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Sao Paulo Arrival

imageI arrived in Sao Paulo with about five other passengers on a Boeing 767 from Miami. An unscientific survey determined there were four Brazilians and a well-dressed man from the Church of Latter Day Saints on the flight. Having been through the Brazil drill in the past I knew that it was important to savor the serene airline moments because they quickly vanish after walking through immigration.

Let’s start with the language. Other languages with a Latin base, French and Spanish for example, you can generally decipher because you can hear the words. Brazilian is so nasal that you’re lost from the get go. To make matters worse you can’t understand their English and they can’t understand your Portuguese. The woman who sold tickets for the bus service into town clearly did not want to deal with me but at least made a valiant effort to ask me a legitimate questions—like what is the address of your hotel? Except it sounded like idreeas. The woman selling prepaid cab fares asked the same question but was slightly more intelligible, but only slightly.

That was one hurdle down but was quickly followed by the cab driver who, naturally, asked where I was going. All I picked up was “vien” but that seemed to do it. I responded the Othon hotel. You’d be surprised at how differently you can say the word Othon. As it turned out, Brazilians pronounce the “th” ‘t” shorten the ‘o” and stress the second syllable. With that straightened out, my sweet and petit female driver picked up my 50 pound bag and off we went. Arriving in break neck speed at the hotel I then tried to convince the driver we were at the wrong place. Go figure. She politely showed me the address of the hotel on the ticket and how it perfectly matched the address on the door of the building. For better or worse, I had arrived.

Posted by patrickj on 06/26 at 10:16 AM
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