I’m writing this from the friendly Hostel Alice in Sao Paulo, the Southern Hemisphere’s largest city and Brazil’s business and transportation centre. Although it’s obvious in hindsight, I didn’t realise Sao Paulo was named after St Paul from Tarsus in modern day Turkey, a town nearby my former hometown Mersin.
My journey from Perth to Sao Paulo took only two flights but an indirect route and long duration (36 hours). Cara kindly dropped my off at Perth Airport and there I boarded the 11.5 hour Etihad flight to Abu Dhabi.
The Etihad plane taxiing to the gate, Perth Airport
Etihad’s service and modern plane impressed me although their food was average. I loved the provision of noise-cancelling headphones, particularly since I left mine home in the interests of reducing baggage weight and space.
After touching down at Abu Dhabi International Airport
With 10 hours overnight in between flights, sleep was key. I knew Abu Dhabi Airport had sleeping pods and I went to find them. I guess I already gave off a backpacker vibe because, when asked about the pods, the information desk man showed me a price list to check if I could afford one before pointing me in the right direction.
My sleeping pod interior with the cover closed, Terminal 3, Abu Dhabi International Airport
After eventually finding GoSleep Sleeping Pods, the woman kindly offered eight hours for the price of seven. At AUD 95 (they accepted multiple currencies) for seven hours, I bet many backpackers do indeed choose a bench instead.
The open sleeping pod
The sleeping pod room was dark and somewhat noisy but the combination of earplugs and my excellent Hibermate Sleep Mask with Ear Muffs blocked out all noise and light. The six hours of sleep was golden and made this long journey manageable. Although expensive for what it is, I recommend the sleeping pods for anyone who needs a sleep and isn’t claustrophobic.
The view shortly after departure from Abu Dhabi
Rivers near the West African coastline
The 14.5 hour Jet Airways operated flight for Etihad from Abu Dhabi to Sao Paulo flew over a significant chunk of Africa and the Atlantic Ocean, both firsts for me. The African mountains, rivers and plains looked attractive from the sky and the continent is definitely on my future places to visit list.
When not looking out the window, I spent most of my time playing an addictive arcade game on Etihad’s E-Box entertainment system causing the system to crash twice from overuse.
Waters offshore Brazil contain some of the world’s deepest, most technically-difficult to extract and largest reserves of oil and gas. From the plane I was surprised at number and density of the drill ships, production platforms and support vessels.
My first ever view of the South American continent (and continental Brazil)
The South American continent came into view indicating my journey end and South American adventures start.
This photo provides an indication of how massive Sao Paulo is
The Jet Airways plane after landing at Sao Paulo’s Guarulhos International Airport
After landing and going through Brazilian immigration, I was thankful to have prearranged a transfer through the hostel. Luckily Sao Paulo’s infamous traffic behaved itself and the journey into this mega city went smoothly.