Good thing there is a thermos of hot, black coffee in the hotel lobby. I pour myself a cup, then another one.
These cups are small.
I pour a third one.
It’s early, way too early. The sunrise was nice, though.
Mark is half asleep and so I am. I slept a couple of hours, three maybe. We knew we would be tired but this was the cheapest flight and we saved almost $100 choosing the 9:15 a.m. flight over the noon one.
Taxi to the airport, check in, boarding, taking off… This is our first flight in a long time but we would have wasted ten hours in a bus for this leg of the trip. It wasn’t worth it, so we cheated and book three last-minute tickets with Azul.
The low-cost company spoiled us. Free drinks, packs of chips, candies, cookies, cakes … “mais outras coisas?” the nice stewardess asks. Nope, thank, we are good. We would have paid a premium in-flight fee for these snacks in North America.
Originally, São Paulo was the next logical step. Curitiba is a hub from where it’s easy to fly to the nearest—by Brazilian standards—northern cities. As usual, Feng researched hotel options online—unlike me, he is patient and usually picks the best value. This time, he was frustrated.
“Are hotels expensive?” I asked.
“No, there are plenty of hotels and you can get really good deals! Problem is, they don’t have triple rooms. Here, look.”
We need either a double bed and a single, either three single. Mark is four, unlike we have a giant king-size bed, the days where we could all squeeze in a double are long gone.
I took a quick look.
“Okay, so if I put ‘two adults, one child’….”
Feng looked at me, exasperated. “Yeah, I did that!”
“Weird. It says ‘one double bed, sleeps three people.”
“Okay, let me check the hotel website in Portuguese.”
The hotel was really fancy, a four-star “palace.”
“Two kids, one adult … and nope, we only get a double. What the fuck? Look at this room, it’s huge! Can’t they fit another bloody bed in there?”
Feng shrugged. “Some say a crib is available on request. But if we book and they don’t have it…”
I shudder at the thought of spending a night with Mark between the two of us. The sleeping part may be okay but I really like my bed with the sheets clean and tucked in and Mark can spend hours jumping on beds, pulling out the sheet to make a house or pretend he is a ghost. Which he can totally do WITH HIS OWN FUCKING BED, NOT MINE.
Not to mention that traveling with a kid kills your sex life.
“That’s crazy. Do Brazilians really all sleep as a family, in the same bed?”
I know in some culture, it’s common. Co-sleeping and bed-sharing is cool, really … but Mark isn’t a baby anymore. We are already together 24/7, I think we bonded enough by now.
We spend more time checking all the hotels and no, São Paulo definitely didn’t think three beds were an option. The motto was “one double, sleeps three people.”
“Okay, how about we … just go to Rio de Janeiro?”
Let me rewind. When we booked the tickets before Christmas, we decided to fly back to Canada just after Carnival, on February 28. I thought flying back before the party was kind of sad. Feng was okay with it but there was one caveat on which we both agreed—we could not spend Carnival in Rio de Janeiro.
“ … and crazy. I mean, Brazilians go nuts, the city goes nuts…”
“ … and Mark is too young.”
“It’s difficult and tiring.”
“So we will spend the last week somewhere quiet, far from the craziness.”
“São Paulo, for instance.”
And now, Rio de Janeiro was a tempting option. One of the many things we said we wouldn’t do but end up doing anyway.
Feng checked hotel availability. Before the official Carnival dates, it wasn’t too bad. There are tons of accommodation options in Rio, especially after the Olympics.
We booked a hotel.
Then we booked a flight.
And there we were, descending on Rio. I could see the Corcovado, the hills, the sea.
“Hoy shit, that’s the landing strip?”
Yes, it was. Santos Dumont Airport, the small airport in Rio Centro, was right there, hidden in the urban landscape.
Time to get ready for the craziness!