Sunday January 11, 2015 (Brazil, Rio, South America)
Sandra got aggro this morning and decided we were to wake up early and go for a run. By the time our athletic dressing rituals were complete, it was around 9am and a balmy 29 degrees Celcius. There's this nice inland lake we'd been told about. It's in our general vicinity, and it's called Lagoa Rodrigo de Freitas. We decided we'd head for that! So we start our run off and things are looking good. It's very… very hot out. But somehow it's working. The run is fairly tree-covered and shady for the first little bit. Around kilometre 3, we get onto a big open stretch with a full-on sun blast. I start sweating profusely from my forehead. Said sweat carries a torrent of sunscreen I had liberally applied to my forehead directly to my retinas. It burns. It would help if it wasn't so bright out, but I wisely opted to cut weight on the trip by only bringing a "fashion" pair of sunglasses and not bringing the additional pair of "running" sunglasses. So now there's a pasty white guy running along the lakeside with tears streaming down his face, squinting so hard he can barely navigate the path, and audibly heaving with exhaustion. We turned around shortly thereafter and returned home to our hostel. By the end up the run things had warmed up nicely to 31 degrees. Insult to injury.
Home means nice cold showers. Invigorated, we decided to book our next destination (Iguacu Falls). It's a long way away and there's seemingly not much of interest in between where we are and where it is. So we're opting to fly there at greater expense to us but massive time/sanity savings (it's a 22 hour bus ride). Upon clicking the "Yes, Gol Airways, I agree to your price" button I was met with a helpful screen saying my credit card was declined. OK, maybe it's the US Dollar Visa I'm using. Try the Canadian one. Declined. Now my reservation has "gone through" but payment failed, so I get a screen saying I have to follow up with them by phone.
First order of business is to allay my fears that our credit cards are now locked. I'd love to call TD Canada Trust, but I don't have a phone. Well… I have a phone with no SIM card. I'd get a SIM card, but I don't have a Brazilian CPF (a citizen card). There are ways around this, but nothing immediate. So: download Skype onto the laptop, it is! Call TD.
"Yes, I'm in Brazil." "OK, let me just put a note on here that you're travel– Oh. There's a note on here that says you're travelling. Already. Not sure why this happened. I'll add another note." "Great. Please stop locking my cards."
Now it's time to call the airline to get the payment to go through. I give the agent my record locator. He finds the record, but says the reservation has been cancelled because payment didn't go through. Call me surprised. He asks for the flights we planned on taking. I tell him the flights. He arranges it all and then quotes me a price $30USD higher than my original one. I ask why there's a price difference and he explains that it's because the website may offer promotions unavailable over the phone. OK, I'll just start the whole process over again on the website.
I set up the entire reservation afresh on the website. It now quotes me the same, more expensive price I was just quoted on the phone. The price has been changed on me during this ordeal.
I am enraged. I spew forth a myriad of expletives. After trying to decide what to do next, clearing my browser cookies and cache (you can't track me, airlines!), a random "Refresh" of the browser appears to net me the lower price once again. We're booked. And happily, we have a fun AirBnb to stay in that's made up of shipping containers.
Oh, and we went to Ipanema and Copacabana beaches today. You're now singing one of two songs in your head. It took a forever long time of walking and we were suitably dehydrated by the end. We jumped in the ocean and bodysurfed a tad. We were the whitest people on a beach that appeared to have on the order of two hundred thousand people on it. Straight up. We watched rollerbladers skate stylistically through those little toy pylons without knocking them over. I was offered cocaine by an umbrella salesman. Can't make that one up. We ate the cheesiest mozzarella pizza at a bar called Garota de Ipanema – the bar where Jobim was inspired to write the song "The Girl From Ipanema". If you weren't singing it before, you surely must be now! And then we walked home and collapsed. After Sandra's lovely dinner of soup, salad, and grapes! Pictures to follow at some point…
Tomorrow we find Christ. The Redeemer.