Guest Blogger: Paul Rockley.
First impressions last
Let me say at the outset of my foray into blogdom I´m not a blogger or the son of a blogger but I´m happy to have a go while I´m on holiday. As someone who is a regular reader of Maps and Legends I know others will read this, which is both reassuring and an incentive to write something worthwhile. Also, it´s a good way for the folks back home to follow what we´re up to, is more informative than a postcard and gives Dave a well-earned break . So here goes…
Our journey from London via Lisbon was pleasantly uneventful. The interesting thing for me was the importance of first impressions. Admittedly it was late at night (around 11:45pm) so there were presumably fewer staff around, but I´m not sure why we had to stand in a queue for an hour in immigration before we could finally retrieve our bags and be on our way. I´m British, I love queuing normally (!), but this was different and was especially tough on the children who were hot, bothered and exhausted. Effectively it was 4:00am in the morning for us, and we just wanted to collapse somewhere. I didn´t see any ´welcome to Brazil´ signs anywhere in fact the only sign I saw in English was one warning of the serious punishment for any would-be ´sex tourists´. Nobody spoke to us or smiled at us and I was somewhat taken aback by the apparent unfriendliness. I had read somewhere that Brazilians are suspicious of strangers, so maybe I´m reading too much into all this, but I couldn´t escape a feeling of not being welcome somehow.
At least we´d already seen a beaming Dave sporting his England football shirt waiting to meet us from the plane before we headed into immigration. We felt bad that he´d had to wait so long, but were so relieved to be whisked away from the airport to their apartment, where Rach had stayed up to greet us which we really appreciated. Also there were beds made up for us, a fan cooling the room down and the inviting prospect of a shower! What a contrast to what we´d felt moments earlier. And what a difference a warm welcome makes to tired travellers.