Thursday, January 12, 2017

Flying to Natal, Brazil (by Carolyn)

January 12
Jack will fill in the details, but this was a loooonnnggg day of flying. We left the desiccated plains around Natal and flew 6+ hours to São Paulo (refueling stop only), circling that airport for many minutes while waiting for storms to pass the airport. The air was cool and moist, and the vegetation typical of a temperate zone.

We were met by a team of five handlers and had to go with all our luggage (but not the extra gear packed on the plane??) in a van to the commercial terminal. Since our next destination would be Argentina, we needed to officially leave Brazil. Immigration control, passport stamp, baggage x-ray, metal detectors...then back to the van, and back to the plane. The guys refueled while Becky and I looked at a few birds.

Entertainment was provided by Giuseppe who conducted the spraying activities. Apparently, any plane entering Argentina must be doused with some kind of mosquito control spray and your "proof" is the empty can.

Five more hours of flying put us into Mar Del Plata, Argentina, after dark. This island town off the coast of Buenos Aires has a small airport with a vigilant sanitation officer who chewed us out in Spanish for using the wrong kind of bug spray, and she refused to let us throw away any trash or empty the toilet. We almost thought she was going to make us turn around and go back to Brazil. The inspection included a dog who sniffed our plane inside and out, sniffed the luggage, and then sniffed the luggage again after it had been x-rayed.