Monday, November 17, 2008
Heart tears on the way back into NYC
I had cried as I drove away from Vivaldo’s. Looking back through the rear window, I saw that he was doing the same. How did I make such a strong connection through culture and language, age and race so quickly?
All in all the flight was uneventful. Getting through to the flight was the rub. Henrique was right on time to pick me up at Rua Calzans Neto, Zeno’s place. We drove through Stela Mares on the way to the airport. I settled all accounts with him, and he gave me a hug goodbye. My NY cabbies like me, but don't hug back. At check-in they charged me extra for one of my bags which was a bitch, and I realized that I could have concealed it and kept the money for myself..oh well.
When I changed planes in São Paulo a few hours later, I was told at security I would have to forfeit my Jurabeba. I freaked, inside. There was significance to this bottle, that had nothing to do with its claims for sexual potency. I was forced to back out of security and look for a cheap bag to pack it into. That was a fairly easy and inexpensive equation to solve.
Back through security now, I had to be scanned and frisked, why I wasn’t clear. Bitch. I moved to the passport check and learned that Nicé at Brazilian Travel in NY had counted wrong. Instead of just being at 90 days for my length of stay, I was at 92 and now in violation. Shit.
Not knowing that my flight was about to be delayed I sweated the next ten minutes that this holdup would cost me my seat. Politely I half complained and half joked to the young Customs Official. He quickly said that if I missed my flight, he knew a Brazilian who would put me up, him. How odd, sweet and genuine. He had truly meant it. This is why I didn’t want to go. People embraced me here. I don’t know what my Juju, fairy dust or aura looked like, but something was operative.
His superior came over approved my passage after I signed an affidavit and was informed that I had to present a copy of it with my visa at my next entry into Brazil. Marked. I told them that I loved their country. I could have been singled out for worse offenses. Whew. I checked out Duty Free, had a final shot of Cachaça, bought a CD, and went to the lounge to wait out the new delay. On the plane, I found an extra leg room seat, my dream. Watched the Will Smith, down and out superhero movie, got a bit maudlin over all the goodbyes and drank cheap Argentinean wine all the way to NYC.
The late start meant that I missed Michele when we touched down. Instead of arriving at dawn it was close to eight by the time I got through customs. P.S. with no hassles at all. I had no U.S. dollars, so I was a bit jammed up initially. I found Jill at home, which was essential because I realized that I had no keys to my house. She offered to meet me in Harlem and let me in. I found a cash machine just outside of Baggage Claim, waited another hour for Super Shuttle and made it out in the chill, brutal winter wind to the van and began the final leg back home.