Something that has made me immensely happy in recent years has been the efforts on the part of Embratur, Brazil's national tourist agency, to promote Brazil actively as a tourist destination. The nation has so much to offer: stunning natural beauty, a diverse and fascinating culture, adventure tourism, ecotourism, nightlife, a unique colonial history and many other attractions to please any traveler.
Tourism infrastructure is solid and reliable except in one critical area and my recent experience visiting there exemplifies this problem. I woke up in Belo Horizonte on Monday, January 28th at 3:30 a.m. local time (12:30 a.m. Eastern Standard Time) to catch a 6:30 a.m. flight on TAM airlines of about 45 minutes to Sao Paulo's Guarulhos airport to catch an 8:45 a.m. flight to JFK. We left in plenty of time to make the connection, we circled endlessly, landed with still plenty of time to make our connection and upon landing, proceeded to sit for 45 minutes on the tarmac, before we finally taxied, not to a gate, but to a parking spot where we waited another fifteen minutes before we were finally able to descend the stairs, get piled into a bus, led to the terminal only for the twenty passengers continuing to New York to be advised that our flight had already left. We were put up in a hotel for the day and given meal vouchers. We flew out that night and arrived in New York about fifteen hours later than we were supposed to arrive.