Wednesday, October 27, 2010

The worst trip of my life - part 2: & Back

This text is part 2 of 2. Please read part 1 (There) here.

5 months had passed since I had last seen my family and friends, the beach and especially the heat of Recife. It was April and Minnesota was blooming beautifully, but not warm quite yet. Leaving anyone you love behind to meet others you also love is always bittersweet. I was anxious to go home and very sad to leave Chris again, but had no idea what was in store for me.

I headed to Minneapolis with what seemed like suitcases packed for a family of 5 that's moving to Australia: 2 regular but very heavy carry-ons, one stuffed purse and 2 suitcases. The 2 suitcases were a total of over 75kg of junk (about 165lbs) and right off the bat I had to pay a fine for being well-over the limit (which is 32kg or 70lbs/bag when you're traveling from Brazil). $100, a credit card charge and its consequently excruciating pain later, I was cleared. Or so I thought.

Checking the baggage was a challenge. I had everything very neatly packed, trying to avoid stuff spilling, breaking, crunching, you name it. Took me a week to put them together. The x-ray people didn't appreciate that. They took my bags out of the carousel and opened them up, exposing my months of dollar-earnings. Security was called and everyone could witness my belongings being handled by white gloves while I had to step aside and not touch anything. Tip: DO NOT touch or approach them when they're checking your bags, I mean it. The problem was that I had about 20 different soap bars that, on the x-ray, I guess, looked like drugs. Tense. They opened some of the soap bars and rubbed them off with a stick for a substance test. Yep, it was all soap. I LOVE soap. Since I was all good and full of cleaning supplies, they tried to rearrange my stuff as close to the original setup as possible, but didn't make it. I found out the hard way. I moved on to the security check-point.

Saying goodbye took a while. My then sister-in-law-to-be (Andrea) drove me to the airport. Chris and her kids came along. We all cried and hugged and cried and then I was on my own.

There are no carts allowed or available after you clear security. It makes sense, since you only have carry-ons, but mine were really heavy. So I was still crying when hauling them around to my gate, which is ALWAYS the last one on the platform. Karma. Waited a bit, got in the plane and found my seat. I would fly to Miami. But, before that, in the plane, we were waiting and waiting and waiting. The captain comes on the intercom to announce the takeoff will be delayed a few minutes. We are in line and should be the next one. No, the one after that. Or the one after. About 1h later, we were finally leaving. By then you're already impatient, a little sore for being so cramped and definitely hot. I can't conceive why they save so much on the AC prior to departure...

When I made it to Miami, the previous delay in Minneapolis added to the time it took me to get to my gate made it impossible to catch the next flight. I was going to be there overnight. The airport was dead, late at night, and I had to mingle with some Mexicans who were also strained to try and find a solution for the change in schedule. This one lady was very upset. I do not speak Spanish but it was obvious she was threatening people, cursing and ready to bring down the airport. All I could think, after my 'security scare' early on, was that the police was going to come, take us all as angry Mexicans and let us spend the night in less-than-comfy-accommodations. Finally she calmed down and someone handed us vouchers for hotels and shuttles. It seemed it would be ok.

After I got to my designated hotel, I noticed it was a 2-star going through remodeling. Not pleasant, to say the least. I had some problems with the key, got into an argument with the receptionist over it and ended up with less than 20 minutes before the kitchen closing to order my food. Please understand my stress level. The voucher barely covered the cheese on the pizza. I had to pay for most of it, along with drinks. At least I ate. Another problem surfaced. Had I packed emergency clothes? No. So I washed my underwear and socks and hung them in the bathroom to dry. At least those would be clean. Then I slept.

Next morning, the construction in the lobby was so loud it was impossible to sleep past 9am. My flight wouldn't leave until 9pm, so I was in no hurry. Went down for breakfast and met the waiter, a Brazilian living in Miami for longer than he could remember. He was nice, but the breakfast wasn't. It was just continental style and very overpriced for a remodeling 2-star hotel. Unfair. Breakfast done, I had to figure out how to tell my mom and/or Chris that I was not in the flight they thought I would be. Found the computers in the lobby, managed to buy a calling card and talk to people. Then I had to wait.

At about 4pm I was back at the airport and sitting by my gate. I boarded to Rio and made it there the next morning just fine, but my original entrance should've been through Sao Paulo. Guess what that equals! I'll tell you in a bit. In Rio my cellphone was back to working and I could call home and let go of some anxiety. After a few hours, some beers and nice food, I landed in Recife. Finally home, I connected the dots between Rio and Sao Paulo and found out why I couldn't find my suitcases. They got lost due to the change in schedule. I got them a week later with broken makeup all over (remember the bad packing job back in Minneapolis? Yep, that did it.)

But all in all I was so tired, stressed and still relieved I was finally home, I crashed in my own bed and had a very sweet endless night of sleep. It was horrible to have to go through this, specially alone, but now I tell you the story and I hope you laugh a little, just like me. Thanks for reading!


  1. Gata, eu lembro desse episódio! Quando tu estava em Miami nós nos falamos pelo msn e tu estava puta hahahaha... A vida é uma aventura mesmo. Estou adorando os relatos! :*

  2. Esse episodio da minha vida da um filme (ou um curta) facil, facil. Se eu sofresse do coracao, tinha ido pra Terra dos pes juntos. Outra dessa, nunca mais!