USAir River Crash..Pantanal Air..Tres Lagoas Drive
Trip Start Jan 01, 2009
143Trip End Dec 31, 2009
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I was worried at first when we were at the Albany airport and I saw a snippet of the Hudson River Crash of a USAirways flight. And our flight to JFK was just delayed so I knew they were interconnected. Now granted, we had planned for a pretty long layover at JFK, so I didn't think it would affect us making the connection in JFK. But in Sao Paulo, we could only schedule a 3 hour layover. In that 3 hours, we'd have to make it through immigration, pick up our bags, and go through customs. Then take a taxi from Guarulhos International Airport(GRU) to Congonhas Airport(CGH). Get checked in there, and then get through security. Now that seemed to be almost impossible. Especially if our flight OUT of JFK was going to be delayed.
When we arrived at JFK, there was only a 2 hr layover left. A lot of passengers on the flight had missed their connections, but we were alright. (We'll never fly ALB to JFK again, if there's a delay at all, it's much quicker to drive). So we went and hung out in the Crown Club Lounge until boarding.
The flight to GRU was ok...except the entertainment system wasn't working, the overhead lights had a mind of their own, and the chairs were uncomfortable. Not stuff you expect in the Business Class seats. I ended up sleeping almost the entire time, so that didn't bother me too much(I'm sore today though). On a good note though, we arrived early. We were the only plane landing at that time, so there was no line at immigration or customs. And our bags actually came off the plane in the first batch(hooray for "priority" meaning something). So we actually got out to the taxi stand before our flight was supposed to have arrived at the gate.
Once we were at CGH, it wasn't hard finding Pantanal Airlines. They're one of the smaller carriers. So just look for the one sign that doesn't match all the others at the row of Check-in counters. We were on a smaller prop plane, a little bit bigger that the bush-planes they used in Alaska. Nothing bad about the flight, though the cross-wind at landing made it a little harrowing. We got fairly sideways before it settled down.
We arrived in Aracatuba, apparently Tres Lagoas isn't big enough to have a commercial airport. No problems with baggage claim here. The guy puts the bag on the floor and you walk up and get it...no carousel...noone to check your luggage tags. If someone grabbed your bag...all you'd have to do is say "Hey" (or Opa!) because you're only 5 ft away.
The drive in was pretty. The office had sent a minibus to pick us up so I ended up sleeping most of the way. I did wake up when we got to drive over the dam. But most of the drive was flat with some rolling hills. Pretty, but monotonous. Also, the road was great. The parts of Brazil that I've been in before are known for car-eating potholes. This road was comparable to the state highways in the USA. Of course, the road from Aracatuba to Tres Lagoas is also one of the main routes to get to Bolivia and Paraguay (through Campo Grande). We'll have to explore that later.
The hotel here is ok. I'll write more about it later.
I've gone through and added pictures to previous posts like I'd promised. The posts updated are from Jan 10th forward.