Sunday, February 1, 2009

Setting Foot in Sao Paulo

After a week’s stay in Germany, I flew to Charles de Gaulle Airport in Paris where I took a connecting flight to Sao Paulo, Brazil. The ride was bumpy and made me dizzy all throughout the trip. It was a relief to finally land and enter another continent, another country, another airport. I was finally in Guarulhos International Airport in Sao Paulo, Brazil and about a day away from attending Littworld 2006.

Our flight was a bit delayed that’s why it was already around 9:00 p.m. when I arrived at the airport. I had earlier informed the Littworld organizers of my expected arrival time so that they could arrange someone to meet me at the airport. Every one of the participants would be welcomed by someone from the local host and bring them to Atibaia Resort Hotel, the conference venue. I scanned the arrival area for someone carrying a “LITTWORLD” sign, but found no one. I thought maybe the one who was supposed to fetch me left for a while when I did not arrive as scheduled. But I was confident they would look for me.

After a few more minutes of waiting and searching, I decided to scribble the words “LITTWORLD” in my notebook. I lifted up my hurriedly made sign, hoping someone from the welcoming committee would spot me. As I turned around, I saw a lady, holding up a “LITTWORLD” sign as well, with a luggage in tow just like me.

Our eyes met, and almost simultaneously we asked each other, “Littworld? Are you attending Littworld?” We both nodded, happy to find each other. It felt good to find another participant to the conference, especially since we’re both, at that moment, finding our way through. After exchanging names, Sawsan (from Lebanon) and I decided to call the telephone number that was given to us earlier by the organizers. With the help of a Portuguese-speaking airport staff, we were able to talk to someone from Littworld and in a few minutes we were warmly met and escorted by a very tall, curly-haired gentleman to the lounge on the next floor. There we met other participants Lizzie Sotola from Argentina and speaker Lawrence Darmani from Ghana. The four us were the ones expected to arrive that night of November 10. We were so glad to have finally reached Sao Paulo, and relieved to be on our way to Atibaia Residence Hotel, our conference venue.

No comments: