A 6am flight was always going to make for a challenging start to my trip and my poor brother Lachy drew the short straw in taking me. I think i got about half an hours sleep in the 36 hours prior to leaving as i had a giant case of butterflies!
We interpreted the 6am flight as being international and i was there and easily checked in by 4am. Nothing was open, it was a ghost town. I then spotted my lovely grandparents who had made the trip down from Shepparton to see me off-i had no more complaints about my early start after that when i found out how early they had got up to drive down! It was a lovely surprise.
With a couple of tears and those annoying butterflies still giving me grief i headed off on the first stage of my adventure to Sydney. I had a lovely breakfast and we were ready to land by the time we had taken off, so quick. This is where my first dumb deed of the trip aka my first lesson of the trip came into play.
So i thought id been super organised and left photocopies of all important documents with my dad for safe keeping, the last of which was a photo copy of my credit cards/money cards i was taking away with me. Of course i grabbed the photocopy for him, but did i grab the cards??? No! All forms of bank card were left in the photocopier at home *expletive*.
I felt like crying, but then got the giggles because this was such a me thing to do!
I immediately rang dad on arriving in Sydney and in that hour between flights spent the entire time talking to dad and various banks trying to work out how to access my money. In the end an express post to the Australian embassy in Brazil of my cards and a cash advance courtesy of my lovely daddy via Western union, not to mention the sneaky US$100 i had split through my bags, i began to feel a little more prepared heading into the international leg of my flight.
I had no idea how long each leg of the trip was going to take as my itinerary adjusted for the time difference. It took me i think about 4 hours from Sydney to Auckland, a straight transfer to another plane and it was onto Santiago, Chile. This section took approximately 11 hours and i was impressed i knew enough spanish to be able to speak to the flight attendants. It was here my neighbour in the seat next to me was a girl from Buenos Aires, Argentina who was a similar age to me returning from a year long trip to New Zealand. We became good friends over that 11 hour trip sharing stories, laughs, some Spanish/English lessons and a shot of complimentary whiskey each (because who says no to free alcohol!/what backpacker says no to free alcohol!). At the end of the flight we swapped details and i now have a place to stay and someone to visit in Argentina in the next month.
After 1 more stopover in Santiago for an hour, i was off on the last leg of the trip to Rio. This was a 4.5 hour flight with no in flight entertainment. I pretty much tried to catch up on sleep at this point. I was also lost understanding any questions from the flight attendants who spoke Portuguese.
I arrived at Rio De Janeiro after the best flight view flying low over and pretty much through the Andes with mountains and volcanoes pretty much as high as we were, and then an amazing view of Rio. It was 5.30pm Rio time and approximately 7.30am the following day Aussie time, i had been in transit 25 hours by this point.
After clearing customs and a change of clothes i found my way to the bus stop and after a bit of a delay jumped on a bus to Barra shopping centre where i would be staying near. The traffic was awful so this trip ended up taking well over 2 hours. Great view of the city driving along copacobana beach and seeing Christ the redeemer lit up. I finally arrived at my destination after being over charged by the dodgy bus driver and not being able to argue with him! Next i found a taxi rank and gave them the address of the place i was staying. They all laughed and said they couldnt drive me as their was an Elton John concert on and the roads were blocked in the area. So annoying! So loaded up with my big backpack and travel pack i went hunting through the giant shopping centre in search of a payphone. I called my host Jacob somehow without putting money in the phone and he said the roads not closed and they just didn't want to take me a short trip. Also it shouldn't cost more than 25 real. So a trudged back to the taxis and finally found someone who would drive me, with a detour in place ended up charging me 40 real cheeky b*****! I actually have no idea if there really was a detour or if i was ripped off, although he did stop the meter at that point as i was complaining!
I arrived at the big apartment/condo block Jacob lives in with his 8 year old son and cousin and immediately felt at home and relaxed. They are lovely people to chat to, very interesting. I ended up having a beer and a chat until about 2am before i finally crashed after my giant day of travel.
I am here, safe and sound and so excited! So far Rio is an amazing place and i cant wait to see what adventures the next few weeks here bring!