Apparently me and travel to Brazil don't go together. After my misadventures three years ago I couldn't imagine anything worse, but here we go. The travel agent told me that the flight would stop at Sao Paolo, but I didn't have to change planes. At check in they said the luggage was going straight to Rio de Janeiro. To be on the safe side, I asked the flight attendant, and no, it wasn't the same plane and I had to disembark. What about my luggage? I must take it through customs in Sao Paolo. Fair enough. The line for passport control is worse than Heathrow and Moscow together. Takes almost an hour of my precious hour and a half until next flight. My luggage is not on the band, and when I ask and show my boarding pass, they tell me that my luggage has indeed gone straight to Rio, and if I run very fast I may catch my flight. I run as fast as I can, but the airport is huge, and nobody can give me directions, and I miss the plane and have to stand in another long line to get a new flight, and nobody speaks English, and I know that my good angel Renata is waiting for me in Rio de Janeiro. When I have the new boarding pass for a flight two hours later, I try various ways to reach Renata. My British phone says "Thank you for taking me to Brazil" (honestly, that's what the message said!), but when it comes to ringing or texting, it just went dead. The public phone didn't take credit cards. I tried email, Skype and Facebook, but the connection broke all the time, and there wasn't any public computer around (of course, everybody has a laptop these days). I imagined myself in Renata's place (been there) and decided that she either waits until the next flight or assumes that I am a grownup person who can take care of herself.
At the gate, I tried to get some cash, but there were no cash machines in sight, and in the money exchange booth they didn't take cards. I changed the miraculously saved forty pounds and got a cup of something that was supposed to be cappuchino, but was more like brown syrup. I was the only alien on the flight, so the new passport control went smoothly. Don't ask me why the flight between Sao Paolo and Rio de Janeiro counts as international.
With all these changes I was fully prepared not to see my luggage on the band, and it wasn't. I went to talk to the airline representative, who didn't speak English, but after some thinking said very confidently; "Wait" and produced my bag like a conjuror. It had come on the previous flight.
I still had some vague hope to see Renata, but I didn't. There were several booths offering taxi service to the city, and I decided that if I pre-pay maybe there was a chance that the driver would take me where I wanted to go. And they took credit cards, and it only took two attempts before it worked. The hotel reception did have my reservation and, bless her, the receptionist called Renata who had, clever girl, left her number.
So the story has a happy ending, and I had a lovely long Brazilian lunch and a lovely walk on the beach. Yet: why does this always have to happen to me?