Welcome to the first posting of my blog. I know that I threatened to write one back in Melbourne, but it was never more than a fifty-fifty chance, so in case you haven’t yet interpreted the tone, I am a trifle smug that here I am, actually writing.
After all the months leading up to move, it was slightly surreal to finally step onto the plane. One hour and twenty minutes later we transferred at Sydney and it was still surreal to step onto a second plane and head out over the Pacific. Ten million hours after that, we disembarked in Santiago (Chile)and spent another five surreal hours pacing the transit lounge. Actually this did not include Mitchell. He sank like a stone into sleep and was unrousable. Lucky little bugger. The next surreal flight was only three and a half hours and deposited us at Sao Paulo airport at nine pm. Total, insane madness!! (Yes – I do understand this is a tautology, however I felt the need for emphasis).
Here we had to clear Brazilian customs, then make our way to the domestic terminal where we had to re-check our bags through to Rio. As we then found out, our plane to Rio was actually the first leg of an international flight that would then proceed to London. So we had to leg it back to the International gate, clear customs again and gallop onto a bus that sped miles across the tarmac to our plane, which was one of literally dozens waiting to depart. On the bus, we witnessed a tractor with a trailer full of baggage go roaring past and over a slight bump, whereby a suitcase went flying into to the air and onto the ground. The tractor didn’t stop but a worker nearby darted out to pick it up, only to put himself in the direct line of another full speed tractor. As Gavin and I leapt to cover the eyes of our children lest they see graphic human squashage, the second tractor managed a two wheel veer that re-routed it somewhere off the lane and it disappeared. Surreal.
The last leg moved beyond surreal and into the realm of insanity. However there were some upsides. Firstly, it was only fifty-five minutes, second, it was a very smooth flight and third, they’d upgraded us to business class (back to surreal).
The lights of Rio were not spread evenly as we flew in and I would work out the next day that this was because the city is built around innumerable rocky hills that rise sharply and while most support flora, they are not in the least hospitable to human habitat. They are small jungle mountains in the middle of a huge metropolis and quite beautiful.
The only casualty of the trip was arriving at our apartment to find that Mitchell’s hand luggage bag had not made it from the airport – lost/stolen somewhere between organising a taxi and getting in. Absolutely catastrophic.
The thief’s gain was disproportionately small to Mitchell’s grief. All the bag contained was his toothbrush, a spare pair of undies and his three favourite soft toys.
And as I spent my first night in Rio cradling my sobbing son, I reflected not only on the thief’s deserving nothing less than capital punishment, but what could be done to make amends. Ultimately, I resigned myself to funding years of therapy.
As it turned out, the price of emotional repair came to 89.99 reis, (approximately $40). It was in the form of a new soft toy – a blue angry bird since christened “Birdie”. And if Mitchell is holding the bird and you call it, it gets launched at your head with the velocity of a surface to air missile. Perhaps that’s the real therapy.
Anyway, we have finally made it here, recovered from jet lag and have commenced our first forays. More about them later.