21.11.2015 - 21.11.2015
Woke up before the cell phone alarm sounded. The hotel staff had not called me during the night, so my bag had not arrived yet. What now? Tiptoed away to the reception and asked yet again asked about my bag. But no. The hotel staff tried their best to get in contact with TAM Airlines by phone, but without result. It was morning and also Saturday. What were the odds of get in contact with that small airport a day like this? Aaah!! Now I was ready to give up. If I didn’t receive my bag today they could just as well send it straight back to Sweden, so I didn’t have to worry for the rest of my trip. I miserably walked back to my hotel room and packed my things. Checked out from Hotel Viale Cataratas and had a few hours now to kill before Joe came and drove me to Foz do Iguaçu/Cataratas International Airport.
Sat down on a soft and comfortable couch in the hotel lobby and had just sunk into my own little world when one of the hotel staff calls for me. Barely made it up from the couch and walked up to her. Finally great news! Suddenly it happened! TAM Airlines themselves had called the hotel and announce that they now had my bag delivered by courier. For real? With careful optimism I returned to the couch and it felt really good now – almost too good. Time wise, it felt like 3 weeks from the great news until the man stepped into the hotel with my bag. A total happiness arose the very second I spotted my bag – like a child waiting for presents on Christmas Day.
There it was. My bag! Weird you can be so happy about getting your bag back. But hey? No ID inspection??? Seriously? In other words he could have delivered my bag to the very next person?! But right then I could care less.
Joe arrived at 12.45pm to drive me to Foz do Iguaçu/Cataratas International Airport. The transfer took about 20 minutes and just inside the departure terminal it hit me – I must check in my luggage again after just hours in my possession again. Walked up to the check-in counter, took a deep breath and handed over the bag. Oh well. Dear bag. See you in Rio then? As mentioned earlier, Foz do Iguaçu/Cataratas International Airport is a rather small airport – despite the international status. There weren’t many gates to choose from, even fewer restaurants to eat at. The airplane departed just before 4pm and it took about 1 ½ hours to reach Galeão International Airport in northern Rio de Janeiro. The rain pattered against the aircraft and it was a gray and overcast weather. Got pretty fast from the gate to the baggage belt to pick up my bag. Bag after bag came on out the belt, but my bag never seemed to show up. Minutes ticked away and also my pulse, that after a while most surely was at 160 bpm. What the hell! I had time for many thoughts and felt the devil’s horn started to grow out on my forehead. But eventually my bag showed up, as one of the very last bags out on the belt! Whew!
In the arrival hall, I met up with my local guide Renato. We left the rain over the airport and the slum districts (favelas) in the northern Rio de Janeiro and traveled through one of all car tunnels towards the southern and wealthier part of Rio. The weather somewhat eased up the more south we got and caught a glimpse of both Sugar Loaf and Christ the Redeemer. The vast contrast between the favelas as we passed in the north to the luxury hotels that lined up along Copacabana Beach in the south was overwhelming. Renato drove an extra turn in the neighborhood and pointed out great restaurants and local stores so I could easily orient myself before dropping me off at my hotel, Hotel Windsor Martinique Copacabana. Definitely the most elegant hotel so far during this trip. I had barely gotten out of the care before a bell boy grabbed my bags and took them inside the hotel lobby. Check-in went fast and then a bell boy followed me up to my room with my bags. Perhaps not the biggest room in the world, but I wasn’t here for the hotel.
A local store was situated just around the corner from the hotel where you could buy both water and snacks to a much cheaper price than from the hotel room mini bar. Close to eight o’clock in the evening I went to a Steak House that Renato had recommended. There was a buffet, just as several other restaurants I had visited here in Brazil. Take whatever you want, how much you want and pay the weight at the counter. Super smooth! Typical Brazilian food is meat, fish, chicken, rice and pasta in all cooked forms. Stews, fried, steamed, grilled – you name it.
Then had time to visit a local market along Copacabana Beach, organized during weekends. Here you could buy typical souvenirs, clothes, snacks etcetera.