There are a number of reasons why you might end up spending seven (or another number) of hours in an airport. It could be that your flight is delayed, or like us, your flights were so cheap that you have to change a few times on your way home.
In our instance, the seven hours were at Brazil's Sao Paolo Airport and the prospect of heading into such a vast city just to try and get back within the time frame was too much to contemplate. So we decided to pass them in the terminal building, and actually, they went pretty quickly.
Our entertainment system
When I was growing up and we travelled a lot as a family, my dad always carried with him an old tobacco tin of his grandfather's, which contained all the necessary items required to keep a small group of people entertained when travelling. They fitted in perfectly, with two pencil sharpeners to fill a gap. I remember the intent look on a boy's face as my dad sharpened a pencil for him with one of these items on a trip to Malawi.
Knowing that we would have such a long time to wait I decided to create my own version of this tin before leaving home. I packed a set of cards, six dice and instead of the pencil sharpeners, two rubber pigs. Along with these materials, I also had to hand the instructions for a number of games to play with them (thanks to Pops for providing these). It's amazing how two small pigs can keep two grown women entertained for such a long time. Any travellers who have not encountered Pass the Pigs should look into this quirky and easily transportable game.
Dice games in Sao Paulo Airport
The dice also got used, with classics Yahtzee and Farkle going down well. For anyone not familiar with these games, it is worth learning the rules and packing a set of dice on your next trip. You never know when you might get stuck at an airport or find yourself with only a few Uruguayan pesos left on a wet evening in Colonia.
Airports are fascinating places, with plenty of people milling around and trying to achieve various outcomes. After spending 11 days in several countries on our trip, we enjoyed working out where the different people were from. There were far fewer mate cups and flasks, as we were no longer in Argentina or Uruguay, but the thick soles of some of the women were a give-away that were from one of these countries, as we had spotted them throughout our trip.
Seven hours is a long time to go without food, but this can be further complicated by not having any money to purchase anything. This can be particularly tricky if you are in an airport in a country different to the one you have been visiting. We had been in Brazil for half a day on this trip, but had spent all of our reales at Iguazu, so needed to find an alternative source.
One solution was to exchange some of the Argentinian pesos we had left, but the cambio at the airport wanting to charge $17 to do this, making it not worth it at all. Despite the fact there were ATMs displaying the names of our banks on them, our debit cards did not grant us access to any cash. In the end we chanced it and ordered some food and found we could pay by card. If this hadn't worked, we were going to be a bit stuck and undoubtedly, hungry.
There are plenty of other things that you can do to help pass the time at an airport, including:
- Catching up on your travel journal
- Checking into an airport lounge
- Getting a massage
- Having your nails done
- Writing your postcards and desperately trying to find a post box
Game rules - courtesy of Pops
- A game using SIX dice for any number of players.
- The aim is to reach a target score (say 5,000 points).
- The key to the game is to decide when to bank your score, as if you do not score you lose all your score for that turn.
- What gives you a score? – 1 is 100 5 is 50
- Three 2s = 200, three 3s = 300, three 4s = 400, three 5s = 500, three 6s = 600, BUT three 1s = 1,000 AND 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 = 2,000. All these scores have to be thrown with one throw of the dice.
- Throw all the dice, but you must keep at least one scoring dice (a1, a 5 or 3 of a kind, etc). Keep a mental record of your score, throw the remaining dice (if you wish) and add on the score from this new dice. You must score with each throw or you will forfeit all your points for that round. If you use all six dice, you can throw again and add on to this mental score, but there is always the chance you could lose all your points accrued in that turn if you fail to score. When you decide to stick that score is then written down and used to head for the target score.
- You can pass any unused dice to the next person – if they choose to use those dice then your score from that round becomes theirs. E.g. if the dice were passed to you and the person passing had just scored 350 and you rolled the dice and rolled a 1 you would then have a score of 450. You do not have to accept the unused dice and may simply start again with all six dice.
- A game using FIVE dice for any number of players.
- The aim, to obtain the highest score of all the players.
- There are 13 rounds of play and 13 ways to use the dice for one of the ways of scoring – but you may decide to forfeit one of the ways of scoring if you cannot fulfil a way of scoring.
- With each throw, you first throw all 5 dice. You may keep some or all of these dice and throw the remaining dice twice more. You then have to decide which of the 13 rounds you are going to score against.
- With the top half of the scoring sheet (i.e. 3 x 1; 3 x 2; 3 x 3; 3 x 4; 3 x 5; 3 x 6) if you exceed or reach the target score of 63 you get an additional bonus of 35.
- What each term means:
- Yahtzee: 5 of the same number
- Full house: 3 of 1 number and 2 of a different number
- Low straight: 4 numbers in order e.g. 2, 3, 4, 5,
- High straight: 5 numbers in a row e.g. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5,
- Low score and high score: Throw as above, the only stipulation that the low score must be less than the high score