Thursday, June 26, 2008

The 1950's Terminal, And More!

Ever notice how when certain products are advertised, there's often that added tag, "and more!" What exactly is the "more?" For instance, if you see an advertisement for, say, a set of fancy pens, you may hear the ad-person say, "For $19.95, you'll receive six pens, a set of stationery, and more!" More? More what? What if all I want are the pens and paper, and I'm just paying extra for an unnecessary ad-on? Okay, this has nothing to do with what I was meaning to write.

So we landed in Rio de Janeiro. Everyone that's heard about this city has preconceived notions of what it's like: Glamorous, beautiful, beautiful people, big, perhaps violent. I pictured it as beautiful beaches and people, with big rocks and the Christ statue. In fact, I was planning on feeling pretty out of place.

Upon landing, I put on my bug repellent. I make a point to be as nerdy as possible sometimes. Whatever the case, it felt good to finally be there. I stood up and grabbed my two backpacks and computer case, checked for the millionth time to make sure my passport was in my purse-esque wallet thing strapped across my chest, and walked into the terminal and eventually to customs and immigration. I took in my surroundings. So far, nothing looked flashy and glamorous. It just looked old, like, 1950's old. That's not a bad thing; it just showed that this particular place had some years behind it. Getting through all the entry stuff was easy. You have to apply for a visa at the Consulate General in the States before coming to Brazil, so they didn't ask any questions or anything, just stamped and let me move on. I was in Brazil officially. I arrived at night, which Francisco (The Brazilian gentleman with whom I'd be working and with whom I'd been communicating for a while) told me not to do here. In my defense, I was originally scheduled to arrive in the morning. You know the story.

So I walked to the exit area of the airport. I didn't really know what to do at this juncture. A fellow at the hostel where I'd be staying told me I could get there by taking a bus from the airport, but seeing as it was dark and it would be more difficult to see where we were going, I figured a taxi would be the better option. There was also nobody to ask. There was no tourist kiosk or anything like that, although I was in the most touristy place in the country. I also had almost no cash, so, with bags in hand and on back, I staggered to and fro, across and back on this floor of the airport, trying to at least find a cash machine. I found nothing, so I finally talked to a random cab driver standing by the door who spoke a little English. This might have been my first mistake. I literally told him I would take a cab, but I had "no money." He kindly took me to the third floor, where the ATM's were conveniently located. After trying two machines with no success, I believe the third was a charm. Little did I know, however, that the cab ride from the airport to Copacabana was going to cost me ninety-two reais. Now, I wasn't, and am still not, an expert on the Brazilian currency, but I did know that that was a ridiculous gringo ripoff. I accepted it anyway and hopped in his buddy's cab. At least I was going somewhere.


At June 29, 2008 at 9:53 PM , Blogger gibbogirl said...

no sacrifice, no victory


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