Home is where the traffic is.

Av. Dr. Arnaldo

Every time I go back home to Brazil, I’m amazed at how much of my awareness of the city has been erased by a decade of living in little, organised, law-abiding Switzerland.

Take the insane amount of distance between things, for example. Sao Paulo is a massive city! I’m instantly gobsmacked by the amount of time you spend in traffic – and I’m only here on vacation! This was an exchange I had with my mother during my last trip home:

Me: I have an appointment at ten AM in Vila Mariana tomorrow. What time should I get a cab to take me there?

Mum: Yesterday.

As it turns out, to travel the 11 km from our place to Vila Mariana could take anywhere between 25 minutes and an hour and a half. With a spread like this, no wonder people are so stressed in traffic! I dug deep into my heart to find any vestige of road rage, but it wasn’t there anymore. A little part of what once made me a typical Paulist had become dormant. Continue reading

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Of Airports and other purgatories

With the end of the year drawing closer and closer, so does the possibility that I’ll have to be in a plane again.

Like many other people who hate flying and who enjoy grounded life, planes are obviously my least favourite places in the whole wide world. Airports and government buildings in South America are a very (very!) close second.

Airports, I feel, have become the place where good manners and elegance have gone to die. Where else can you expect to see people growing impatient, angry, anxious, before abandoning all resemblance of common decency and beginning to engage in line-cutting, foot-stomping and sometimes screaming? And all of this happens even before they ask you to take off your shoes at the security check – by which point, particularly during the holiday season, we’ve come to embrace the madness. Continue reading

First page, first draft. Here we go.

“The flight AL817 to London City airport will start boarding shortly.”

Anna closed her eyes and took another one of those deep breaths while clutching her book with already clammy hands and mentally cursing the plane, the airport, and indeed most of the city of Zurich. Seriously, why? Why go through this irrational, predictable agony every time?

I’m going to die today. I can feel it.

Her throat feels dry. There is a kiosk selling bottled water about six and a half steps away from her chair, but she feels her expensive high heels glued to the ground. Another deep breath. Continue reading

London calling

One week ago today, I was flying to London on a one-day trip for a workshop. I flew to London City Airport, which is the most convenient airport in London and by far the windiest. As a nervous flyer, let me tell you this: I appreciate the convenience, but I become a ball of nerves for the entire hour and twenty minutes that it takes to fly there. Continue reading