We landed on time at Sao Paulo Airport and should have had plenty of time to get through immigration, collect our hold luggage, clear customs and check in for our internal flight to Porto Alegre. Should have had…..! Due to the usual problems of too many passengers trying to be checked through too few desks at a leisurely pace, we missed our connecting flight. They put us on the next one out, which meant a 4 hour wait during which time we managed a Brazilian Burger King equivalent. Not cheap! But then Airport food never is.
As we waited at the Departure Gate, Cliff spotted Woody Minnich and John Senior, our travel companions from the US. At least we could be sure that Marlon and Wiebe Bosma (from the Netherlands) would be there to meet the Americans – we had been unable to contact Marlon on his mobile phone to advise our delay.
Again, flight & arrival were uneventful, Marlon and Wiebe Bosma were there to meet us and even the car pick up (we had both rented Fiat Doblos, but from two different agents) was tedious but turned out OK after we had asked our rep to free the toolkit from an back seat that had got stuck.
First impressions: Porto Alegre is a large modern city, with a significant number of tall skyscrapers on the horizon. As expected, the Airport was on the outside of town and Marlon was able to guide us out on a good dual carriage toll road (BR290) to Pantano Grande, where we turned south onto the BR 471. It was like driving on the A303 through Wiltshire in Spring! Very green and lush, with the occasional palm tree reminding us of where we were.
We arrived at Encruzijhada do Sul in the dark and soon found a good Hotel (no wifi). Excellent meal washed down with litres of Brazilian beer (Polar Export).