Travel Journal

Rio Again

(Tuesday 22 March 2011) by Mike and Julie's sort of round the world trip
Day 220-221 3/14-15/11
I got in the late afternoon and checked into the hotel by the bus station. I went to an internet café and printed out the USPS page with the tracking information which said the letter was still in customs. I had sent an email to USPS to ask who I should contact here in Brazil so I could visit customs and with their usual efficiency I got an email back giving me an 800 number to call in the US. I didn’t even bother checking the hotel to see if it arrived.
The next morning I did stop by the hotel which had not received the letter and asked for help to find out where customs was and if I could stop by. The clerks weren’t very helpful and suggested I go to the International Airport. I had seen the airport as planes fly only about one hundred yards above the ferry I use to cross the bay and you can see the airport just before you arrive. I took the fast ferry across and walked to the airport only to discover it was only for domestic flights. The information desk told me with some language difficulties where the post office was in the building and I went there to find a clerk who spoke no English. I finally got him to understand my predicament but I’m not sure I got him to understand what I wanted to do. He gave me a local number for I’m guessing was customs. I returned to the information desk and asked the girl there who understood a bit of English if she could call the number but she indicated that their phones where only for incoming calls. I offered to pay her to use her cell phone to call but she didn’t have one or misunderstood me and sent me to a bookstore to buy a phone card. Normally you insert the card into the pay phones – there’s no such thing as a coin pay phone here – but this card had convoluted instructions where you called one number to activate your account and then another number which would let you dial out.
I finally got the card to work when a good English speaker came from the information desk to find and help me. That was very nice of them but when he called the number it appeared to be an automated machine which may have been for the post office or may not have been and he didn’t know what to do. I was tired and frustrated with this so I just gave up.
I took the ferry back and found out the letter hadn’t arrived with the mail that day so I used magic jack to call my bank to send a new ATM card out. They could but they would have to deactivate the current card and was that okay? Since I had hardly any cash left I told them I would call them back when I had gotten enough money out to last until the new card arrived. I told the hotel to return the letter if indeed they ever get it.
Returning to the hotel, I went to the bus station and got a ticket for an 8:15 bus out of Rio the next day to Foz do Iguacu the next morning. I got instructions on how to take a public bus to the Rio station the next morning and pulled as much cash as I could out of the ATM.


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