30 November 2014

Different Roads to Rio

4 January 2014

"I will leave you here."
I woke up to an unhappy Angie and I couldn't figure out why that was. She was exuding unhappiness while she huffed around the room. Apparently she had already woken me up, but I passed out after I responded. I do not remember any of that, so it's her word against mine. Full disclosure, I was still pretty drunk.

I popped out of bed, put on socks and sneakers and changed my purse. I hope I brushed my teeth, but I honestly don't remember. Ang & I made our way onto a bus and all the way to a Iguazu National Park, where we signed up for a boat tour to go the Iguazu Falls.

Logistically, we had limits. We were again on different flights going to the same airport, but my flight was leaving earlier than Angie's. I was also taking off from a different country. Iguazu is Argentina. Iguassu is in Brazil. The falls are split between both countries, and both countries have regional airports. The bottom line is that I had an earlier flight leaving from a different country. I needed to be done with the boating trip falls a lot sooner than Angie. Fortunately, I was pretty drunk when we started, so I had nothing but optimism.

Before the boat ride, there was a drive through the jungle, where we saw a lot of greenery and heard about lots of bugs and birds. I assure you. the pictures don't do it justice.

Our chariot.

Our hydro-chariot.
I took this! It could be better, but it could be worse.
Trust me. It was the best of four.
And Ang took this one.
One take. Sigh.
It's impossible to describe how small a human being feels while approaching the falls.

She was reduced to taking selfies!
I'm the worst.

On a river between Argentina & Brazil.
Can't say we ever saw ourselves here. But it looks good on us!

I could post these all day.
After the ride...

And then it was time for me to GO. The park is set up to be removed and meandering, like any park. There is no straight road that leads to an exit. I set out toward where I thought the entrance might be and prayed for the best. I did some zigging and zagging and (after almost a half hour) made my way back to the buses. Once I boarded, I realized I had an entirely different issue: I had no idea where I'd gotten onto the bus. I knew we had walked from the hotel, but I could not remember how far, how long or in which direction. I mean Iguazu is a pretty small town and I knew I'd remember parts of it when I got there, but I also really really wanted to change before I got to the airport.

It turned out that I had plenty of time. I got to the hotel, picked up some laundry and asked for a taxi to the airport. The woman at the front desk told me I had already asked for one. She had my flight information, so I believed her. The lesson here: Drunk Danie is still Responsible Danie.

The taxi situation was slightly shady. I paid a flat fee. The guy came in an unmarked car and drove me to the border. He showed his ID and at the border and pulled into what looked like a DMV. The driver got out of the car, took my passport and disappeared. Now there were a lot of things that could have gone wrong there. I was in the middle of nowhere. I was hungover. I had given my passport to a stranger and had officially entered a country where I did not speak the official language. I was hot and on my way to irritable. I told myself I've give the guy ten minutes before I let the panic begin. Fortunately, the whole process only took seven minutes. Honestly, it should be a little easier to enter as country. No one saw my bags or even if I matched the face on the passport. I sat in the car while an official stamped my passport. I'm grateful that it was simple, and Brazil should be grateful that I'm a nice tourist. But also, do better.

Checking in was simple. There was only one terminal. Too bad there was also only one eatery. I wanted chicken nuggets so badly I thought I'd be able to conjure them. Instead, the entire terminal smelled like overcooked cheese. On the plus side, I lost my appetite.

Also, I met an older black couple from Atlanta. They were easily the best part about that airport. They obviously reminded me of America, but also of possibility and family. They were pleasant and I hope I didn't reek of booze.

My flight was easy. I landed in Rio, used my credit card to buy food and body wash and waited for Ang. I would be waiting a long, long time.

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