On the last day of sightseeing in Rio we went to the historical area called Centro, this old part of the city was remarkable as it appeared in some streets, to be locked into the 1920’s and had a total retro feel. Little cafes had waiters kitted out in crisp white jackets and polished black shoes, who bustled around serving their customers.  We saw unique black printed photos, hanging on the walls of shops and restaurant countertops with original Birdseye maple wood gleaming.  We wandered around looking at the old buildings and churches, but at one point we both agreed that everything seemed hazy and dusty. It was only when we turned on to the main street did we see all the television networks and media crowds. It seems that three buildings had unbelievably collapsed 12 hours previously on top of each  other, leaving  many people still trapped consider dead underneath the rubble All at once Chris and I felt a deep sadness as we watched the Brazilian people transfixed on the machines clearing away the remains of the wreckage, hoping for some good news.

Back at our hotel, we quickly showered and went to dinner in a subdued fashion, after hearing the bad news that more dead bodies had been pulled from the debris in Centro. We knew we had an early start (6.00am) and a pretty long day ahead of us due our planned flying route to Curitiba and then on to Porto Alegre, sadly leaving Brazil. Dinner was great and we both managed to get some decent deep sleep, but unfortunately we were woken by strange noises outside our door from the “party boys” returning home (5.30am). It soon became apparent that one of them was extremely sick from too many Caipirinhas, and when I open the door it was a sight that no wants to see regarding vomit and a group of young lads. I watched with amusement and horror as I saw our next door neighbours puking, staggering about, falling over, and banging into in the corridor walls. Only one was able to realize that they would soon be in BIG trouble if other guest were woken and complained. He quickly staggered towards me and put his finger to his lips and said “please shhhhhhhh”. Somehow my BA Purser role (work mode) flipped into gear and I said “Please listen to me and take your friends to bed right NOW, and SORT this mess clean OUT NOW!!! I have no idea how he understood me but I closed the door and five minutes later there was a frantic tapping on our door, it was the same poor soberest lad of the group, who beckoned me outside of our door and all of the puke that his friends had left him was now completely cleaned up. “Thank you madam, please shhhhhhhh” he begged me. I realized he hoped we had an understanding that I would not complain to the hotel staff as he had cleaned up the mess as instructed, “senhora negra”(was not that bad now!!). I closed our door and Chris and I had a huge laugh, we reckoned most of us have been in a situation when we were sick on alcohol in our lives!!The most comical thing about the whole situation was despite using a foreign language and slang; I managed to whip a poor lad into getting his friends into bed and cleaning up their mess!!!!

A long delay at Rio due to many issues including bad weather along our route meant we were not only now into flying IFR, we late for Curitiba where we were meeting Lider representatives.. We felt very sad leaving Rio and waved goodbye to Corcovado who was surrounded in thick cloud. We snaked around our route being shaken around by the rain and the turbulence of at least an hour. We were directed to climb to 12,000 feet and after reaching this altitude for about forty minutes, Chris started to tell me his heart was racing and was not feeling good. We both decided that we did not want to get into a hypoxia situation, and we were feeling really uncomfortable being pounded hard by the rain and wind. We told Sao Paulo Approach that we wanted to have a lower altitude and were diverting to Joinville Airport. It a while due to the language barrier to get ourselves understood but after a while Chris took the over the radio and told them we were unable to carry on climbing in the extreme conditions, they listen to us and directed us down lower.

 Joinville was one of our diverted airports points along our route; we had talked about it but never thought we would have to do this. We landed in a heavy downpour that was like a dark curtain closing around the airport as we hit the runway. The people in Joinville were impressed that our small airplane had made it in with such finesse just before the bad weather arrived. Everyone was intrigued about our mission to promote organ donor awareness, but they were also very accommodating in helping us with our paperwork, fuel and weather. Francisco and Fabio were especially supportive in sharing local knowledge and information and about our route to Porto Alegre. After an hour or so we were pleased to see the weather brightened and we were off again. The route now could not have been more different than previously, the sky was blue, clear and pretty, and we laughed at the difference an hour makes.

Once we landed in Porto Alegre we were expecting a huge nightmare of paperwork as this was our last Brazil point on our route, but we were met by the delightful Fernando and Jonathan of Lider, who took all our details and said we could complete it all when we left on the next morning. Both relieved that we could deal with all the complicated stuff with a clear head and after a good night’s sleep, the charming Fernando proceeded to take us to our hotel, and promised to collect us in the morning and help us with the local procedures.      




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