My flight to Athens had one stop-over and I made sure that my luggage was checked all the way through. However while I was going through immigration at the stop-over I saw someone, I guess one of the workers, take my luggage off the baggage claim and start to walk off with it. So I ran after him and made him stop. He did not speak a word of English and I tried to speak to him in Portuguese, but he did not understand me. "Mine" I kept saying. Finally he let go and said "Okay! You have to take it then". I started to argue that it was checked all the way through but in the end I was running through the airport with the luggage on a cart and two people from the airport rushing me to my gate. Then when I get there they tell me I have too much luggage and that I am going to have to pay for it. So now I had to explain how I had already paid in Belgrade for it to go all the way to Athens. "Look at the ticket" I told them. Finally because the plane was leaving they told me it was fine and to get on the plane. So I ran onto the plane and left my luggage with them. Only it was the wrong plane. It went to Athens but arrived an hour earlier than the one I was supposed to be on.
What a trip so far and now I had to wait until the guitarist Andreas Georgiou came to pick me up at the airport. I knew it would be a while since I arrived early. The airport was almost empty and I was wishing that the other guy waiting was there to pick me up. Anyway, I walked around and changed some money, and then got some food at a snack bar. All the time I kept seeing that same guy and wishing he was the guy. So, finally when the flight I was supposed to be on arrived I started to look for the person who was picking me up. So, as I am looking around, that first guy I saw at the airport looks at me and says "Are you Airto?" and I answered "Yes!" and we both just laughed. I mean while I was having a sandwich at the snack bar he was sitting there having a coffee, and both of us had been standing next to each other reading the arrival monitor. We just never spoke to each other.
Andreas took me to his house where I would be staying. It was in a small village about an hour from Athens and closer to the Airport. It was around 1am and it started to rain and snow as we were driving into the mountains on a narrow road. I remember trying to see where I was but it was foggy. Finally after about an hour and a half we arrived at his house, which was very nice. We had some tea and bread with incredible olive oil, and we played. He is a great player, and has some specially made guitars. Hand made with, I don't know maybe 16 strings or 20. Just beautiful instruments. We played for a while and then went to bed. I had a nice room to myself with three beds in it. Usually I don't like to stay in peoples houses. I worry about waking people up or walking into the wrong room and I snore and don't want to bother people. Anyway, I slept well and looked out the window to see what a beautiful place I was in. There was snow and a river and birds. I was thinking how lucky some people are. Even though I work very hard and have to travel all the time, seeing places like this make it all worth while.
Before breakfast I prayed with Andreas, who I found out was very spiritual. He's the real thing with his music keeping that raw primitive thing while still being modern. We would play for a while and then go out and eat wonderful salads and then go and play some more.
At the studio we played the whole day long, and I met the record company executive, who was also a very nice guy. So we spent about seven or eight hours recording and then went back to his house and played some more at the house. Then ate some more wonderful food and slept. Then did it all over again for six days. We played a lot of music and I was very happy to have done the recording. I had not known Andreas, I had just heard his CD and what we ended up recording was pretty incredible. So when it comes out I will "turn you all onto it".
After the recording was done I flew from Athens to Frankfurt, and then from Frankfurt to London, then London to Sao Paulo and finally from San Paulo to Curachiba Brazil. It was a pretty long intense trip. I was flying for maybe 26 hours. I guess I'm okay because I feel great! Here I am in Curitiba visiting my sister who just had a surgery, and she is fine. I am seeing lots of my friends and musicians as well as composers and we are playing a lot together. I am choosing all the material for my next album, because I just signed with Narada Records and I'm going to record a great album for them. It's going to be a percussive oriented album. It's not gonna be Brazilian or like jazz or anything. It's going to be a lot of beautiful great music! I'm going to use some of my old original music and write some new songs with my daughter Diana. Anyway I will let you all know more about it later.
So here I am in Brazil and it is wonderful. I love storms, especially thunder and rain storms. Right now is the rainy season in Brazil, and the rain is very heavy. The day is all bright and sunny and then around 5pm "BOOM" the thundering starts and sounds fill the sky. Booms and crashes and thundering rain, all kinds of sounds. I also love the sound of lightning. In yesterday's storm lightning hit across the street and hit a transformer which exploded into pieces. The television, radio, refrigerator everything that was plugged in got burned out. I felt lucky that I was not charging my digital camera at the time. Everything was shaking at that moment, and it reminds me of when I was a kid and my friends and I would walk around in the storms. We loved to do that! It was pretty dangerous, but God always protects the innocent and I'm not that innocent anymore so I did not go out in the storm. I opened the door and watched the whole thing. It was beautiful, with a purple sky.
Today I went to swim in a nearby river and saw the most amazing birds and butterflies. I had some great fruits that are native to South Brazil. Then we had some grilled fish at a place next to the road. We talked to some very basic, simple people who lived near Graciosa road, the road that leads from Curitiba to the ocean. When we got home we were just in time to see another storm. It was not as big as yesterday's storm but it was great!