Our flight was not until 12:18, but we assumed two hours of check in time and allowed another 30 minutes for hotel check out and a taxi to the airport. Check in was nice and easy with bags going straight through at Sao Paulo (hopefully to Belo Horizonte.
The only snag came at airport security where it was discovered to transfer his ‘field tool kit’ (multi purpose pocket knife, collapsible hand trowel and fold away pliers, plus, I’m sure, the omni-present and ever so useful (not) tool to remove stones from horses’ hooves) from his back pack to his hold luggage. The security personnel’s attitude was ever so refreshing. Instead of Cliff immediately becoming the prime suspect of a terrorist plot to blow up the universe, they understood that it was just a simple oversight. But rules were rules, so a member of the security team accompanied Cliff back to the check in desk where his hold luggage was retrieved and opened to put in the offending articles. Wonder if that would have happened so smoothly at Heathrow. I remember Mike Harvey forgetting the Swiss Army pen knife in his hand luggage in 2007 and security people nervously getting ready to put on the latex gloves for a detailed inspection of his luggage and person. Of course Heathrow a a tad more busy than Porto Alegro and the security issues in the UK at that time were at a higher level of alert. Still, compliments to the Brazilian security staff for handling the situation in an efficient and friendly manner.
Our plane was 30 minutes late and with less than two hours transfer time in Sao Paulo reduced to 90 minutes we became worried that it might be another race against time – one that we had lost here when we arrived four weeks ago. We need not have worried as first we noticed that our departure Gate at Sao Paulo was the same that we had just arrived at and that our plane to Belo Horizonte was the same one that we arrived in from Porto Alegre. We shared our flights with a football team, Gremio, from Porto Alegre, playing in Serie A of the Brazilian league, playing against a team from Belo Horizonte tomorrow. They seemed well known as some passengers were taking pictures on their mobile phones and one lady asked them all for their signatures.
We had caught up with ourselves and even arrived 10 minutes early! On to the Localiza desk where a nice lady greeted us and showed us the mini bus to their car park which also had their main admin block. The rep we approached immediately referred us to Michelle, who spoke excellent English and had studied in London and has an English boyfriend. Lucky guy!
The bad news was that the quote we had via the helpful hotel receptionist in Porto Alegre was wrong. Different rates apply in Porto Alegre to those in Minas Gerais. The good news was that the total cost now quoted was less than the quote we had received, including full insurance. And it was less than what we had paid for the Doblo. And it had only 2,688 km on the clock, with tyres that match that distance. We have a Meriva Joy that for the short distance to near by Lagoa Santa (12 km) has proven to be a joy to drive. It’s now a bit like driving your own new car, careful not to put any scratches on or make it dirty.
We are in Hotel Lund, which came up in one of my earlier internet searches. Cheap and cheerful with a wifi connection that’s fine for Cliff but not for me. Tomorrow we drive to cactus country.