I’ve been to airports in more than twenty countries in the last two decades – from Australia to Finland – and the boarding process is pretty much the same everywhere. In addition to a seat number, your ticket contains a boarding zone. When your boarding zone is called you queue up and wait to board the plane.
In Brazil, on Azul Airlines, I encountered a high-tech boarding process that took a while to deconstruct and figure out. Once I had done that, I found the method worked exceedingly well.
The first element is the boarding sign. It includes row numbers in different colors. If your row is highlighted with a green square it’s your turn to enter the boarding queue. Orange means get ready.
In addition to the boarding sign there is a row of suspended projectors [left] that is displaying a moving slidewalk image [right] on the floor. The numbers within the colored rectangles correspond to the row numbers on the boarding sign.
When it’s your turn, you find the rectangle on the floor with your row number in it and follow it as it moves towards the gate agent. There is still a boarding zone printed on your ticket (zone 2 in my case), but you just ignore the zone and pay attention to your row number on the boarding sign.
Once I figured it out, with the help of the translation app on my phone, it was no longer necessary for me to pay attention to the gate agent announcements – which I couldn’t understand anyway because have your heard most airport PA systems? (Plus the announcements were in Portuguese only.)
You can sometimes measure a journey by the change in size of the airport on your route. JFK is bigger than Tocumen in Panama City, which is bigger than Manaus, which in turn is bigger than Belém. But bigger doesn’t always mean more comfortable or there is more stuff to divert your attention and while away the time while waiting for flights.
While each airport from JFK to Manaus had candy stores, they were selling the same industrial chocolate candy brands you can find in every airport duty-free shop anywhere. In other words, boring. While an industrial confectionery brand in Brazil, CacauShow has a standalone kiosk in the Belém airport. Artesenal (artisanal) chocolate brands could be found in the Amazonia-themed gift shops. I’d tasted CacauShow before so I was not disappointed that the kiosk was not open for business.
Welcome to the Amazon.
The temperature and humidity are a big deal when it takes more than thirty minutes to unload the plane – and my bag was among the last off the flight. Because, of course my bag was full of chocolate bars for the festival.
After being met (there were others on the flight), we were taken to the hotel to drop off our bags before heading to lunch.
I happen to love the food in Brazil and the combination of the location, the company, and the food itself made this lunch at Ver o Rio the perfect way to relax into the trip before heading back to the hotel to freshen up before heading out for the opening ceremonies at the festival Chocolat Xingu 2022.