Nov 11, 2007
Dec 23, 2007
. We had arranged for a driver to meet us at the terminal and take us to Sao Paulo and had given 45 minutes after the time we were to disembark - well - typical delays with the port authorities put us behind that mark - but I was hopeful that the driver would be waiting - he would surely know that people were late getting off the ship. We got outside - with ALL the luggage and then I didn't see our name being held by anyone - so let the games begin - I had to try to track him down - not easy since I don't speak Portuguese. Jim waited with the bags while I went in search of help. Fortunately I found Michelle - one of the girls that we met on board and she was meeting her father and uncle and they had a cell phone and called the taxi company for us. The driver had been there and then for some reason or another left for a bit - but he came back immediately and then we were finally on our way. There was a DVD player in the taxi so he put on a nice DVD of some Brazilian music and that helped keep our mind off the fact that he must be practicing to become a Formula 1 driver - the driving is crazy here. We had about an hour drive to our hotel the scenery was beautiful - mostly hills and valleys with an unbelievable system of bridges and tunnels transporting us to the city of Sao Paulo. This is the fourth largest city in the world with a population of over 17.5 million people. As we were approaching the city the first DVD was finished he said he would put another good one in for us. 100% Black it was called
. We got to watch Snoop Dog, 50 Cent, etc it was definitely the extreme opposite of what we first watched. At this point we were in the heavy Sao Paulo traffic - so I didn't ask him to change it or turn it off - or even to turn the volume down.
We arrived in one piece at the hotel - our room is very nice and we were given Concierge Level - which was great so that we don't have to quit the royal treatment 'cold turkey'. They have breakfast - afternoon tea and then the full bar with hors d oeuvres are available from 6 - 10:30 p.m. Our room is very nice and quite large and it feels like a palace after the cabin on the ship. We have views facing directly over/down on Avenida Paulista - one of the main streets in Sao Paulo.
We went out and walked around - got ourselves a little familiar with our surroundings and then by the time we got back to the hotel and went to the lounge - we ended up having drinks and hors d oeuvres there and never did go out for dinner - which isn't necessarily a bad thing.
Looks like rain for tomorrow so not sure what we will do.
Our last sunrise while on the ship - it was just beautiful as we came into the port of Santos, about 40 minutes away from Sao Paulo. From our balcony I think we had the best view - the very simple rural life of Santos - yet on the other side of the ship the views of the city - tall apartment buildings and hotels just didn't seem to fit. To celebrate the arrival of the ship fireworks were set off - reminiscent of Costa Rica on a Saints Day - 5:30 a.m. seems like such a waste of good fireworks since all you can do is hear them - and then see nothing but the smoke they leave behind after expiring. You will see in the photos what I observed as we came into port - I did not take any photos of the city - other than what you can see in the distant background on some. It really was a remarkable contrast in living conditions however. We had a leisurely morning - the bags had been packed and put out the night before - so we only had the carry-on bags to contend with. We had breakfast in the dining room and then went to the concierge lounge to relax before disembarkation