… procurado una batteria.
The phrase of the day Saturday afternoon as I trek from farmacia (pharmacy) to farmacia in search of a CR2032 for the Snow2 remote. Say the above, hold up dead battery. If a long explanation follows – it is bad news (see Azul: Live the Aventura) – no battery. A smile, nod, ‘fallo, obrigado’ and continue walking the grid of downtown GV.
Aside from myself, the streets are near dead, quite a contrast to the bustle earlier with every sort of shop hawking wares to those walking by. I found out earlier that Saturday is a half day for the shops – so finding anything open at this point is a miracle. Pharmacies and Los Americas are pretty much it.
Three pharmacies later my query receives a smile and nod. Batteria located.
6,90 Reals for a pair (which turned out to be a good idea as one was near dead and the other not far behind) which is not a bad price compared to back home ($2 Cdn here vs $20 at Shoppers for two).
Back at the Hotel Everest, the discussion on WhatsApp leans towards a relocation plan. The weather in GV looks like crap for the next several days – a major system has set up shop and is bringing nothing but rain to the area for the foreseeable future. Dean (course instructor) had done some costal flying out near Prado last year and knew of a number of options for places to stay to suit every budget.
Prado it will be.
But in the meantime, Dean suggests hitting up the ‘Los Hermanos’ – a local bar popular with pilots, has decent food, and live music. Of course the map on Google has the bar in the wrong location (it is further north and on the West side of the road), but we eventually find it. Quite a nice little joint, turns out to be as equally popular with locals as pilots and the manager speaks fluent English to boot (if you need help deciphering the menu).
Since arriving here, I’ve noticed the habit of folk pointedly making eye contact, quite different from back home. Steve (coarse guide) mentioned during his powerpoint presentation at the course briefing earlier in the morning that we will likely find the Brazilians much more outgoing than we are used to. The walk home is a case in point as a group of lads try querying me for what I guess were directions. I didn’t recognize any names what they were looking for, respond with the standard ‘disciple, nao fallo Port…’. They laugh, apologize and continue on.
Back to the presentation by Steve earlier in the day:
1) The most dangerous thing he said we need to worry about in rural Brazil are the power lines. There is no sanity to how they are laid out or hooked up.
2) The people are not an issue.
3) Expect to get swarmed by the village kids. If the kids offer to pack for you, pull your electronics, and keep an eye on the kids (so they don’t inadvertently pull the reserve). Given the number of pilots that come through here and the route they almost always take (GV to Caratinga), the kids not only know how to pack gliders but can likely do a better job than most any pilot. Pay the biggest kid (Steve mentioned that the packer at the LZ in GV charges 4 Reals – to get a sense of the rate). Make sure they carry the glider out to the road.
4) Stay in contact via radio (we will be running dual channel for flying and retrieve) and the Spot (Steve provides Spots for all of his clients, hopefully other guides will catch onto this). Sim cards are handed out for the phones as well. So comms should not be an issue.
5) Don’t cross the river towards the city unless going to the LZ and stay below 1000 feet when doing so.
6) Expect low wind launching. The thermals like to sit out front of launch, not blow back onto it. Forwards could be the norm.
7) The White Room. Don’t try it near launch – it can get crowded. Away from launch, your call. Cloud base at launch may actually be higher than the surrounding flats, you your first glide might be from base to in amongst cloud.
There was quite bit more covered, but these points stood out. Next up was an ‘interview’ of each of us by Dean as to flying hours, flights, amount of XC, what we are looking for. I’d honestly be ecstatic if I could get back to 50km again. Since my heath started impacting my flying, trying to get back to Pemberton to improve upon that distance has been a pipe dream.
Dean went over the standard 100km milk run from GV to Caratinga using maps given to us by Steve and photos they had taken en-route.
So all in all, an exceptionally organized tour. If only the weather would cooperate.
Sunday – road trip to Prado. 8 hours.
Brazilian drivers – they make Vancouver’s worst look pretty good. But in the grand scheme of things, nothing compares to the likes of the Jamaica.
Photo radar speed traps abound, at times hidden around a turn in a passing section. Speed bumps are even more frequent, sometimes unmarked.
As we near the coast, the weather starts to clear and there is hope we may see some flying tomorrow.
But tonight it is caiphirinas (the local mixed drink of cachaca, sugar, and lime) and tales of adventures past.