Monday, July 4, 2011

Longest day ever, lucky ducks and Chuy

We had a 9:45 flight out of South Africa on Friday. The admin at the office was insistent that we leave at a painful 5:45am to make sure we made it on time. My brain was insistent that it was far too anxious about this early departure to allow me to sleep past 2am. Note to my brain- You’re mean.

So after just a couple of hours of sleep we get all the last minute things packed away and make it to the airport before the sun even rises. This is with our ride being late. Note to insistent admin- You’re mean.

We eat a leisurely breakfast, do a tiny bit of shopping (Dang you, Out of Africa store, for being so tempting!) and sit around to wait for our flight. Of course 5 minutes after we’re supposed to be boarding we decide to go recheck the gate. They’ve changed it. We’ve been at the airport for hours and now we’re high-tailing it to the other end of the terminal. Note to SA airport announcers- Maybe earlier announcements would be helpful. Oh, and you’re mean.

As we finally reached the gate, we see that we’re delayed. It’s only an hour, so nothing too tragic. We’re both bleary-eyed and exhausted, but we both think we can last at least an hour before crashing on the plane. We finally board and we both just look at each other, now wide-eyed and bushy-tailed. WTH? We eat, watch a movie and then Julie takes the first turn laying down on our empty row of 4 to catch some z’s.

I eventually feel tired and take my turn lying down. When I get up, we’re only a few hours away from Buenos Aires. Yay! We love BA and are looking forward to a relaxing weekend and some shopping. As I mentioned before, some redneck hoodlums broke into our storage units and swiped my gorgeous purse and custom jacket I got there in 2009 and I’m so excited to get to replace them.

The captain then comes on and says “Well folks, as some of you in first class already know (we plebs in the back are the last to know I guess) we’re not going to Buenos Aires.” Ugh.

Ash cloud. We knew there was a small risk and had been keeping an eye on it all week. The captain tells us we’re going to Sao Paulo instead. Um, hope our friends are home this weekend. Nope, Sao Paulo has had to close due to traffic. Now we’re going to the other airport north of Sao Paulo. Okay, that airport is even closer to our friends that live there. We’re disappointed, but what can you do? As we start making the list of people, hotels, and airlines we need to call when we land, the captain comes back on. The other airport has closed as well due to traffic. We only have enough fuel to get to Rio.

As the people around us let out a frustrated collective sigh, the wife and I scream “YES!” and pump our fists in the air. You know, cause we’re cool like that.

If your flight is going to get diverted to 3 different airports, you can’t ask for better luck than the last one being where you needed to be on Sunday anyway.

After sitting on the airplane for over an hour while they decided if we were getting off or refueling to take us God knows where, making it through immigration and gathering all 743 of our bags, we attempt to tell South African Airline officials we wouldn’t be joining them on the flight the next day. Eventually we gave up and just grabbed a taxi to our hotel, crossing our fingers the whole way that they would have room at the inn.

At 10pm I realized we had pretty much been up for 24 hours save a couple of cat naps on the plane. Did I mention the toddler that screamed the entire flight?

It was a long, long day but we were so grateful to be in Rio and done with flying for the weekend considering how bad it could have been with the ash cloud mess.

Our hotel is just outside Ipanema Beach which is just outside Copacabana Beach and no, I can’t stop singing either song. It was pretty much overcast all weekend, but we enjoyed welcoming our friend from Atl to the department, enjoyed a leisurely Saturday walking, drinking and eating down by the beach and spent Sunday shopping at the Ipanema fair and getting settled in.

Oh and we also ran into Chuy. Again. Seriously.

This time I had showered and got the photo to prove it…


It was so crazy after seeing him in Australia 4 months ago. We were in the lounge and Julie says “You’re never going to believe who is down at the pool.” I look down thinking somehow our friend got a flight out of Buenos Aires and had made it here only to see Chuy. I could no longer ignore the universe’s desire for us to be BFF’s and immediately went down to meet him. He was really very nice, equally shocked at how we had been in the same faraway locales at the same time and he even invited us to come out to see the show in LA.

Luck seems to be shining on us this round and we’re so looking forward to getting to know Rio and to spending time with good friends. This weekend we’re taking a road trip to Buzios to hopefully enjoy some sunny beach time!

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