So, here I am. Safe and sound in the hotel in Campinas. It took me about 22 hours to get from door to door.
The flight was long, but largely uneventful. Which is what one wants in a flight. (At least the uneventful part. The long bit, not so much.)
We landed in São Paulo around 9:00 a.m., but had to wait around a while at the airport to get the bus to Campinas, as the earlier one was full.
The bus ride was about 2 hours long, and I slept through much of it. The bus was able to let us out “at our hotel,” by special arrangements of the conference organizers. This meant letting a group of us out on a busy highway so that we could climb up a pedestrian overpass, and then cross another busy street with no light or crosswalk, traipse through a gas station, and arrive at the hotel on foot. This was not so bad, in and of itself, but seemed a bit rough on the distinguished professor from Japan in his late 70s. Especially since we were all toting our luggage. On the bright side, we didn’t get squashed by a bus.
Have I mentioned that Campinas appears to not be very pedestrian friendly? It would seem that we need to take cabs everywhere (or a shuttle to and from the conference when available)¹. There is not even a restaurant (outside of the hotel) or little market nearby.
My travel companion and I ended up taking a cab over to the nearby “small” shopping center, which turned out to be a pretty substantial mall. We found what we hoped would be a supermarket, but turned out to be more like a Walmart (named, appropriately, Big).
We did pick up a few things for dinner and snacks, including some goiabada (a condensed guava paste) and Minas cheese, which when eaten together are called “Romeo and Juliet.” We also got a bit of fruit, including some little bananas that were not as ripe as their degree of yellowness and and softness led me to believe. (Hopefully they will redeem themselves later in the week.)
My Portuguese vocabulary is coming back to me in dribs and drabs. But I feel like I’m in a totally different country than the Brazil I knew 16 years ago. I don’t know how much of that is due to being in the outskirts of a very industrialized city without claims to tourism, and how much is due to the passage of time. Both, I think.
I’ve taken a couple of pictures of the view from our hotel window, but can’t seem to get my pictures to upload off my camera. I’ll post some when I can.
The conference starts tomorrow, so I expect I’ll be pretty tied up for the day.
Oh, also, a word of advice for those travelling to Brazil. Make sure to call all your banks or credit card companies if you hope to have access to your accounts in Brazil. I called one credit card company, but neglected to call our regular bank. My attempts to get cash from an ATM have resulted not in me getting cash, but in a hold being put on our account.
¹ I may actually adopt the term “shuffle bus” into my vocabulary, as this is what was listed several times on the conference bus. It appeals to me that we will get shuffled around, especially since many of us feel a bit mixed up.