One way ticket to Brazil!
25.01.2010 - 28.01.2010 0 °C
It has been a while since I wrote anything on here... about time to revive this blog! Or at least try to - time will tell if I can get myself into the habit of writing from time to time while travelling. During my last trip all across South East Europe, I didn't get to write anything. It's very time consuming to write blogs and upload pictures while having to rely on internet cafes, and the often old computers there and sometimes terribly slow connection makes it a pain in the a... So this time I decided to carry a netbook which allows me to use some of the idle time to write (long bus journeys, waiting time etc.), makes everything related to pictures much easier (I can copy/sort/select/downsize them on my netbook before uploading, instead of having to do that on a crappy internet cafe computers with no useful software), use a myriad of wlan spots/places/cafes which seems to take over the world... and maybe most importantly, it gives me less of an excuse to be lazy with writing
So now I'm finally starting my South America tour which I've been talking about for a long time, but pushed back quite long because I fell in love with Eastern Europe and couldn't quite decide where to start. I was thinking about travelling on bicycle again, but even though I really like the idea, I finally decided against it because South America is just too big. It would take years to get around the continent just on bicycle, or alternatively mean a lot of hassle to take the bicycle on other transports to move faster. I'm sure I'll do more bike travelling sometime, but in a more limited area and rather for some months instead of years...
Anyway, now its time to start! Ivan, a good friend from University in Lausanne, is joining me for three weeks, so we're starting together in Brazil, and when we has to go back, I'll continue to wherever the wind takes me... of course I have a rough outline of where I want to go, but going with the flow instead of planning any details has turned out to be my favourite way of travelling. The best thing on my last trips have been the spontaneous and unplanned parts when I could join other people or follow suggestions.
Before Brazil, a two and half day stop in London to catch up with some friends there, which I had wanted to do for a while but pushed back. Freezing cold weather (it seems it's the coldest winter in the UK in quite some time) combined with enough rain reminded me why I had left London and made me look forward to the summer in South America even more!
So on a cold Thursday morning in late January I went to Heathrow Terminal 4 and checked in to my one way flight to São Paulo, Brazil! Actually, the airline (Alitalia) didn't first want to let me check in because of the one way ticket. The problem is that theoretically Brazil immigration can ask proof of a return or onward ticket to make sure visitors are going to leave the country. Even though they are unlikely to ask, and I read that they would normally accept an explanation that the plan is to travel by bus to other South American countries (which is not bookable online), the airline refuses to take passengers with one way tickets because in the unlikely case that the passenger is denied entry to Brazil, they would be responsible to take the passenger back to the original destination. Ok makes sense to me, but I'm still wondering why they sell the one way ticket in the first place if afterwards they don't allow to use it. Luckily they were in the end helpful - after 45minuts and a number of phone calls to different ranks of managers, they had booked me a "fake" return flight two months later, which I could show at the border in case they do ask.
Anyway after a short flight from London to Rome where Ivan was going to join me to the flight to São Paulo, I had a couple of hours stopover and time to eat a crappy airport meal, and spending about an hour looking for a public WLan spot - which is not an easy task in Fiumicino airport - to sort out some last organisation things. Finally I found one. Later Ivan joined me, and soon after we were boarding our flight. And after completely smooth and uneventful (which I'm not complaining about) flight, we were landing in São Paulo and setting foot on South American ground - my first step on the southern hemisphere!! That's one small step for mankind, but one giant leap for me!