December 19th, 2009
It’s a vast expanse of green below, light green, dark green, grayish green; tracks of red earth cut across it, some almost arrow straight. We’re gliding in at 10,000, beginning our approach to Brasilia on Delta’s inaugural flight from Atlanta, cruising over a patchwork of irregular fields. Vast fields, larger than the well irrigated circles and squares of the US midwest.
Low hills lay fingers across the landscape, their long parallel lines indicative of the underlying geology; here the ground is a dark green of dense forrest. Their edges are pronounce, erosive forces keeping their edges sharp. I strain to see from the aisle seat; I am leaning over T, he is reclining in Lu’s lap on our cramped 757. I’m surprised Delta used a 757 for the nine hour flight, even more surprised how well behaved T is on this trip to see Lu’s family.
And now the city emerges, tendrils of fresh blacktop and concrete roadways extend out of satellite cities. The land undulates like broad swells of the ocean. Houses and building populate the rollers, like rafts of seaweed and driftwood–a city floating in the middle of nowhere. Red earth, white roofs, verdant green swathes between, glowing in a morning light, warm and rich as only the more equatorial regions can muster.
The city thickens, high rises run the spines of gentle rises, highways cut across and rail lines cut through emptier stretches. The roar of landing gear lowering into the slipstream, flaps down. I can look inside cars now. Scrub brush rushes up toward us and–we’re down. A gentle bounce and then the patter of applause starts in the forward cabin, spreading, rolling back to us. Some whistles. I’m not sure if its because we landed safely or if it’s the Brazilians, happy to be home. I know Lu is. She just turned. “I am home,” she smiled.
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