Week 191 – Unexpected Travel Day

Sometimes a plan just doesn’t come together.

The original plan was to wake up in Rio and have until about 2pm to hang out at Copacabana beach and then catch an Uber to the airport – scheduled relaxation.  The side trip to Buzios now puts us back to the Rio AirBNB at 11am – but since we had the car we decided to investigate south of Ipanema in Sao Conrado via the coast road and take a different route back to the airport through a tunnel.  Google maps had it actually a shorter time drive than leaving from Ipanema directly.  But going south the traffic was horrible – first real traffic issues encountered – but we got to Sao Conrado and it was a great area (pictured above).  But the traffic going north was completely stopped and it was because the road we planned on taking with the tunnel had just closed.  So google maps advised going further south to Barra.  Totally shocked going to Barra as it basically looked like suburban Seoul with new high rises going up the sides of mountains.  At this point our phone battery died but we thought we knew the route.  Then we saw a sign called “RioCentro” and we assumed it led the downtown area of Rio which was the road toward the airport.  Generally the sign was taking us the right direction but then we ended up at a bus transit center called “RioCentro” which was at the Olympic Park.  But the road name changed to “TransOlympic” and it was brand new – so we assumed that would generally take us back to the direction of central Rio or towards the airport.   It did but the route was way out of the way and we did end up on the main road towards the airport.  But about 20 miles out of the way and horrible traffic due to construction and some police activity.  In short, from Ipanema to the airport was about 3.5 hours of driving with 30 minutes of walking on the beach in between.

The flight to Igauzu was fine and the logistic here should have been easy – staying in hostel 3 km from airport and the hostel picking us up.  That is when the problems happen – all ready a long day.

  • Hostel pick up a no show
  • Alexandra found another shuttle to the hostel and booked our trip to the Argentina side of the falls (which we needed to do anyway)
  • The shuttle took us to the wrong hotel – it was downtown and there was a misunderstanding
  • Once the shuttle dropped us at the right hostel, when we checked in Alexandra realized her purse was in the shuttle (which was now gone). Including her passport and the phone number for the shuttle.  Trip killer.  Wound’t be able to go to Argentina side of falls and our focus would be on getting a replacement instead of going to the falls.
  • Front desk person spoke no English and little Spanish. I asked for taxi back to the airport to try and catch the guy.  He called the local taxi company to tell them we left something – didn’t understand we didn’t come in a taxi.  After a while he understood we just wanted a taxi to come and take me back to the airport.
  • I got to the airport and shuttle gone and travel company closed – but they had a contact number on their kiosk. So I went out to the taxi stand and “asked in a loud voice” does anyone speak English and can I use your phone (batteries still dead).  It worked and another taxi driver called the contact number and he said the shuttle would be back in 30 minutes but no word if purse was in the shuttle.
  • About 40 minutes later the shuttle shows up – the guy had his wife and son too – a late Friday night for him too. Alexandra’s purse was still on the floor with her passport.  Crisis averted.

Got back to hotel about 10pm – 14 hrs after leaving Buzios.   Sometimes these days happen.  And we didn’t kill each other and most of the day were working well together to solve the various problems.

But Iguazu Falls worth it.


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