Wednesday, May 30, 2007

First days in Ann Arbor

So, after almost one week without Internet access, today I finally got one computer on my desk, and now after some problems with my account and password, I am online again, at least while I am at the University. I was thinking about writing this in portuguese but I am gonna write it in english.

First things first. So I will start talking about the trip. What a tiresome trip!!! Damn it!! I have to stay for 12h in Guarulhos Airport in SP, and those were the most boring hours of my life!! My luggage was not dispatched to Detroit directly from Belo Horizonte, in fact I had to get all my luggage in every airport and then dispatch them again, that was not so bad, as the chances for them to get lost were minimum with that, but when I was in SP, I have to carry all that weight around the airport for almost all the 12 hours I was there. When I arrived at Guarulhos Airport, the first thing I did was to look for Delta Airlines Bureau. I crossed all the airport and did not find it, then I went to ask the information desk girl about it and she told me that Delta only set up its check-in desks 3 hours prior to its flights, and their first flight was 9:30PM! Damn it!! I had to carry my stuff around the airport until 6:30PM. A great burden I say! I had a book to read, but I was unable to do that, as I was very drowsy, and I also could not sleep because someone with not so good intentions could simply confound our baggages and take something mine while I was not so aware. I had to stay alert during all this time, carrying more than 40kg of stuff around the airport, only hearing music, and waiting or the time to pass. I knew where Delta would set up their desks and evry once in a while I just passed near it to see. Around 5PM I was wandering around the area when I see a small crowd already in a line near the Delta Airlines Place. So I went there and find out that they were already in the Delta Check-In line, at least one hour before the check-in started. As the Federal Police was in strike, the imigration lines were colossal, and people wanted to do the check in as soon as possible to not lose their flights, so the check-in line started sooner as well. I have entered the line, around 6:30PM the check-in started, around 7PM I have already dispatched my luggage, and then after that I went right away to the imigration line thinking that I would take around 2 to 3 hours until I reach the boarding gates. My mistake, I did not even eat before enter the imigration line, and after less then one hour I was already near my boarding gate, totally hungry, and almost 3 hours before my flight! I have to eat something there, and I never paid so much for anything to eat as I have done there! Bah!!

Doing a fast forward, as I do not have so much more to tell about the rest of the trip. After I got into the plane, I found my seat, and then a couple with a small daughter (I guess) asked me and the girl by my side if we would change places with them (they were in the seats right in front of us), and it was the first file of seats, and the thing between seats in that line did not raise so the little girl could not sleep in their laps. Well... We chanceg places, and we had more space to stretch our legs in that line, as the airplane wall was a little bit further from the seats than the other seats were from one to another. I could barely talk to the girl beside me as I was VERY tired, and almost could not left my eyes opened, and the girl did not seemed to be so receptive, at least that is what I thought around that time. So the trip went on, sitting in that front line I was very close to the airplane kitchen, and in fact if I stretched my legs, then my foot would be inside the kitchen, and just after the kitchen was the First Class. During the flight I saw the stewardesses preparing the first class stuff, and yeah, there is a reason for the price they pay in the ticket to be much more expensive!! The point is not that, the point is that during all the flight I have seen the stewardesses preparing stuff for the first class people, and eventually one of them dropped a glass of wine, and the wine decided to fly in my legs direction!! Fortunately it was not so much wine, but the asian stewardess was very sorry, but could not hide her laugh, well... No problem at all, she help me clean it all after that. I just know that during the night some others small incidents have happened, involving my person, but I did not recall them very well. I just know that the asian stewardess smiled at me every time she crossed me after that, saying something that I could not understand, and I just smiled back. Then my flight arrived in Atlanta just before the scheduled time, around 7AM in the morning.

In Atlanta Airport, I had to take my luggage again, and then left it someplace to it to be dispatched to Detroit. I crossed the imigration section without any problems, as easy as possible. The guy in the bureau asked me about what I would do in the US, I told him, and we started to talk about astrophysics stuff. The officer liked the subject and was not so misinformed about things, it was a fast and nice talk. He stappled a so called I-94 form in my passport, and then a followed my way. I left my luggage in the above mentioned place, then crossed the metal detector, and then I had to find my way around the Atlanta Airport. The Airport was COLOSSAL!! I had to take a train inside the airport to go near my next boarding gate, and I am not kidding!!

I waited for the next flight, arrived in Detroit Airport, that is also a big one, but not even near the Atlanta Airport. Crossed all the airport to find my baggage, then find a taxi to Ann Arbor. The weather was very cloudy but it was not raining. The taxi driver was a paquistanese, I just wonder how he was able to enter the US, but he seemed to be a fine guy, and I not a terrorist! Hehehehe... I arrived at the Hotel around friday 1PM. The room where I am staying is very confortable, there are two queen-size beds there, a microwave, a small fridge, a TV and cable TV. My first problem was to find out how to open the sinker tap! Instead of twist it from one side to the other, you have to pull it out, and then twist it to choose hot water or cold water. The same for the shower tap. Then I took a very long and sought shower, called a University contact that my advisor left me to when I arrived in Ann Arbor. His name is Jesus, and then he took me at the hotel, and showed me the Astronomy Department. I still did not meet my advisor, she did not come to the University since I have arrived. After the University I have returned to the hotel, and have fainted in the bed. When I have woken up it was already 11pm, and then I just went to sleep again. (As you can see I was very tired!)

It was raining during all the weekend, so I did not have much to do. I have explored a bit the city and the region around the hotel, but I did not so much because of the rain. I found a giant bookstore a mile away from my hotel, and I spend a lot of time wandering in the middle of thousands of books, but I did not buy anything, as I still have to read some other books. I have bought some stuff to eat in a nearby grocery, but I spend most of my weekend on the hotel. Monday was Memorial Day, and there was not so much to do either, I walked a bit near the hotel, and then I got back and spend the rest of the day reading or watching anything on the TV. (Training my hearing.)

I am really surprised with Ann Arbor. The city is very beautiful, and there are people from all around the world here. And everywhere you enter people ask "How are you doing today?", even without never seeing you before. And sometimes they even smile at you. But even with that I am a little unconfortable with the place yet, but I guess sooner than later I will be confortable again. And here the sun is setting around 9:30 PM, so it is still day until 10PM or so... I am not used to that yet! And there is green everywhere, and the traffic is totally civilized! All the cars stop for the pedestrians, and such... I now a have a card form the University and I can take any Ann Arbor bus for free! And with a US$5,00 phone card, I can speak for around 5h with people in Brazil!! And the US is really the consumers paradise, but I still did not buy anything!

I am still looking for a place to live here, and have already one option, but I have not decided yet. I am gonna to write more another day! I have already spent to much time writing these things here!

The important thing is: I am alive, and I am well! =D

1 comment:

Marcelo Para' said...

That's it my friend! Alive and well! Good luck!