The adventures began at the first airport. The flight was delayed due to weather, and I got a new itinerary right away, expecting to miss the first connection in Chicago. Though the airline wasn’t able to provide free rooms to the many, many affected people, they did provide cots and bags of toiletries to ease the night for people who didn’t want to get a hotel.
Upon arrival, I was happy to find that my cell phone worked and my Portuguese was good enough to communicate with the taxi driver who met me at the airport. After a few days of meeting all my coworkers and unpacking, I packed up again and took a trip upriver to spend Christmas with friends from Bible school days. Thus began the second adventure.
The number one warning I’ve heard about coming to Brazil has been “watch out for snakes!” (I haven’t seen any yet.)
In similar fashion, everybody who heard about my trip up the river wanted to let me know that a few weeks ago, one of the river boats hit a rock and sunk. For obvious reasons, I didn’t take that boat; nevertheless a normally thirty-six hour trip turned into a forty-five hour trip when the boat hit a sandbar in the middle of the night. Eventually, the crew managed to free the boat, but not without some disassembly of the engine. Meanwhile, my friend is waiting patiently for the boat to arrive.
A day late but with no losses (there was even enough food for all those extra meals), the boat landed at the dock. Due to the dangerous nature of this part of the river, the port is not in town, and my friend had not yet arrived to begin waiting again. Plan B: take the bus.
The bus stops within walking distance of my destination. If I had known that, I would have loved to surprise my friends by showing up at their door. Instead, I got off at the first stop after cell coverage returned and waited for the locals to point out the American who had just gotten off the bus.
After enjoying the holiday, I braved the river again (no incidents, 24hr trip this time) and have unpacked one last time. Next scheduled adventure: preparation for the upcoming mission conference.