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The first day of the Israel Philharmonic’s Summer Tour to South America is about to begin.  Outside, the sleeping city of Campinas, 200 Km. North West of San Paulo, is pitch dark and silent under a full moon.

To retrace our steps, the orchestra arrived here yesterday at noon after a three hour bus trip from San Paolo.  We had been loaded on buses at the airport at 08:00 after a 14.5 hour direct flight from Tel Aviv; 11,000 km!   It’s winter in Brazil, and the cool of the early morning in San Paolo and especially the beautiful winter sky were the opposite of Tel Aviv’s heat and blazing sun last Wednesday. It seemed incredible to be packing a scarf, sweater and winter hat in the 32 degree heat of Israel, but this tour will take the IPO from Brazil to Argentina, Uruguay, and finally to Chili, where the winter will be felt.

Arrival in San Paolo 11000 km 14.5  hours

On past tours of the South American winter, Buenos Aires was chilly and the snows of the Andes were clearly seen from Santiago de Chili.
Incredibly, I’ve just slept 15 hours, recovering from 6 hours of jet-lag and 23 hours of travel.  Until this tour, the flight was even longer with stops in Madrid, Rome or Zurich, then connecting flights to arrive at the first destination in South America. El Al’s new non-stop service to San Paolo saved us that torture!
The day is starting with some “in-room” coffee (“hot water-small glass” just like the advertisement).   Before Shabbat begins the orchestra has two rehearsals with Maestro Mehta.