Saturday, March 14, 2009

En route to the Great White North

It felt like quite an accomplishment for us when finally, after the mad rush of the past few weeks, we reached the Johannesburg International airport and felt fairly ready to leave. Things felt organized until we had to get through airport and airline security, that is. All our stuff that we had so neatly tucked away in snug places had to be pulled out, splayed on conveyor belts, sent through the scanner and repacked. Thankfully we were deemed “safe”--and anything that hinted otherwise was securely sealed in 1 liter sized zip locks. I guess zip lock bags really are as secure as the ads have always claimed.

We left for Sao Paulo, Brazil via Atlanta, U.S.A. There is nothing logical about this route, but apparently (and for a reason I have yet to understand), it was more economical. Yep. A 17 hour flight with 3 meals to Atlanta (here we are in Atlanta after the 17 hour flight)

then a 9 hour flight to SP, Brazil with 2 meals (on Delta Airlines) somehow was cheaper than a 10 hour flight (with 2 meals) from Johannesburg direct to SP, Brazil. Let’s try the condensed version of that: cost of 26 hours in flight + 5 meals < cost of 9 or so hours in flight + 2 meals.

Thankfully all our flights were uneventful and our luggage didn’t get lost, which is saying a lot when you consider the ground we covered and the number of times we had to change flights. And almost more importantly is the fact that despite our pre-security check anxiety, we came out “safe” every time. Oh, except that there was a long-forgotten pocket knife in Dwight’s computer bag that they found (ahem, on only the 2nd flight’s check), so that got taken away. Oh well, it’s all good if it means we’re safer, right? When we finally arrived in Curitiba, Brazil we were weary and sleep-deprived, but otherwise very happy to get here.

(view of Curitiba from our bedroom window)

We spent the first night with my cousin and his wife (Stan and Ruth) with the added bonus that we got to see my aunt Alma who is here for a few weeks as well. Sometimes family reunions happen in the strangest places! In fact, about 17 years ago on a return trip from furlough, we were with these same special people in Kenya for about a week. We’re now at Mount Horeb (SAM Ministries’ Brazil mission) for the next few days where we will contribute in several ways including participate in their annual general meeting.

Here are a few shots of Stan, Ruth, Auntie Alma and us doing the Mount Horeb tour.

Mount Horeb runs a dental cinic, so no one escapes toothbrushing time.

One of the classes. The kids were very sweet and smiled and waved at the camera for me.

Having lunch after our little tour...feijoada, rice, chuchu and salad.

We’re staying with my parents in what’s been dubbed “The Wooden Hotel”.

This lovely little shack, with its close quarters and thin walls, is situated in a rather shabby neighborhood where drug lords and violence abound. But, hey, we’re not complaining—the company is GREAT, our feet are on firm ground, and we can lie flat to sleep once again.

We leave here next Thursday to continue our trek to the Great White North which apparently is still quite white, sad to say. I don't think we'll cope very well with the reported -20 to -30 temperatures so I've requested a special favour to get the place warmed up in time for our arrival. One kind soul has assured us that she will certainly do what she can and I'm secretly hoping she can pull it off.

I'll let you know how that goes :)


1 comment:

Russoft said...

Someday I guess I should visit Brazil. Someday...