Do you ever have that frustrating dream when you’re trying to get somewhere but it just seems to take forever and you wake up before the nightmare is over? Traveling can be a bit like that, a real headache. From delayed flights to lost luggage, to horrific hostels and dodgy Airbnbs, we’ve all been there. After six months in Brazil for my year abroad, I was lucky to avoid these disasters and with a newly acquired sense of Brazilian calmness, I felt confident about getting to my final destination in Buenos Aires. The journey, however, was not, (as the Spanish speakers would say), a camino de rosas.
I should have taken the hint that my trip was doomed from the start after spending hours trying to book my flight, unfairly taking out my frustration on the cheery Scottish fella who was just as confused as I was , during a £3 a minute phone call to my UK bank. Fellow travellers in Brazil can share my pain when your CPF (Individual Taxpayer Registry) doesn’t match with your English card and you can’t buy certain tickets because you’re not Brazilian. But here’s a tip, PayPal “usually” works (however not always). Luckily, in the end, a kind-hearted Brazilian bought my ticket, otherwise I would have been standard on Ipanema beach right now, not stuck in the Robinson library. What a shame.
“I arrived in BA almost 10 hours from when I had set off, to be greeted with the news that my bags were still in São Paulo but should be with me by the evening.”
With my three connections flight booked, I was ready to go. Bye-bye Brazil, hello Argentina. My journey took me from Salvador to Belo Horizonte, then finally São Paulo before my final flight to BA. The time given for my connection between all three flights would have been enough, had the planes arrived on time and I was Usain Bolt. Consequently, I was running through the airports like the McCallister Family in Home Alone, arriving just as the gate was about to close, heart pounding, face sweaty and a heavy cabin bag slumped over my shoulder. But I made it. Even when I had 10 minutes to pass security and the Federal Police, who thought it a great time to joke that I had been in the country illegally (which, to clarify, I had not). I arrived in BA almost 10 hours from when I had set off, to be greeted with the news that my bags were still in São Paulo but should be with me by the evening. Fantastic.
Surprisingly, my relaxed Brazilian alter ego took over and after a brief conversation with the airport staff, I was on my way to explore my new home. I can’t say I was in the same state of mind, however, four days later when my luggage finally arrived and the airline rep gave me a huge, well-practised smile and told me that my luggage was here now, so there was no need to file a complaint. Oh, there was every need. Lesson learnt? Don’t let your travel horrors taint your trip as they are all part of the experience and good stories to tell back home. Sometimes in the face of adversity, with nothing but the clothes on your back, you just have to keep calm and carry on, and go out clubbing in Buenos Aires in your Adidas leggings and hoodie.
Last modified: 11th October 2019