A few weeks ago I traveled to Brazil. Early Sunday morning I got on a plane from Amsterdam to São Paulo. My seat was in row 62, the last one just next to the toilets. This is not a fun experience when you have to fly for more than ten hours. As I sat down I was unable to hide my discomfort and didn’t even smile at the lonely lady sitting next to me. She also seemed clearly unhappy and did not stop staring through the window during the first half of the flight.
After a few hours of flight, the lady suddenly turned to me and asked timidly if I could help her get some water. This was the icebreaker. I found out she is a Brazilian citizen put on the plane by the Dutch immigration authorities and her passport given for custody to the crew. Paula -this is not her real name-was being deported.