South America: Travel Days

South America – Brazil, Argentina and Chile with Easter Island

15 June – 2 July 2016

Travel Days 15/16 June 2016

Steps: 13880 (9.2 km)

I woke up to fog so thick, I couldn’t see the houses across the street but it’s not the worry it used to be. The airport had a new one-of-a-kind instrument landing system installed last summer and it seems to be doing what it’s supposed to be doing. The last two days have been heavy fog and rain and not a single flight was cancelled. By the time I got to the airport, it was a gorgeous day out.

20160615_115317aI was able to upgrade for the flight to Toronto using a mere six e-upgrade credits out of the forty I earned last year. I had hoped to upgrade for the Rio portion, but my fare type wasn’t eligible. Not sure why. I’ll have to check on that. No odds. I have a bulkhead seat right behind business and the two-three-two configuration means I have no trouble getting out from the window seat when necessary.

The flight to Toronto left on time and I got a great meal of tortellini and tiramisu with hot nuts and steaming hot bread. I watched The Finest Hours and most of Eddie the Eagle. With my luck, it won’t be available on any of my subsequent flights.

I headed to the domestic lounge, grabbed something to drink and found the cushy internet chair free.

20160615_170433bThat’s a stroke of luck. There’s only one. It’s a cushy chair with high sides on three sides and a movable table to put my laptop on with plugs in the armrest. With an 8 hour wait for my flight to Rio, it’s a grand spot to spend a few hours.

And when you’re comfortable, it doesn’t take long for four hours to fly by. That includes the time I spent cleaning up the smashed glass of water that fell off the tray right next to a couple and their 2 year old kid. Oops.

All the stains in the carpet in front of the chair are a testament to the likelihood that I wasn’t the only one to find out the tray has a slight tilt to it.

I headed on over to my gate for nine and found the gate area blocked with people. Then I realized there was also a flight leaving for San Paulo from the adjoining gate. That flight was packed by the looks of it. The Rio flight was half empty. I was in the front row of economy in the window seat and my entire row was empty.

20160615_224414dI was about to move over to the middle section where I could have enough room to sleep when a kid took it over.

No worries. There was no one seated behind me, so I put my bag under my legs, stuffed in a couple pillows, reclined back and was out like a light. I slept for six hours straight and woke up over the middle of Brazil at 7:30. That’s eight at home which is my usual wake-up time, so it worked out.

The flight arrived in Rio de Janeiro a few minutes early but it took 1500 steps to get through immigration, get my luggage and go through to arrivals. That’s a bit more than a kilometer. The Olympians will get a good warmup.

I was met by Alexandre and he told me that I was the only one doing Rio on this date. And since Monograms doesn’t have split departures or reverse tours for these cities like it did for Italy, I’ll likely be a Tour of One for the duration.

success kidAlex gives me a quick rundown on what to expect and by the time we get to the hotel, we’ve decided to do Sugarloaf after the Redeemer tomorrow and he’ll try to get me on a rainforest jeep tour the next day.

He gets me checked into the Windsor hotel and we agree to meet at eight in the morning.

I get settled into my room which they tell me is an upgrade. It has a little sitting room at the entrance, a whirlpool bath, full minibar, safe and lots of plugs.

20160616_114720kI get settled in and change for the twenty-four degree weather. The hotel is only two blocks from the north end of Copacabana Beach so I head down and walk half the promenade.

Then I took off my sneakers and walked barefoot the rest of the way on the three kilometer long beach.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThere were sandcastles built next to the promenade with requests for donations if you wanted to take a picture.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASome of them had seats or platforms so you could get your pic taken with the sandcastle. Some of them were magnificent.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThere were street vendors around but they weren’t the in-your-face type and few even tried to hassle. My favorite was The Man With All The Hats.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI walked back half way then moved inland to the main drag and picked up a my cat souvenir and found McDonalds. I had an Angus Bacon Deluxe and it was delicious. The meat in South America is so much better.

I got back to the hotel by about four and I was spent. Since it gets dark around five, I know I won’t be going out again, so I spend the evening getting settled, sorted and showered.

I’m ready to see one of the New Seven Wonders of the World.



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