil a couple of days ago). Peter got as upset – as I already was – and promised to call Germany himself to speed up my baggage delivery. That felt good, since his native language was German.
Once at Brigadeiro Eduardo Gomes – Manaus International Airport, check-in went efficiently since I only had my hand luggage. Even though the guy at the counter friendly asked if I wanted to check-in the bag, I said no. I was not going to check in the only baggage I had, so it also could get lost – hell no! I held hard onto my bag and had constant vision of it through Security Check. Then it was time with my poor Portuguese to try and get some food. It went okay, as long as they speak slowly you can figure out what they mean. They seem to like buffets here in Brazil; you take how much you want and then pay at the register. Had time to eat in peace before boarding started for the flight to São Paulo Guarulhos International Airport, also known as Governador Andre Franco Montoro International Airport. Yes, why have only one name, when you can have two? The flight departed at 3.12pm local time and now a 4 hour flight to São Paulo with TAM Airlines was ahead. The aircraft was a Boeing 767 with 2+3+2 seating with TV-monitors in the seat in front of you, with various entertaining. I don’t know if it was due to the movies that I watched, or what, but these hours just flew by. And during these hours I had transferred one time zone, but 2 hours in time difference. Oh, why make it so complicated and let some states (within a time zone) have summer time and not all. Why simple, when it can be difficult?
When the plane approached the runway it had gotten pitch black outside and I sat far away from any window, so I couldn’t see when the plane took ground. One reason why I want to have window seat when flying. Now you had no idea whether we would land at an airport, in the ocean or straight towards a rock face. Uncomfortable feeling. Though there are so many smart systems that many aircrafts, with help by autopilot, can land themselves. Thanks to ILS – Instrument Landing System – airplanes can land in the dark and in poor visibilities at runways that otherwise only are used during great visibilities and day light.
Anyhow, landed at 9.15pm local time at São Paulo Guarulhos International Airport, busiest airport in Brazil. Then you might expect the airport to be well developed, that you board your flight from the gate, that it is well-signed and big in general. But no. The aircraft I arrived in (Boeing 767) is yet a large plane and you would probably expect to disembark at a gate. No. We had to disembark and embark a bus to the terminal. There it was crowded and full of people in a more or less hurry. To then come as a single tourist trying to find the next gate didn’t feel quite okay. Looked frantically for a monitor to see which gate to go to. When I finally found one, the next problem occurred… to find the gate. The signs were completely vanished, or they were very small, because I saw none. There was no point in asking a random person due to the poor odds that person spoke any English. But after wandering around for a few minutes I realized I need to ask someone. To be sure being able to ask in English I went to a check-in counter. Haa!! It turned out I was on the wrong floor. Hmm. And where was that sign posted saying I had to go up a floor??? Well then. Took the escalator upstairs and from there I could orient myself to the right gate. Well, gate and gate… it was the smallest waiting hall I’ve ever seen, and so crowded. It was warm and loudly and you really had to pay attention to the TV-monitors because you couldn’t hear the announcements made. From here we embarked a bus to the aircraft, an Airbus 319, with 3+3 seating.
When the plane was basically full, one last passenger had to embark. An elderly man with plastered feet, had to be bussed onboard with some kind of wheel chair. When he switched from the wheel chair to his seat he started puking in the isle. Wonderful! Just infect the rest of us. So they had to call in the cleaning staff to wipe and clean. When the plane finally taxed out (just after 11.10pm) I heard a child behind me having a running nose. That’s just perfect! If I don’t get sick now… And the child coughed and sniffled all the way from São Paulo to Foz do Iguaçu, a flight for about 2 hours.