Touchdown, Maringá!

I’m currently typing this while Thays prepares for a presentation in class tomorrow by cramming a reading–something we Dragon U students are experts at, I must say.  When she said “Presentation,” my immediate reaction was to offer to do the powerpoint.  I’m not good at a lot of things, but one thing I’m confident of doing is making a sexy (Sahia Benj’s words, not mine) deck, thanks to BusComm with Sir Luis Arcangel.

I was toying with the idea of making a separate blog for these travelogues, mostly because my soon-to-be partner in crime, Ciarán, has one (you can check it out here), but I’m already having trouble managing the Vivary so two blogs may be one blog too many.  Instead–and I’m saying it now so I’ll have to get around to it–you can find my travelogues all lumped in a separate page entitled “Lonelygirl’s Excellent Adventure,” or look for the tags “Lonelygirl’s excellent adventure,” “a roaming Tsinay,” “Maringá,” and “AIESEC.”

That being said, Ms. Jodie–my internship adviser who I will be linking to these blogs–let’s get down to business.  (If you added “…to defeat the Huns,” dear reader, I will love you forever.)

Left Manila on March 24, 8:40PM Brazil Time (or March 25, 7:40AM Philippine Time) on what felt to me like a red-eye flight, owing to the fact that I had to be up at three AM to get to the airport by five.  Nearly lost my hand-carry at the first security checkpoint, but thankfully Turtle got stuck in the x-ray scanner and thus could not get stolen before I, his frantic owner, returned for him.  I guess some pre-flight drama is to be expected: this is my first time traveling alone.

Traumatized by my near-death (if I lost Turtle, Mum would murder me) experience I resolved to keep my wits about me for the rest of the forty-plus hours I’d spend in transit.  Got past customs and all that jazz no problem, and the flight to Narita was uneventful except that 1) I discovered my laptop sleeve had been wrecked and 2) it was my first experience with Delta Airlines’ airplane food.  I could live off of Delta Airlines’ airplane food.

Arriving in Narita brought back all my old Japan feels.  Heaven knows I love that country and always will, especially given the half-hour I spent posing as a maiko and getting chased down by tourists when I was sixteen.  Arrived to slightly nippy weather and promptly donned my Muji beanie and scarf as protection against both the elements and the extremely frigid airplane air conditioning (I still have a cold.).  Narita’s WiFi was a revelation: having been used to slowpoke Philippine internet, the super-fast loading speed of my first “A Roaming Tsinay” video blew me away.  I almost hated to leave Gate 14.

Almost.  The fact that I was headed to New York (every theater-wannabe hipster’s dream) sweetened the deal quite a lot.

The flight from Narita to JFK was my first long-haul flight ever, which meant more airplane food (yay!) and more frigid airconditioning (boo!).  I also discovered, as you’ll note in the last post, that Delta has this amazing music selection, plus the capacity to create a personal playlist.  Spent the last half of my flight in music-induced bliss, scribbling in my travel diary and pondering the meaning of life.

…Okay, fine, I slept.  A lot.  Woke up over Canada and promptly snapped a million pictures since the scene looked like it was something out of Game of Thrones.  Winter is coming.  Beware the White Walkers.

NYC was a ridiculously cold three degrees celsius, and gray, and rainy.  The WiFi was a bit of a disappointment too: Narita’s kicked its ass.  Still, made it to my flight to Sao Paulo in time, after watching the last Darcy episode of The Lizzie Bennet Diaries (RIGHT IN THE FEELS, GUH) in the waiting area.

I’m not really sure how long the flight to Sao Paulo was, as I conked out sometime during the ascent (I blame the change in air pressure), but when I woke up we still had seven hours to go and I was hungry and nursing one of the most hideous colds I’ve ever had the pleasure of having.  One of the flight attendants had pity on my sniffling self and gave me a double-portion of the in-flight dinner (some form of herb chicken) and an extra brownie, as well as a can of apple juice.  I felt about five, and liked it.

Got knocked out again shortly after dinner, but not before I made myself another playlist to fall asleep to.  The last thing I remember seeing was the stars shining over the thick cloud cover, looking for all the world like something out of an art print.  Sadly, my iPhone camera (and my energy level) was not up to snapping a picture.

I arrived at Sao Paulo at a little past 6AM, and found some time while taxi-ing in to shoot a few rambling videos using my iPhone (those are on my Facebook page, and if you’re my friend, you can watch them).  Mostly it’s me gushing about how Jason Mraz is the best soundtrack to a Brazil adventure ever.  I have a mental mashup of “93 Million Miles,” “The Woman I Love,” “Who’s Thinking About You Now,” and “I Won’t Give Up” still playing in my head.

At the Sao Paulo airport, met a 27-year-old art history/fashion professor named–let’s see if I get the spelling right–Ebert, who after a bit of conversation introduced me to his mother and treated me to coffee, in exchange for a promise to return the favor when he comes to Manila (can anyone say Starbucks Pearl?).  Afterwards I bought access to WiFi, made and uploaded a new video, and managed to replace my broken laptop sleeve with this quite aggressively rainbow colored one from the Duty Free.  Marshall Lee, forgive me, but it was the best I could do under the circumstances.

The flight from Sao Paulo to Maringá is so short it barely bears any mentioning.  Fifty-eight minutes, for a girl who survived end-to-end flights totaling nearly forty-eight hours?  Ha!  I laugh!  (Except that I nearly got altitude sickness–such a wimp.)

Got to Maringá desperately needing a shower, and was greeted by the smiling faces of Thays, Giovana, Sayuri, and Vittor, who met me at the airport and promptly whisked me away, by car, to central Maringá, particularly Thays’ apartment, where I will be staying until I can move in with my host family, the Pascuas.  (Sounds so close to Pascual: I MISS YOU, KEREN ZEEEEEE!!!)  Thays cooked me pasta, I took a shower, and now I’m sitting quite contentedly in shorts, a thin white shirt, and my gray cardigan (yes, I wear cardigans in any weather), while Thays finishes her–oh, she’s done.

Guess that’s it for now.  I’ll keep you guys posted.  Tonight, though, we celebrate my being here.  I am bracing myself for my first Brazilian party.

~ NC

*Update: So “Pascua” was not a family name, but the name of the Easter Holidays, which my hosts will be returning from. :)))  Brilliant, Torres.

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