Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Finalmente em Brasil!!

Travel Day: Tuesday, January 10, 2017

After our fall retreats and all of the anticipation we have built up, we are finally in Brazil!  We haven't gotten to our final destination yet, which is a small community called Anã, just upriver from the Amazon city of Santarém.  We haven't even gotten to Santarém yet, but we have landed in the Brazilian Amazon city of Manaus, where we are making a short hotel stop before we board a morning plane and kick into "all hammocks all the time" mode (at least when we are asleep).  Our entire journey will take 29 hours from airport to airport, not counting travel time on both ends.

Last year when our group arrived at SFO, we learned that we had already missed our plane, which had been rescheduled though no one had told us about that change.  We pretty miraculously scored 20 seats on the next very convenient flight and were none the worse for wear.  The vets on this trip (Shawny plus 5 students) were all a bit antsy until we were at the ticket counter successfully checking in.  As it turned out one of our tickets wasn't quite right and that took some fixing, but we just put on the old "sparkle" and everything got ironed out very quickly.

We had a bit of a late start that didn't have much impact on us, though the sliding and skidding during takeoff from SFO is something none of us will soon forget!  We recovered quickly and some of us slept on our redeye flight to Miami while others watched free movies (recent ones! good ones!).  We had a seven hour layover in Miami so we used the time by napping on the floor, doing some video prep work and becoming a moving walkway performance group (video to follow).

Once we boarded we had a pretty uneventful flight to Manaus.  It's fascinating to fly over South America, because so much of what is beneath is pure darkness.  Then when there is a city, everything changes.  The stretch of darkness leading into Manaus is particularly long so it's a bit of a shock when you look out the plane window and actually see lights again.

We're in a neat and clean hotel for a few hours, then we rise for breakfast at 5:30 and departure to the airport sharply at 6:00am.  We'll make the short hop to Santarém (just over an hour), experience one last time change (getting to five hours ahead of California time) and then start to settle in to our Amazon lifestyle.  Our first couple of days will be full of errands, including purchasing our hammocks, buying laundry soap and other bulky items that we didn't haul from home and meeting with our main non-profit partner, Saude e Alegria (Health and Happiness).

Watch for more interesting updates in the days to come.  When we have internet access, we want to reach out and let you all know what's going on, as we know you are full of curiosity (and anxiety?) about our travels.  The first video team was very inspired in some of the shots they set up, so we hope to post their video as early as Wednesday evening. Thanks for checking in!

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