One of the good things of having buena onda with your students and their parents is that they take you on their class trips with them! For free!
This has happened to me a couple of times. But after the last time, I informed that I would not go on class trips for free again. It just doesn't feel right. I'm worried someone might say I'm working hard only because I want to travel for free.
I was hoping my new class would just forget about the issue and travel without me. But one day they called me to their classroom and told me "Profe, we want you to come with us."
Of course, I accepted with a big smile, but inside I was like "Holy sh…!! How much is this going to cost me?!"
Well, at least I was spending the money on myself! So here we are, all set to spend a wonderful week in lovely, adorable, fascinating Brazil !!!
This is leg 1 of 4 of this trip. The reports for legs 2, 3, and 4 will be available soon!
Arriving at SCL
We live 850km south of Santiago. An arrangement has been made with a bus company to fetch us outside our school and drop us at the airport. But the rest of the trip is the normal itinerary of this bus, which means that we stop at some bus stations and other passengers travel with us.
We make it at SCL at around 10 pm, after an exhausting 12-hour trip. I'm shattered.
First things first. We split into two groups. One group goes to the restrooms while the others watch the baggage. I am in the second group. Rats!
Then we are allowed to move freely around the building (always in groups, of course). We have plenty of time. Our flight leaves at 8:15 am!!
SCL has three levels. From the second level I see this corner specially dedicated for passengers with long connection times. It gets quite crowded at night! I spent a horrible sleepless night there last winter. I just can’t sleep on airport seats!
To the other side, the second floor doubles as dormitory for Haitian immigrants…
…who flood the arrivals area at this time.
Don’t misunderstand me. I’m not complaining. It’s just that these levels of immigration are something completely new for us. I hope they'll stay and prosper here.
I’ll buy something to eat and drink (Maxi is the most convenient shop I have found at SCL so far)…
…and head for the corner at the first floor…
…where we’ll spend the night. Afraid of flying? You can come here.
Nice way to add some fun to such a tedious activity.
After a horrible night at SCL, and an even more horrible 8-hour stopover at AEP, I have learned my lesson. To my students' amusement, I show them how homo sapiens sapiens can modify his environment for his own benefit… with an EVA foam mat. Buenas noches!
The next morning
I sleep for about three hours. Of course, when I wake up, the kids are busy sharing the memes they made with pictures of me. They'll see.
Time for checking in. I follow the group…
…past the access to international departures.
Waiting for instructions while the parent in charge talks to a LATAM staff.
We are the only ones at this time.
Know your rights and responsibilities.
It seems like my last year of flying has left me in low-cost mode forever!
The boarding passes for both legs of my trip are printed at once. Santiago > Sao Paulo…
…and Sao Paulo > Florianópolis. I’m about to have a nervous breakdown!! C and B??? How on earth am I supposed to survive a flight in seats C and B?!?! And how am I going to take pictures for the corresponding flight-reports?!?! Did I pay a whole month’s wages to NOT see the landscape???
I growl my way to the police checkpoint. We are practically on our own there…
…so we clear the ID check swiftly. This is where a bucket was containing a leak last July.
Then comes security…
…which is also a breeze.
I have never seen those in use.
The duty free area in SCL is quite large.
You go through long, narrow corridors. It’s like they wanted to take your money via osmosis, like a red cell delivering its oxygen load in a thin capillary.
Once in the boarding room… the kids and the Chemistry teacher jump onto the power ports like hungry predators on their helpless prey.
It’s still dark outside. CC-BGN is waiting there. It looks like this will be its first flight of the day.
5:51 a.m. I’m not sleepy. I ask Tammy, one of my students, to keep an eye on my baggage while I go to the restroom and look around. “No problem, profe. I’ll look after it.”
Very few people around.
These touchscreens would be very welcome in Guarulhos, as we’ll see in future reports.
I come back to the gate. Thanks for watching my baggage, Tammy… Tammy???
The day is breaking.
Aerolíneas Argentinas’ LV-GUB is waiting next door…
…and cleaning staff has started working.
The control tower is across from the terminal building. DGAC stands for Dirección General de Aeronáutica Civil, the local aviation authority…
…and the original meaning of Avianca used to be Aerovías Nacionales de Colombia. The current meaning is said to be Aerovías del Continente Americano, but I fail to see how Avianca fits those words!
Much the same that happens with LATAM, which used to be the Chilean LAN (Líneas Aéreas Nacionales) and the Brazilian TAM (Transportes Aéreos Meridionáis).
They put the names together and - oh, happy coincidence - it fit LATin AMerica almost perfectly. They only had to drop the N.
I wonder what his job is.
Great. My breakfast is being loaded…
…and the cabin must be clean and fresh.
Hm! Look at the vehicle parked bottom left. It says publicaciones técnicas. Does that mean this vehicle is a sort of mobile technical library?
CC-BGN is in charge of taking us beyond the mountains and into paradise today.
Woo hoo! Boarding is about to start.
The future of my country is… sleeping.
But we all spring into action when we are called. Yes! Yes! Brazil, here we go!
Coxinhas and caipirinhas, here I go!!
How exciting! My first flight on a 787!
Hm. Brazilian green in the front. Chilean red and blue at the rear. Very inclusive.
I hope I picked the right glasses for her!
Weird. I don’t remember seeing a first or business class.
The upholstery is not leather as it used to be on former LAN, but textile. I don’t like it. I’m a bit allergic to dust mites and…
…do you know how much dust a seat can gather IN it? You should watch this video:
Legroom is more than enough for me.
Even with my legs stretched I don’t touch the seat in front to me, though I have the impression that a less bulky pocket would leave even more free room.
According to flightradar24.com we are leaving on time.
This is when my agony starts. This is my view from 36C.
I have to contort and focus carefully to take some photos.
…sitting in 36A is a young lady…
…who doesn't even seem to be interested…
in watching out of the window.
BTW, that's about the whole Latin American Wings fleet. None of them flying?!
The thing is, she just leans against the wall and sleeps…
…all the way to Sao Paulo!!
First time I get a sharp photo of that one…
…and its Hercules (?) friend.
…here we go.
We take off southwards.
There are two routes to cross the Andes to/from SCL.
One some 100km south of the city, next to Rancagua…
…and one some 50 km north, next to San Felipe.
Today we are using the north crossing.
We turn right in a sort of spiral and then bank left, right, left, right… I’m getting dizzy!
The valleys north of Santiago under the morning sun.
Not sure if this is the road to the coast or to the north. My biological compass is out of control.
I found it! That’s Llay Llay, 65km north of Santiago, by the Panamerican Highway.
We are soon flying above the Andes, which are still covered with some snow after a particularly cold winter.
We eventually make it to the other side.
Welcome to Argentina.
This area at the Andean foothills is a bit dry.
In the end, I was making a big fuss about nothing. The whole way to Sao Paulo is cloudy!!
At least I can visit the bathroom whenever I want.
I only noticed this button while writing this report. What could it be? Is that symbol a cigarrette? Can anyone enlighten me, please?
Basic amenities like soap…
…and refreshing towels.
Others not so basic, like skin moisturizing.
Er… Won’t they pose a threat to my privacy?
Hm! I have seen that pattern before. I can’t remember where.
Is it the colors? Is it the seat design? Something makes this cabin look a bit messy, don’t you agree? I mean, compare it to cabins like QR’s in this report.
One of the things I love most about Brazil is the language! Brazilian Portuguese is my favorite language! Everything in it is mesmerizing, from the abundance of “gee’s” and “chee’s” to the seductive way they lengthen stressed syllables. For example, the Spanish and Portuguese word for "difficult" is difícil. We say dee FEE seel, but they say gee FEEEEE seew. Now imagine it coming from someone with large, dreamy, black eyes, and a smile where teeth like large white pearls are shining like the sun… <sigh> Makes my legs feel like jelly.
The windows have been dimmed. Boeing hit the nail on the head! With those large windows, the outside light would be very annoying.
But you can forget about aerials if you don't have the window seat. :(
We are about to reach the tropical forests…
…and there’s no sign that the sky will get clear.
Breakfast is coming.
No options. Just receive your tray and eat.
Let’s see. The main dish comes with a bread roll…
…peach jam, butter, a glass with…
…metal cutlery. And they take your nail clipper at the airport for this??
Oh! The butter comes from near my city!
And the main dish is… Omelette. It needs some salt, which is included with the cutlery. The problem is that the cabin is really dark and I can’t see if the salt is falling or not!! You can see the omelette here thanks to some help from Photoshop…
…but the real thing looks like this!
That’s the perfect excuse to approach the lady sitting in what should be MY seat and ask her to lighten the window a little. She looks at me with a blank face. “How?” she asks. “You might try those controls under the window,” I reply, repressing the many derogatory adjectives that suddenly pile up in my mind. She sort of whacks the buttons with her thumb until the glass becomes a little lighter. “Is that OK?” she asks. “Yes,” I smile. “Thank you.” Ten seconds more and we all would have flown out through the hole!
Dessert is a bit disappointing.
Time to check the seatback pocket.
Apart from the duty free catalogue…
This month’s Vamos (Let's Go) magazine features Rio de Janeiro on its cover. Aha! Now I remember where I saw the restroom floor pattern!
Inside, an article about Latin American flowers, since spring is coming to the southern hemisphere.
Passiflora. We have those in Chile, too. Beautiful! Did you know that it was called that way after Jesus’ passion (suffering) according to the Christian belief? Catholic missionaries compared the flower’s pistils (female organs) to the nails supposedly used to fix Jesus to the cross. How creative.
Cattleya trianae, also flor de mayo (Mayflower)
Salvia guaranitica, or blue sage…
…and Erythrina crista-galli, or ceibo. Hm! A rooster’s crest is called cresta de gallo in Spanish. I suppose crista-galli is Latin for rooster’s crest. Am I right?
Safety information card.
Not everything is bad. The middle seat remained empty.
Power ports at the base of the seats…
…and beneath the screen.
Over Paraguay… still cloudy.
The IFE is impressive. Lots of options.
Not a whisper in the cabin. Everyone’s hypnotized by the pixels.
Valentina is finding hidden objects in a kitchen.
One of the parents is playing the classic Bejeweled.
Someone is watching Spiderman…
…and somebody else is trying to relax with music.
Soon we start to descend. I can see green at last! The dense Brazilian forest.
In final approach we fly west to east over Guarulhos, in the north of the city.
Rodovía Fernão Dias.
This building is just outside the airport.
I spent HOURS looking for it on Google Maps until I realized that Google Maps is outdated!! Only the pillars are shown.
And here we are.
Welcome to GRU.
Only a short taxi…
…across the other runway…
…and a taxiway…
Taxiing past a Sw…
…iss Airlines. My camera can’t cover a wide area from my seat!
Pieces of the airport.
I can’t linger in the cabin this time. I have to follow the group.
My first flight on a 787 was a bittersweet experience.
This is what the apron at terminal three looks like.
Meeting! Where now? We are hungry! What? Fetch our baggage at baggage claim now?! Then we are going for lunch. OK.
I’m very happy I took this one. I ended up very confused after all that walking around terminals 2 and 3.
GRU looked infinite to us. We walked…
…and kept walking.
I have to rub my eyes when I see this. “Want a round trip for a fair price? Request an Uber.” We might soon see something like this in Chile. What about London?? XD
ID control. When the female officer checks my ID card she looks at me and at my card once and again. “Engordé,” I say in Spanish because I can’t remember how to say “I gained weight” in Portuguese, but she doesn’t seem to understand. I rummage among my linguistic brain cells and remember I heard somebody say “Estou fofo.” “Aww, so un pouquinho,” (just a bit) she says. I know she’s lying! :’’’(
The ground plan is not very helpful at the moment because I don’t have the slightest idea where I am standing, but at least I know that we arrived at terminal 3, and that we must board our next flight to Florianópolis at terminal 2.
Baggage claim?! Why didn’t the plane bring us directly here? And we have to walk up to the very bottom. Shoot me!
At last! At SCL we have baggage belts 1 thru 10. At GRU I am picking my baggage from belt 307.
What do we have to do now? Walk!
Hm! So I could run out of that door right now and nobody would ever hear from me again! Sounds so tempting.
But no. I will carry on with my current life… for now. We have to queue up for a new check in…
…where our GRU > FLN tickets are re-issued.
After that, a visit to the restrooms over there, behind the check in counters.
We wait for everybody to finish the process.
In the meantime, I take some photos of the main hall around us.
We sit for lunch at last. Our connection to Florianópolis leaves in a couple of hours.
Thanks / Gracias / Obrigado for reading!!
Santiago - SCL
Sao Paulo - GRU
LATAM Not the best regional service. Not the worst. Their catering is light years behind what I have seen on flight-report.com for Singapore Airlines, for example, but it's undeniably better than, say, Aerolíneas Argentinas' boxed meal.
Colorful cabin. I don't like the textile upholstery. I think leather is cleaner.
SCL I'm going to have a T-shirt printed with the letters SCL and wear it all the time.
GRU I tip my hat to an airport that can remain efficient while dealing with more than 30 million users a year. It's huge. Full of services and shops. Clean. All I saw this time was to my complete liking.
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