Got to Rio after flying all night to Chile and then Brazil. At least I got to see the Andes mountain ranges from the plane.
Funny story… they wouldn’t let me into the country. Apparently US citizens as well as Canadians and Australians must have visas. The research that I did on whether or not I needed one led me to believe that I only needed one during the Olympics. Boy was I wrong.
I had to sit at the customs office while the went to get my bags. They wouldn’t let me come to make sure that they grabbed the right ones. They wouldn’t even let me have access to my luggage after they did get it. I was basically stranded at within the airport.
This shouldn’t have happened. There are so many points along the way that I should have been notified by the airlines or by customs agents in either Peru or Chile. The airline company (LATAM) that took me to Brazil actually gets a hefty fine for bringing me into the country. I think it was some sort of mixup with me flying a one way flight from Peru through Chile that allowed me to slip throught the cracks. They wanted to send me back to Chile because that was my last airport. I really didn’t want to go back to where I came from especially because I was planning on being in Portugal the next week.
I was able to work out a change of flight with the airline that I had purchased my Portugal ticket with so that I could get out of Brazil and not have to pay a bunch of extra time and money. I should have been able to leave that night, however I missed the flight. The agent that was originally helping me wasn’t very helpful and I think he was just stalling for time so that he could get off work without having to deal with me. I never saw him again…
Luckily the guy who took over my case was helpful. I had to be supervised my entire time at the airport (although as time went on and they realized that I was an ok guy, they were pretty lax). There is a hotel attached to the airport that I figured I could go to and stay the night, however they wouldn’t let me go there because technically it wasn’t part of the airport. I had to stay in the terminal area all night. It wasn’t so bad except for the fact it was a little chilly and my back couldn’t take the hard floor. I did however work out a way to go to the VIP lounges that they had at the airport so that I could eat some food, have a drink, and take a shower. It was kind of pricey but anything to calm the frustration that I was feeling.
Hour before my flight to Portugal and I find out they lost my boards. They wouldn’t let me go to baggage claim and the whole time I kept asking if they had both of my bags. They kept saying they did. After getting my baggage tags I can see that they only checked my backpack.
I had to sit and wait to talk to someone from LATAM. I was ready to table flip Brazil. The guy from baggage claim took his sweet time. He finally showed up and said “They found it”. Someone put the boards in lost luggage. I didn’t know for sure because they wouldn’t let me verify. Their word hasn’t been the best so far. Tried to get the boards on the flight with me. But couldn’t do it in time. I wasn’t going to leave without my boards. So I had to take the next flight. In 5 hours. So I waited… again. Went back to pay for VIP hangout AGAIN. They hooked it up and gave me an extra hour because of my story and seeing my face again probably. To be continued… when I get my luggage tags and on the flight.