We unfortunately received bad news just before we left Montevideo, that Chris’s poor mum who is elderly and bedridden had been taken to the hospital again. She has been in and out of hospital  for various reasons this year, but when we called the hospital, they reassured us she was stable and would be back home in a couple of days. When we spoke to his mum she was a little shaky but insisted we should carry on our trip and mission.Torn between trying to get a flight back to the USA and continuing our journey, she reassured us she was OK. So we continue on to Brazil, Porto Alegre being a first place of entry into the country. We know this will be a long paperwork drama with customs and excise, as well as much paper shuffling with immigration. The weather from Montevideo was not good, it was bumpy, turbulent, hot, with the odd thunderstorm thrown in the mix all along the route. We of course have a head wind which contributes to a rough ride along most of the way, and as I am still not feeling very well and the bumps and the extreme heat are really not helping!! We take it in turns to dodge around the bad weather, avoiding nasty looking thunderstorms and heavy downpours. The bone rattling turbulence is making me feel really ill, I never get sick in turbulence but somehow with this tummy flu thing going on its not good. I try to concentrate on the lovely lush green landscape as we approach Brazil. Chris happily snaps away taking pictures, as I fly the plane. I am pleased that I have something else to focus on rather than my increasing nausea as we advance into Brazilian airspace.
When we finally land at Porto Alegre, I am soooo pleased to be on firma terra!!! We are met by two men in Lider uniforms, and although we do not recognize them, we are pleased to see them because we know we are in good hands, as we have found every one of them to be helpful and friendly. Today we meet Sergio and Heider. Sergio, we find out after talking to him, is also a walking miracle having also endured a hideous accident a few years ago.  Heider comes from Salvador and recommends places we should visit on our return leg. After a while of organizing our paperwork, our friend from the outward leg, Fernando turns up, he tells us he did an early shift this morning but returned to the airport after taking a nap to meet us!! Within moments of getting reacquainted Fernando jumps into action, whisks us through customs and immigration formalities. He knows everyone in the airport and they all seem to love him. He knows where to go, who to see, and what to do. The normal slow painful, long drawn out process seems easy and almost fun with Fernando as we chat to people along the way of completing our paperwork. We meet a beautiful Brazilian immigration lady who also has the travel bug, and she tells us her dream is to do a long trip like ours but on a boat sailing. We chat to many people while “hanging” with Fernando, but on our return to the Lider office and chatting with the gang, Fernando tells us that he has lined up a TV interview at our hotel that evening. We are so pleased!!! Although we are both pretty tired we are almost re-energized by this news. We now have been given a chance to spread the word of organ donor awareness on Brazilian TV. A stunning lady called Candice and her camera crew showed up at 7pm, Chris is of course is clear, concise, and accurate when he speaks about organ donation and our flight in front of the camera, I on the other hand feel wooden, but speak from the heart about the experience from a family member perspective with a dry scratchy throat. I am told it sounded good but I am still not confident with my “media” image!! The following morning I wake up feeling REALLY rotten, I cannot face breakfast, I am not sure if standing is a good idea, I feel sweaty, weak and pathetic. I know I can’t stay in the room but cannot face being in our beloved  plane which now begins represent  to me  a hot metal box!! I take a cold shower and check my email. I found an email from my lovely sister-in-law informing me that my poor sister Belinda, who has been bravely battling cancer for a many years, had been admitted to hospital in England with new problems. I am in a state of panic I am not sure what to do I am ready to jump on the nearest BA flight home to the UK, but I am not sure how to get there as we are many miles away from Rio or Sao Paulo which is the nearest international flight I can get with my flight pass. I try not to worry the guys from Lider about this new personal information. I talk to Chris who is also very concerned like me about this news. I am also worried about Chris’s mum, as is he. We board our little plane and although I feel extremely poorly, I now have bigger things to worry about. We say our goodbyes to Fernando, Sergio and Hieder, and make tracks for Foz do Iguacu or Iguacu Falls, which is on the border with Argentina and Paraguay. We depart knowing we are traveling north now in the direction towards the USA, and closer to Sao Paulo, where if necessary I can catch a flight to London to be with my sister. I feel a little panic in my chest as we progress along our route to Iguacu Falls.

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