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Friday, October 21, 2011

LONDON TO SAO PAULO, BRAZIL

This will be another 18 hour journey from my hotel to hotel, London to Sao Paulo, Brazil.  The Carey Limousine Service TAM Brazil airlines arranged to pick me up at the Sheraton Skyline located at Heathrow went instead to the Sheraton Park Lane in London, so after a stressful hour, I finally made it to the Star Alliance Lounge.  What a waste, in a way, for first class on TAM means they will pick you up up to a distance of 65 miles, and my Heathrow hotel was only a mile away.

Checking in first class with TAM Brazil means a staff member leads you through on fast track to the Start Alliance First Class Lounge.  What a selection of scotches in this lounge.  I settled for a Highland Park, accompanied by a Bloody Mary and Pannier Champagne:


With a simple salad, cheese/ham croissant and assorted Indian treats.  For my second course, I had a kind of spaghetti bolognese with garlic bread and a fine Argento Malbec Rose from Argentina:

I will not be breaking any records on this leg for two reasons.  It is an overnight flight, but more importantly, I reached a life-changing decision in Japan:  I need to better protect my body now and into the future.

My flight will arrive in Sao Paulo at 6AM, and I have arranged to have lunch at D.O.M., the #7 rated restaurant on the Pellegrino list and one of two South American establishments in the top 50, the other being Astrid Y Gason in Peru, my luncheon date the day I leave South American to return to the USA.

Well, the flight boarded on time, everyone got on board, but there were still more than a hundred wanting to get on.  Something went terribly wrong, because first, they gave those who did not make the plane  $500 and a roundtrip ticket from London to San Paulo.  Second, by then we were an hour late, and a dreadful thing happened.  The pilot announced that the crew had now exceeded their time limit and the flight was cancelled.  It can be a 12 hour flight, and there is a limit to how long the crew can operate, including on land.

So we were told to get out of the plane without any instructions on what next to do.  This was TAM Brazil, an airline that is not totally dependable.  The mob gathered in the baggage recovery area to collect our suitcases and find out what was next.  Well, the lady who guided me earlier, found the four first class passengers and we went right through the angry rabble to another area of the airport where we then found out that the 9:30PM flight would leave at 1PM with a new crew they found.  The problem was that it was now midnight and the airport was largely closed, so we couldn't get back into the boarding area.  It turned out that that the rest of customers only had to walk back to the plane area, so they got on without any problems.  The new flight crew and us four barely got through by 12:45AM, but it really did not matter because the pilot was with us.  We took off just before 1PM, which, I think was the last flight that could leave from Heathrow.

The flight itself was thankfully uneventful.  I started with a Drappier Champagne and nuts, then switched to the national drink of Brazil, a Capirinha with appetizers, then a glass of Denis Dubourdieu Floridene Blanc (white Burgandy) with the salad, finishing with a Chateau Canon Clos Canon from St. Emilion (red Bourdeaux) and Altas Quintgas Portuguese red wine.  The creamy zucchini soup was good, the filet mignon with mash potatoes was unedible.  Mind you, this was an 11 hour flight, so I watched two movies, first with another Caipirinha, ending with a Johnnie Green Label scotch.  I actually slept for five hours.

The plane landed at 9:30AM, I thought in good time for my noon lunch at DOM.  Everything went swiftly except that San Paulo has a world-class traffic problem.  Only 16 miles away, it can take 3 hours by car.  My driver indicated this was a miracle when we arrived after an hour, which by then was 11:30AM.  I hurried to check in and got a taxi to DOM at 12:02PM.  The meal continues in the next posting.
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3 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hi, Pat!

Here is fabiano, camila´s boyfriend

It was very nice to meet you at são paulo

Great blog, congratulations

Hope you enjoy the tropics

all the best

Cheap flights to Sao Paulo said...

Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.

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