August 15, 2006

The joys of flying...

... or perhaps rather the zen of dealing with the pragmatics of airtravel, ie tickets and schedules, airlines etc.

I’m starting to accept the fact that flying from one place to another is no easy matter, at least when it is me flying. It seems to me now that just about every single flight I have taken over the past couple of years has involved some kind of problem or other. The first time I flew back from Brazil to Finland on Christmas Eve in 2001 my flight from Rio to Europe got canceled – after quite a lot of shuffling around I ended up in London where I caught the last flight to Helsinki before a 2-day holiday break for all airtravel to the airport. Last year when leaving from Helsinki to Chicago, someone accidentally pinched my passport and tickets from the airport security conveyor belt – some talk, and quite a few desperate smiles, and I arrived in Chicago on schedule without any other travel documents except a faded photocopy of my passport. As for my trip here I have already told you about the extra 24 hours it ended up taking. So the fact that I have spent the last 2 days running around Salvador, from one travel agency to the airport and back and then to yet another agency and once more to the airport shouldn’t come as much of a surprise to me. Varig is still having significant problems with their flights, though they claim that things will be in order in just a few more days. But at least they are flying daily to Sao Paulo from Salvador again, which in the end saved me my ticket. Of course, typical of me, wanting to make things extra complicated I wasnt willing to take the alternative flight schedule on another airline offered to me by American Airlines with whom my ticket is registered. Instead I told them that since I would be needing to change flights anyway I would like to go to Sao Paulo 4 days earlier to see a friend. Apparently my ticket wasnt supposed to allow stop-overs at all. In the end though with a little jeitinho and many wonderful people (a total stranger even allowed me to use the internet in his office when I couldnt find an internet cafe by the travel agency), and plenty of sitting on the bus riding around Salvador (just to give you an idea the airport is 1,5 -2 hours busdrive from my house), I got my ticket! The orixas must be thinking kindly of me. So I’ll be flying into Sao Paulo on the 25th and then home to Chicago on the 28th, arriving there on the 29th just in time to move house before the end of the month. (Jeez! I dont even want to think about that yet.) And now I’m back home back to work on transcribing interviews and about to celebrate my ticket having worked out in the end with a piece of bolo de aipim, my favorite cake here made with manioc.


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