Phew indeed. It has been an interesting (Chinese sense) time since our last post some 3 weeks ago now. Since for the forseeable future my posts may be pictureless (but I’ll do my best), I’ll keep them short in order not to bore you too much.

You may or may not know, but chaos reigns in the skies of Brazil at present, with hordes (squadrons?) of flights cancelled or delayed, so we were relatively lucky that our flight to Manaus was delayed only 2 hours. Interestingly, since the break-up of the national airline Varig, the most common carrier now is called GOL (Goal, in English). It is difficult to know who they’re modelling themselves on (see pic., if I can upload it) – orange livery, pay-per-bag, no seat booking, no food, sour faces, no refunds etc etc. Hmmm.

The good news is they’ve put their latest modified 737 on the SP – MAO route, cutting the time down to 3.5 hours. Hooray! So we arrived late afternoon, and when we emerged from the airport it was raining – I thought for a moment they’d flown us back to Belfast. But that rain was the last we’ve seen since then, more’s the pity – no more now until October.

We were picked up at the airport by Naice’s brother Robbie, and driven the 40km or so back to his house in Sao Jose, which is an area rather hopefully described as being “popular”. Makes more sense when you understand that ‘popular’ in Portuguese can also mean ‘poor”. Anyway, that’s where we remain to date, although we hope to be moving tomorrow morning. more on this in a mo.

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