It all began with a simple piece of paper that my mum had put in my hands and that ended up setting my work for all that afternoon! “Just fill in the papers and you will see!” said mum, and I, as usual, said “Yes, Ma’am! You are the boss!”.
Luck, pure and simple luck, had put us in Brazil for the first of our adventures without us knowing what was ahead.
We had won that raffle ticket contest (we came in second place but still, it was the first time I have ever won something).
Never thought about traveling, never had my eye set on it, never saved money for it, never saw it as an escape, never saw it as a way of life. It was meant to happen. That is one of my mottos in life, what it is supposed to happen, will, and you won’t be able to do anything about it. You just need to play close attention and grab the opportunities that arise in front of you “by the p*ssy” (excuse my English but pissed off with how we women are treated sometimes and now I just want to punch something; my pillows have a lot to tell).
So it all began, with a prized paper in my hands saying that I had won a trip to Brasil. Wait. What?! I wanted the first prize, the car! But I just thought, let’s go for it. Booked the flight (seven hour flight, never done that before, don’t care; they must have alcohol on board). Obviously, this was the husband’s, back then boyfriend, job. He is the “money supermarket” guy. He does spreadsheets, he shoots emails, he bargains, he compares. He’s amazing.
“When to go?” He asked. When the sun is shining most. OK, December. That seems good. Tan in wintertime, starting to enjoy this even more.
At 8 pm off we went on an A330 from TAP, Portugal’s national airline (yes, I am a geek about all the stuff about airplanes. I am from a little island in the middle of the Atlantic, Madeira, so I was born flying. No other way to escape it.). Nice flight, no complications (back then I didn’t even care with all the airplane noises).
I loved the fact that by mid-flight almost everyone on the plane was up in their shorts/t-shirts/bathing suits/flip-flops combo. We were officially entering summer again and I had forgotten that. There we were, two dumb asses sitting down with all the winter coats and sweaters as all our clothes were in the plane’s luggage compartment and we were going to sweat as pigs as soon as we land. Oh well, next time I will bring with me a bag full of bikinis.
Passport line, first time experience. Thoughts on that? Well, it wasn’t a very good experience AT ALL. No automatic system, an enormous queue and it was 2 am and I was sleepy and on top of that, I was sweating like mad because I forgot that we were swapping hemispheres. Peachy, just peachy.
OK, done that, got some money on the local currency (a standard practice of ours now), found a cab and off we went to our hotel, Pestana Natal Hotel.
Sun is up and shining as if it was noon and…it was 6 am…
Made it to Brazil.
We had an amazing breakfast on our first morning. The tropical fruits were juicy and sweet and different. The pineapple was out of this world. We had an amazing type of pancake made from mandioca flour fresh cheese melting inside. A-MA-ZING! Every single morning, there I was, in the queue for this. And Rui, my dear husband, every single morning just said ”WTF, who eats that?!” (he’s not a big fan of maize flour; I, however, love it; opposites do attract.)
Natal, we are coming for you.
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Stay tuned. Next week the Pina Mendes adventures in Natal continue. This time in high-speed jumping off sand dunes. We made it alive, no worries. Just sore asses.