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Grand Prix of Brazil 2006
I thought last year was the only time I would attend the GP of Brazil!

So here I am again; I was planning on attending the GP of Japan and meeting with Mr. & Mrs. Hiro, plus a few other things to do there.  However, with the announcement that Michael Schumacher would retire at the end of the season, made me change my mind and return to Brazil, as it would be a very historical race.

The last F1 race for Michael, the World Championship would be decided there, as it was last year. The Last race for McLaren by Kimi, the Last race for Renault by Fred Alonso, the Last race for Williams by Webber and it would be interesting to see how everything would turn out.  Plus it was a great chance to see the people I had made friends with last year and conduct more business.

Decision made, late as usual, time to book Hotel, flights and race tickets.

I first checked flights.......a little more expensive than last year......I'll wait on those. :)  Checked with the Hotel I stayed at last year.  They wanted 50% more this year at approximately $300.00 per night! Forget that!  I contacted a friend (Fabio, you remember him from last year) in Sao Paulo and asked him to find a Hotel for me, as everything I checked on was either booked or way too expensive.

Fabio did a great job and found me a Hotel just about 6 blocks from the one last year.  And a price of approximately $450.00 for 6 nights!  Booked that one!  Decided I better book the flight around $1,200.00 round trip.  Looking at tickets on the GP Brazil website..........Man they had gone up!  The Orange Tree, where I was last year was Approx. $1,300.00!  It was a great place, but............$1,300.00

About that time Tom contacted me asking info about going to the GP of Brazil, as he had read the story from last year. Emails exchanged, Tom gave me a website in Germany for tickets.  Orange Tree, $820.00 delivered to me in the States! Saved $500.00! Tickets purchased.  So far the trip was costing about $500.00 less than last year. :)

Everything booked I decide I need to make some plans for when I'm in Sao Paulo.  And I suck at planning. :)

But arranged to meet with Michel of ACE models, Jose Luiz & Debora of Slick Models and Daniel of RED 5 models.  So I'm feeling good about this year and more excited than last year. :)

The Trip Begins! (Day One) October 17th.

I start the day by going to work...........typical of me.  I have a bunch of orders to ship before I leave as well.  I decide I need to leave work by 10:45 am at the latest, which will give me enough time to finish packing and get to the airport by 11:15...........my flight leaves at 1:15 pm.

I get out of the Post Office at 10:45 am and have to go to the Bank.  By the time I got home to finish packing it was 11:45 am. :)  I've never missed a plane yet.  Packed and out the door, checking I have everything.  I always forget something. :)  Arrive at the airport at 12 noon. Yea! it's not far from home.  I check my bags and go to put items in my jacket.............that's the first thing I forgot. :)   My F1 US GP jacket is laying on my sofa at home.  This is the first GP it will miss. :(

It's pretty cool in Phoenix, only 75 degrees, and I'm thinking it should be warmer in Sao Paulo, so who needs a jacket!

I arrive at my gate and take a seat to wait for boarding, just watching people while I sit. Make a few phone calls etc.  Just before it's time to board the plane this beautiful girl catches my attention, slender, blonde, just outstanding. Oh well!

I board the plane and take my seat. The flight is very full.  It's a short hop to Houston first, a couple of hours.  Nothing to eat. 

We arrive in Houston and I decide to have some dinner at Papadoux's.  I had some Ahi cooked in a great sauce, much better than airline food. :) Then head off to the gate for the flight to Sao Paulo.

As with the first flight it is very full and the flight attendants are all more "mature" if you know what I mean. :)

One old man (flight attendant) is quite short with passengers, but what are you going to do.  Say something?  He can make your journey miserable.

This year I'm over the idea that there may be some celebration for crossing the equator, especially after last year trying to explain where the equator is, to a flight attendant.  I decide it's just time to sleep.  Which is what I do.

Arrival at Sao Paulo, Brazil (Brasil, now Day two, Wednesday)

Cloudy arrival again this year, but less rain.  It had been raining and was still pretty cool.  I get off the plane and decide to find a Taxi (TAX in Portuguese) to take me to the Hotel.  Ah! This is when I realize the second thing I forgot............the Name and address of the Hotel, plus my reservation number! Duh!

Good job I have Fabio's phone number.  So I call him and get the information. (Imagine if I had booked the Hotel by myself!) 

It was much easier finding my way around this year and I was very comfortable about it.  I step outside and find the Taxi rank.  I walk up and Say "Olla Bom Gia" (remembering my Portuguese.) "Hello, Good morning". Of course then it's Spanglish again...."Abla Englaise?" Yes is the reply. :)  I tell them where I want to go and they say it will be 75 Reais, approx. $35.00.

No problem! I get in the cab and away we go.  (As we are leaving I spot the same beautiful Blonde I saw at the airport in Phoenix!) It does not take long for me to realize the cab driver has no idea where the Hotel is. :)  But I have to tell you, I really trust these guys to get me to where I'm going.  He is on the radio and his cell phone getting directions.  We are very close to the Hotel, when he stops at a Taxi rank on the roadside to ask another driver.  It's all one way streets, so as the crow flies we are about 100 yards from the Hotel.  So a trip around the block and here we are. "Slaviero Executive Suite Hotel, 1435 Alameda Campenas. :)  I pay the 75 Reais and check in.

The Staff is very friendly and speak a little more English than I speak Portuguese, so everything is fine. There is a Buss Boy that already captured my luggage while I was checking in. He shows me the way to the room and wheels in my luggage, waits for his tip and splits. It takes me a few minutes to figure out how to turn the lights on.  I have to use the door key and slip it into a slot in the wall and leave it there. Then the lights work. :)

 I'm on the 8th floor without much of a view this year, but it's less than half the price of last year, and I'm tired and hungry, but first I call everyone in Sao Paulo to let them know I've arrived, and finalize arrangements for meeting everyone.

I get cleaned up and go downstairs to the restaurant for something to eat and drink.  I walk in and ask if it's open as there is no one in there. The waiter just looks at me............so I realize he does not speak English, but we get it figured out and I sit down to eat.  I have a sandwich which is called a Beruite or something like that. Pita bread, steak (thin) ham, cheese and some veggies.  Very tasty! Plus a couple of beers.

I decide to take a walk up to Aveneda Paulista, about 6 blocks away, and see if I could find a reasonably priced jacket.  Man it was all up hill! The good part to that is, it will be down hill on the way back.

Up on the avenue there are these guys pulling two wheeled wagons, and I don't mean small.  They are about 4 feet wide and 6 to 7 feet long, with two car wheels on them.  They have two handles which extend out front about 3 feet, run the full length of the wagon and stick out the back about 2 feet, with some old tire tread attached to the bottom end.  That is the brakes!  These guys are "recycling".  They collect all the garbage paper and boxes and take them to the recycling centers.  They may be homeless, but they are willing to work.  You have to admire that!

After my walk along Paulista, and not finding a jacket, I decide it's time to head back to the Hotel.  Easy walk this time. :)  I decide to have a cocktail in the Bar.  The same guy that served me lunch was there. His name turns out to be Fabio.  (Must be a fairly common name in Brazil.) I sit at the bar and order a Bacardi and diet Coke.....................they just look at me as if I spoke double Dutch. :)  I'm thinking, it cannot be called anything else.  After a couple of attempts, another guest sitting at the bar said "Bacardi y Coka light" Immediately they get the drink.  Now the only real difference was the way he said Bacardi and used Light for diet. Oh well!  At least I got my drink.

I then try talking to the guys behind the bar, which is a lot of fun.  We have a combination of Portuguese, Spanish and Broken English.  Luckily F1 is an international language, but I'm in Brasil so the talk is about Brazilian drivers.  The consensus of them was Rubens SUCKS, Massa is the Man now.  Senna will always be the MAN and Emmo is "So-So". :)  Time to leave and get some sleep.

 I'm done for the day

 

Day 3 continues...... Quick Links Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6