Thursday, September 8, 2011

Hands only communication

Fortunately Josh's large company has a tieline from its headquarters in Michigan to its foreign outposts. Thus phone calls are just as if he were calling me from Michigan. He is alive and has found his way to his workplace, a miracle given that his temporary supervisor who met him at the airport decided for him that he did not need a Garmin. Ha! He most certainly does as he gets lost in Michigan, a  flat state platted out in straight lines with the east-west roads called 6 mile, 7 mile, etc. Where he is now was one of the first areas Europeans settled. During the time that English speaking colonists were huddled in wood huts among muddy paths in Massachusetts and Virginia barely able to eke out a living, the Portuguese had cobble stone streets, stone houses and huge, gilt cathedrals in Salvador all still here 500 years later. The roads go every which way and there is not a word of English any where. He will plead with the supervisor to lend him his personal Garmin. Otherwise he is trapped in his pretty tropical compound on the beach which reminds him of his Jamaican honeymoon complex except it is not set up for the English speaking guest. He drinks some stuff called coconut water, half the price as 'real' water and is eating food that he has never seen before. So far so good.

He had to transfer planes twice. Once in Atlanta to get on the Brazilian airline that took him to Sao Paulo; then to fly north to Salvador. In Sao Paulo,, he saw no English. He finally found a speaker at a different airline's counter who told him what he needed to do. Find luggage, go through customs, check luggage again. He had just assumed these airports would be like Europe's. He is communicating mainly with his hands which can be dicey. In Germany, while asking for beer, he would hold up a finger indicating he wanted one (I did try to teach him to count, ein, zwei, drei..). However he would get two beers every time until he realized they counted his thumb.

It has been raining non-stop here for 24 hours and there seems to be no let up. I will try to be useful here for a change here in the doldrums.

1 comment:

Cheryl said...

The highlight of the day for Josh would be his phone calls home Sue. I think he is very brave...


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