Well, here we are languishing in Sao Paulo, waiting for Saturday and our onward flight to Manaus, 2500 miles away by air, or a lifetime away for us (well, half a lifetime).
Ozzie was rescued this morning from the clutches of the dreaded Receita Federal or Federal customs. We arrived at the (helpfully unnamed) central cargo area at 08:30 this morning, and after visiting British Airways once (6th Floor, Room 21), Infraero 4 times (Ground Floor, Room 5), the Federal Vet twice (Ground Floor, Room 6), the official cartorio (or place where you are sent to get forms and copies of documents) 5 times, and the Banco do Brasil once (Ground floor, Room 3), we were finally able to secure the release of our hostage to outrageous bureaucracy at just after 11:00am. A typical exchange went something like
“We’re here to pick up our dog, and here are all the papers.”
“Do you have a form 1234xyz?”
“OK. Go the cartorio and ask for two copies of form 1234xyz and come back.”
“We’ll also need copies of this…and this…and two copies of this…and this.”
After a round trip to the Cartorio….
“OK. Now you need to take this, this this and this to Room x.”
In room X…
“We’re here to pick up our dog etc..”
“Do you have a form abc123 and def456?”
“OK. You’ll need to go to the Cartorio and blah blah blah.”
So, you may ask, why don’t the people who need the forms keep copies of the forms, and/or do the photocopying themselves and/or tell you in advance what you need to bring? Well, because half the Brazilian population is employed in taking photocopies and running from room to room throughout the land, that’s why. Let’s face it, if anybody got the hots for a bit of intelligent efficiency, the entire economy would collapse.
Never mind, he’s here now and none the worse for it. He’s been out to see what Sao Paulo looks like (big, smelly, hot) and have a pee and a poo; he’s drunk half the water in our minibar, had some food and a bath, and he’s flat out now on his blanket. Meanwhile Naice has had to go back to the airport to sort out the tickets for Saturday, and we’ve to get him examined by a vet tomorrow to get his cert. for onward travel.
The hotel is fine – only 15 mins from the airport in the district of Guarulhos, northwest of the main city which can be clearly seen from the hotel, sprawling out like some giant lego set, with helicopters and planes whizzing around everywhere and above which floats a huge pall of brown smog. Lovely. The few of the 29 million inhabitants we’ve encountered seem happy enough with it, but it’s not for us. The only thing that has impressed us is that all the taxis are converted to run on petrol and gas and alcohol (no, not at the same time). The favoured fuel at present is gas.
BTW, our internet access is a bit hit and miss at present, so forgive us if you’re awaiting an e-mail response or anything. This is likely to get much worse before it gets better, so please bear with us.