The ride from Buzios to Rio de Janeiro airport is just as easy due to Mario’s excellent driving.
After an hour on highway BR-101, we come upon the Rio harbor and can see the now-familiar landmarks of Pão de Açúcar (Sugarloaf) and, Corcovado mountain on which Christ the Redeemer stands. Mario negotiates his SUV into the traffic of Rio with seeming ease. Five lanes choke down to three for no apparent reason as if we had just left a toll collection booth. He doesn’t break a sweat.
A ship’s horn blasts in the distance.
“Excuse me,” I say. “Must’ve been the feijoada.”
Mario and Mary laugh. Mario speaks only Portuguese. I guess fart jokes are universal.
Rio de Janeiro Aeroporto (GIG)
Getting our boarding passes at GIG proves to be a breeze. We sat at an airport café and ate one of the tastier–if not strange–burgers we’ve ever had. In addition to the all-beef patty, lettuce, pickles and tomato, there is cheese, bacon and egg. And beber (to drink)? Mary drank a guarana and I had an espresso com creme. We looked out at Sugar Loaf and just smiled.
Mary wanted to pick up a book at the airport. She’d read the book she brought with her (The Princess of Burundi), plus four she found where we stayed: Murder at the Margin: A Henry Spearman Mystery, The Investigation, Fashionably Late, and Citizen Girl. She found a Michael Connelly book in paperback at a small loja and tossed it on the counter. It rang up at 50 Reais (about $30). We got Veja (Portuguese for “See It”) instead.
We went through Rio Airport’s security with a slight hiccup. The screener mistook my thumbdrive for a penknife. Once on the other side of security we found ourselves in a cramped terminal. There seem to be about thirty chairs for three-hundred seats. We share our claustrophobic conditions with passengers waiting to board ah hour’s delayed Air France flight.
The American Airlines plane flight is long (eight hours plus a thirty minute delay waiting for clearance), boring, food unremarkable, uneventful. It’s perfect. I slept off and on throughout. I’m surprised by how quickly my fellow passengers spring out of their seats to clog the aisles. I know how they feel, you just want to stand up and be moving. Many have connecting flights that they are now late for. My stiff legs and sluggish brain can’t compete.
Next to me, a criança (little girl) threw up into an airsickness bag. Mary and I pulled the bags from our seat pockets and hand them to the girl’s mother. The little one upchucked again before we could get them in the mom’s hands.
The plane emptied slower than, well, a plane full of logy passengers.