Rio de Janeiro to Austin – First Attempt

We took a R$50 taxi from our hostel in Botafogo around 7:30pm and arrived at the international airport about 25 minutes later.  Our driver had a tablet set up against his windshield and was watching television shows as he drove! One show seemed to be filmed/based in Rio, which was interesting. We also drove through two really long tunnels.  Katie had read about favelas surrounding both sides of the road near the international airport, but saw no signs of this.

Once at the airport, JT hurried off to use the bathroom.  Then we waited in a 30 minute line to check-in and drop-off our bags.  We visited the airport pharmacy, and then went through security and headed to our gate.  We waited until last call to board, and then we went through the extra security selection (neither of us got selected).

Once we boarded, JT went to tell our section’s flight attendant that he had been sickly and might need to use the restroom at some point when the seat belt sign was on.  He came back with a ginger ale and a trash bag.  We settled in, and heard the plane door close.  But then a flight attendant came and started asking questions about JT’s illness and took his boarding pass.  He came back and asked more questions and said that the pilot was deciding whether JT could fly.  Apparently US Airways contacted some medical advisory clinic that said he couldn’t fly since he had diarrhea in the past three hours.  So they came to force us off the plane.  JT argued, including talking with the pilot, but to no avail.  Katie had to pack up all JT’s things while he was talking to the pilot (since leaving was inevitable at that point), and new people had moved into our seats by the time he returned.  We stood outside the plane until they confirmed our checked bags had been pulled from the plane, and then we were led away by a US Airways lady.  A flight attendant gave us parting gifts of big bottles of water and flight amenity kits.

We went back through immigration where they cancelled our departure stamps, and then met a guy with our bags on a cart before customs.  We parted ways with the US Airlines lady in the arrivals lobby.  She promised to try and get us booked on flights leaving Sunday night that return us to Austin as soon as possible Monday.

Once in the arrivals lobby we connected to free wifi and found an R$80/$35 pension in Santa Theresa to stay the night.  We also got word that we were re-booked on a flight leaving Sunday night and laying over in Dallas early Monday morning.

We took a taxi to our lodging for the night, Pensionato Santo Amaro (R$80 for a private bunk bed with shared bathroom on, in Santa Teresa. The taxi wanted to charge us R$70 flat, but we requested meter and got away with R$54 (including two R$2 bag fees).

When we got to Pensionato Santo Amaro, we rang the call box and two confused people answered.  JT thought we were in the wrong place, but he called again and got them to come to the door where we held up the TripAdvisor app showing their pension.  Apparently their computer is down and hence they did not know we had booked!  They hustled around and got a room ready.

We were given a room with a bunk bed, chair (for climbing into the bunk bed), refrigerator, and TV.  There was a fan, that seemed really sketchy stability-wise and really loud, but no air conditioner.
The shower was interesting.  The stalls are very small (especially for an inward door) and covered in white to keep others from seeing you.

After showering, Katie blogged for a while before putting in earplugs and falling asleep around 2am.

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