This week I am on a trip to Brazil for work, to meet with one of our customers and partners. This is my first time in South America, and while I won't have much time to explore, I hope to get a bit of flavour of the place. It's a pretty long trip from Vancouver, and so far the trip has had a little bit of everything - some good, some bad.
I had to start by flying from Vancouver to Toronto, then fly to São Paulo before connecting to Brasilia, where we were having our first meeting. The flight from Toronto was pretty easy. I barely noticed the 5 hour flight, even though I was crammed in the back.
The flight to São Paulo was much better, as I managed to get upgraded, and had a nice pod to stretch out in. I think I managed to get 5-6 hours of sleep, and felt pretty good when I arrived.
Immigration was pretty easy, but that was when things went to hell. I had a pretty tight connection (about 2 1/2 hours as our plane was delayed), and when the bags started coming, and mine was no where to be found, I started to get nervous.
I should preface this with a description of the people on my flight. It must have been a school trip or something, as there were between 75-100 teenagers on this flight. Needless to say the baggage claim was a gong show. To try and make the process easier, they actually separate the bags by your final destination - if you're connecting, you are at a separate carousel. It's a good idea, except my bag ended up "mixed up" with the São Paulo bags, and didn't come until the very end.
As a result I was now stuck behind everyone from this plane (and they all seemed to be connecting), and I now only had an hour to make my connection. To make matters even more fun, I got pulled into secondary screening at customs. By the time I got through, the line for check in to the domestic flight was lines up back to the exit from customs.
So I did something I never do, and cut to the front of the line. I pleaded my case with the guy doing check in, and he let me through. Fortunately security was very easy, and I made it to my gate in time to make my connecting flight.