Monday, June 14, 2010
Crystal was actually up before the 5am wakeup call, ready to travel to Rio. We quickly finished packing everything, and got picked up around 5:25. We had a quick and uneventful drive to Calama. We had an easy check-in, as they checked our bags through all the way to Rio, plus gave us boarding passes for all legs of our journey. Our first stop was Santiago, and it was interesting to see Santiago with so much nearby snow and greenery. Every time we'd been to Santiago before, it was dry and smoggy.
At the airport, we had an easy switch to the international terminal, and we had lunch at our "old standby," Ruby Tuesday's. This must have been the fourth or fifth time we've eaten there, which is ironic since we don't think we've ever eaten at a Ruby Tuesday's in the states. Perhaps we should, since the food (especially the ribs) was really good. At Ruby Tuesday's, we watched Japan and Cameroon play their first game. Cameroon had a number of opportunities to tie the game, but couldn't ever put it in the back of the net.
We were a little late leaving for Sao Paulo, and never found out why. Luckily, Justin had no issue with his visa when boarding the plane. His Brazilian visa was in his expired passport, so he brought both his current and expired passport, and while he was told this would be no issue, he was glad to see it was no issue. Between the ribs and pisco at lunch, and the bonine for motion sickness, Justin slept 90% of the flight. Crystal couldn't, however, since she had a chair hog next to her.
When we landed in Sao Paulo, there was some confusion on where to go, and whether we needed to clear customs. After a bunch of questioning, we determined that we needed to pick up our bags, clear immigration and customs, and re-check the bags. The only problem was it was past 6pm, and our flight was due to depart at 7pm. We rushed to immigration, and were about to be called when one of the clerks just left for her break. Next, all of the flight attendants and pilots showed up, and went to the head of the line. Right as we were going to get called by the one clerk not handling pilots and flight attendants, that clerk just left for her break as well. We were facing a long wait, but fortunately one of the clerks handling the flight attendants waived us forward, which irritated the flight attendant that had to wait.
Luckily, our bags were some of the first off the cart, but it was about 6:30 at this point. There was no one in the customs line, but we had a long run through the terminal, including up some stairs, with the bags - Justin used the extra red blood cells he generated in the Andes. Fortunately, there was no issue re-checking the bags, even though it was only 25 minutes until our departure time. We ran to the gate only to find a gate change, but the new gate was very close. They were already boarding, but not our section, so we weren't late. We breathed a heavy sigh of relief when we got on the plane and sat down.
The flight was very short and uneventful. Once in Rio, we didn't have to do anything regarding immigration or customs since we had already cleared that in Sao Paulo. It was a relatively short drive to our hotel (Porto Bay Rio Internacional), and it was late enough that there was minimal traffic. We got our same room as last time - 1802. From our balcony, we saw that FIFA had set up a huge fan festival right across from our hotel, but this late at night it was quiet. We ate dinner up on the roof, toasted to a long but successful travel day. We were happy to be back in civilization, and happy to go to sleep somewhere where a heater was unnecessary.