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Iguaçu - São Paulo - Cuiabá

A day of travel


View Pantanal and Amazon 2022 on Grete Howard's travel map.

My sandals are still wet from the boat trip yesterday, so I have to put my closed-in shoes on for today's travel day. I have a very sore little toe from a bad corn, so my feet are not at all happy about this. Mind you, it's on the same side as my poorly knee, so I shall be walking very gingerly with that leg, anyway.

David is not feeling at all well today, with a severe sore throat, feeling nauseous and coughing. I fear it might be Covid, David thinks it is from the shock of the cold water yesterday, but Carini says it is just the change in climate, as 'everyone' gets a cough this time of year.

At São Paulo airport, Carini collects a wheelchair for me and pushes me to check in at the Priority desk. She gets us upgraded to Premium Economy too.

There is a group of locals standing next to where Carini leaves us to wait for someone to collect me, and I am intrigued what language they are speaking – it sounds more like Arabic than Portuguese. Eventually, one of the chaps comes over to chat with me and tells me that he is here with his mum who is going back to her birth country of Lebanon. I was right! His mum, too, is in a wheelchair, and he is concerned about her travelling on her own.

A lovely young man comes to pick me up – not a porter as is usual, but the airline employee who checked us in. He whisks me past the queue at security and straight to the gate.

The flight is uneventful, and we both manage to get some sleep as we have the upgraded seats, which are reserved for people with disabilities, those over 80, pregnant women, anyone with walking difficulties, unaccompanied minors travelling on their own, and anyone else who needs special assistance for physical or mental reasons. What great service!

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De-planing at São Paulo is so well organised, with everyone remaining calm and seated until called by the crew.

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Rows 1-3 first (the special assistance), then each row is called in turn. Why can't all airlines do the same?

A wheelchair is waiting for me at the door and takes me straight to the holding area. The last time we were here on the way into the country, the four-hour layover went really quickly, but then we had lots of walking, collecting baggage, navigating immigration and security, and checking in again. Now we just sit and wait. And wait, and time drags. We eat a sandwich and later an ice cream to make the time go quicker, and I do some people watching. There is one lady in the special assistance area who has two masks on, medical goggles, and a shield, plus the hood of her top tied tightly at the neck. She obviously doesn't want to take any risks. Most people here inside the airport wear masks, I do believe it is compulsory.

While we are waiting, a message comes through from British Airways, letting us know that the homeward flight has occurred some changes – we now land back at Terminal Five. Doh! After all that hassle changing the car parking to T3 before we left home. More problems to solve.

A young man comes to collect me, asking for someone called Gretch. This time I am listening out for it, as I now understand that is how they'd pronounce my name in Portuguese from the way it is spelled.

Having looked at our itinerary, I work out that the flight from São Paulo to Cuiabá is around one hour and 20 minutes. What I have not counted on though, is that Cuiabá is in a different time zone to São Paulo, one hour earlier – which means the flight is 2 hours 20 minutes in duration. Doh.

On landing at Cuiabá, I am last to disembark, as there is no wheelchair ready for me. Once he arrives, however, he is a big strong lad, and pushes me so quickly down the corridors leading from the plane, that David has trouble keeping up.

Outside the airport, our guide Saris is waiting for us and shows us to our transfer car. The drive to the hotel is around 20 minutes, down a nondescript side road, and in that time she gives us a lot of information about Brazil in general and Cuiabá in particular.

Hotel Prime Deville
The hotel is fairly large, very busy, and comes across as rather impersonal. We are given a pleasant modern room on the 11th floor, with views over the somewhat ramshackle suburb of Cuiabá, and the city proper in the distance.

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David is not at all feeling well, with his throat getting more and more sore by the hour, and he is still feeling sick. With my knee hurting too, we decide to forego dinner this evening. David doesn't want anything to eat at all, so I raid the mini bar for some snacks and drinks before we turn in for an early night.

Goodnight from Cuiabá. Thank you to Undiscovered Destinations for arranging this trip for us.

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Posted by Grete Howard 16:58 Archived in Brazil Tagged flight airport brazil brasil sao_paulo airline iguacu iguassu cuiabá undiscovered_destinations sore_throat hotel_prime_deville Comments (2)

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