Non-Stop Fernando. Non Ducor, Duco. Sao Paulo layover.
Airboy had the great pleasure of discovering his first flight on the July roster was to Sao Paulo in Brazil. My two flatmates Khalil & Daniel (the latter is technically not my flatmate but he likes our sofas very much) had been bidding for this one every month without any luck… You kinda guess their reaction when they found out my roster on the blog… Anyways after three days of doing the couch potato at home in Dubai, occasionally lifting my arse to get some drinks in the fridge and going out to see Hancock at MOE’s (that’s Mall Of The Emirates for the hype kids in town, more on this horrible experience in another post). I was getting ready for my Xtra long flight over most of the African continent and a long stretch of cold water, namely the Atlantic ocean. The good thing about this flight is A, the hours you can get out of it, the way there and back count for a third of your flying hours for the month. So if you’re one of those lasy flight attendant, having 3 GRUs in a month rounds up your wage nicely without working that much. B, the easy in-flight service with nice passengers along with maximum rest in the CRC (Crew Rest Compartment). But before I go on about my short stay in San Paulo, please take a little moment to watch the entire 14hrs and 40 minutes of this Emirates Advert where Fernando talks NON-STOP about Brazilian culture and his home town :
Ok, I think he gets on your nerves before the third minute… So the flight over was nice, with 150 pax in economy leaving us with quite some time to socialize with the rest of the crew and do some aisle PR. Then comes our brakes, in this case we had 5 hours to sleep or watch movies depending on how tired you were. In order to be recognizable if the aircraft ever has to crash land while we’re sleeping, we have to put on these sky blue pyjamas with ‘crew’ sowed on the back. Mine is way to big for me so I look like a small kid with the bottom of my pants trailing behind me and sleeves touching the ground… But they are comfortable. Sleeping in the bunk is heaven (well close to it at 36000 feet in the air) after 16 hours on your feet. Despite the fact the air-con blows straight in your nose, despite the fact the handset screen is on full blast the whole time and it’s in front of your eyes, despite the turbulence we encountered during MY sleep, I managed to sleep 4 hours straight. Waking up fresh and alert for the rest of the service and the final approach into San Paulo. A CRC looks like the one in the picture below, minus the catwalk models enjoying a cup of coffee in their uniforms…
Now, Sao Paulo is Gigantic, I didn’t realise until I woke up after going for numerous drinks with the flight deck crew in the hotel bar. This city is the 4th largest populated village in the world, holding 18.6 millions souls in its boundaries. The view from my room is amazing. All I could see was buildings, buildings and more buildings for miles and miles away. The ride from the airport to the hotel was long, I managed to grab another few minutes of sleep before we entered the Hyatt and its beautiful lobby. That’s when you realise how lucky we are to travel the world and stay in nice places.
Something I’ve noticed is the number of helicopters going round in the skies of SP, apparently the city holds the largest fleet of Helicopters, scoring 400 machines. That is more than NYC. Why so many you might ask ? Well it’s a simple cause/effect equation : the city is notorious for it’s gargantuesque traffic jams and because the millionaires can’t stand sitting in line, and because global warming isn’t part of their vocabulary they prefer to jet around the city using their propellers.
My day off in Sao Paulo was spent at the Ibirapuera park which is the largest urban park in the city and is the equivalent to Central Park in NYC. It features some great architectural buildings such as the Ibirapuera Auditorium with its funny curves. The day out was exactly what I was looking for. After jumping in a cab with a non-english speaking driver, I asked him to take me to this park using my only two portuguese words : ‘Obrigado’ for thank you and ‘Bom Dia’ for Hello/Good Day. That’s all I needed. The cabby tried to start a conversation but dropped it after I waved my arms not understanding what he was saying. Good ride thought, through the city and to the park. walked around. enjoyed it very much.
Came back for late lunch in the Restaurant for a Club Sandwich and Skype session with FamilyOfSodwee. Also chatted to pals back in Paris with MSN, catching up on the news with CNN in the background.