Just thought I’d drop you a note to say that I have arrived back from Brazil all in one piece. Just as the storm set in there as it happens. Originally we were supposed to be doing twelve flights in just under three weeks – in hindsight a far too ambitious itinerary for anyone, regardless of whether they dislike flying. I’m afraid I wasn’t entirely successful as I chickened out of the trip up to the Amazon and they had to get our bags off the plane (which had been delayed for 5hours – part of the reason I got in a panic). As it turned out it was the best ‘decision’ as the plane ended up going to Sao Paulo instead and we would then have had to start the trip up to the Amazon (over 6 hours) all over again the next day. Which would have meant five flights for possibly only one day or less at Amazon Lodge. I’m trying not to be too hard on myself for that particular meltdown. Absolutely no-one speaks English at Salvador airport so we had no idea why the plane was so delayed or why it ended up going to Sao Paulo. And, strangely, it made me feel a bit better about the whole flying process. The fact that we managed to get our bags off the plane, and change our minds at such a late stage, sort of felt like I’d been given back some sort of control and choice. Obviously I’ll try not to do that again, but the fact that I know I can, definitely helps for some reason. After that things were much better and I started to worry less about the flying. After such a big meltdown I actually felt exhausted and totally bored by my fear. Until our flight back from Iguazu to Sao Paulo, that is, on the way home. The entire two hours was flown in a thunderstorm and as we came in to land the wing on the side we were sitting (right beside me) was hit by lightening! Our big plane back to Lisbon then took off as the storm appeared to be right overhead so I’m afraid I did resort to valium at that stage. That combined with two glasses of wine (although Portugese airlines are remarkably mean when it comes to alcohol) meant that I passed out for five hours and we were nearly home by the time I woke up!! Three questions really. The lightening hit was remarkably undramatic (even though one of the cabin staff, who had got up to help someone, must have jumped about five feet in the air when it happened) but it was incredibly turbulent as we came in to land. Considering we were flying in extremely stormy conditions is that still safe? ( YES IT IS … Captain Keith) And, as I said, our cross-Atlantic plane appeared to take off as the storm was right overhead judging by lightening/thunder gaps. In your book you say that planes don’t take off in storms. Well in Brazil they most definitely do. Is that still safe? (THEY WON’T TAKE OFF INTO STORMS THEY MAY BE AROUND BUT IF THEY’RE FLYING AWAY FROM THEM THAT’S DIFFERENT…Capt K) And, lastly, our cross-Atlantic plane only had two engines. For some reason I thought you’d told us that they were almost all four engines going across the Atlantic these days. Did I get that wrong? And is it still okay to cross the Atlantic with just two engines?  (MAY BE A MISUNDERSTANDING  TWO IS NORMAL NOWADAYS… Keith) Sorry if these questions seem stupid. Obviously I survived but some answers would just help put my mind at rest for future trips. And there definitely will be future trips you’ll be glad to hear. (NO QUESTIONS ARE EVER STUPID) Hope you had a good Christmas and New Year. Best wishes,   CONGRATULATIONS AND VERY WELL DONE…WHAT A CHANGE !

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