South America Day 1 - Rio de Janeiro


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Published: January 10th 2019
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We’re off on our travels again – this time to South America, starting in Rio de Janeiro. It’s a long journey; our first day, having already spent 2 hours on a coach, consists of 13 hours of flying plus 4 hours at various airports, finishing with an hour taxi ride.

I have a heavy cold. I can think of better ways to spend the day, like tucked up in bed with a mansize box of tissues watching daytime TV. But at least everything is punctual and I get the chance the read the Tattooist of Auschwitz in one sitting.

We fly via Madrid with less than an hour between flights. After landing, I see the old man get my bag out of the overhead locker, then we get separated by a crazy lady who decides to go the wrong way down the aisle of the plane pulling a suitcase the size of a small hatchback. When I finally catch up with him in the terminal building, he doesn’t have my bag – he left it on the plane. So it’s a mad dash to retrieve it before it gets destroyed/returned to London.

At security I get stopped and searched. The official doesn’t speak English so my 20 lessons of Spanish are put to their first test. We appear to understand each other, which is a minor triumph.

We continue to board our onward flight. 7 hours later and with my book complete, I look for an English film to watch. There’s not much choice but I try Mamma Mia! Here we go again. 5 minutes in, I decide it’s preferable to spend the final 4 hours of the flight sitting in the dark listening to babies cry.

Finally, we arrive in Brazil, negotiate the enormous airport and take a taxi to our hotel. It’s already dark so there’s not much chance for a first glimpse of Rio. We head out briefly in search of much needed refreshments (there’s very little service on an Iberia flight and we are quite dehydrated). We don’t go far, it’s been a long day and we’re tired, but we have our first Brazilian beer at a little pizza bar opposite the hotel, then go to bed.


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