Teresina, the warmest city in Brazil
After Brasilia, the plan was to fly over the famous Lençoís Maranhenses near São Luis on the North East Coast of Brazil and continue to Belem. That trip was a little too long range-wise, so we were advised to stop for fuel in Teresina, which was kind of half-way. It was going to be a long day so we got up very early to reach Belem with daylight. We landed in Teresina (SBTE) at 2.15 pm, filled the plane up and Alex went to the office to pay the fees which are due for foreign aircraft when landing in any airport in Brazil. Local aircraft do not need to pay this and that is why the trouble started. Teresina is not exactly an international destination, so the airport manager had never filled out the corresponding form, which was required to be able to continue our flight. He really had no idea and started asking for help around him, and then by phone until finally after about an hour he found someone who could help him in Belem. Finally, after a crazy conversation between the various people in the office, two people on the phone and the manager struggling to fill out the form on the computer, he finally produced the precious print out which allowed us to pay and served as a receipt.
Inside the office: Alex on the phone with the handler, two managers trying to fill out the form helped by a third on the phone from Belem:
We were very relieved and immediately got up to return to the plane when suddenly our handler called and informed us that a NOTAM (Notice to Airmen) had just been published about Belem: the runway would close that day from 6.30 pm to 11 pm because of construction! It was 4.30 pm and we were 2.5 hours away ....
So thanks to this series of events, we were able to discover Teresina, province of Piuai in the Nordeste, the poorest region of Brazil. Teresina is famous for being the warmest city in the country which I completely believe because when we left the next day at 8 am, it was already 26 degrees Celsius outside. Luckily the hotel had a pool and a nice view of the city's river Poty.
That evening, we had dinner at the pool bar, outside of course, and were treated to a Brazilian dance show given by a group of guests that apparently were part of a dance club and were practicing together in their bathing suits. It was pretty good and a nice reward for the unexpected situation we encountered. The Lençoís would need to wait a little longer!