I flew from Rio on Azul Airlines to Foz do Iguacu Brazil to see my friend Patricia (who I met in India at the beginning of the year) and to see her hometown. It was just a fluke that she was here in her hometown at the same time I planned to visit as Patricia is a world traveler herself and is one of the most interesting and talented people I have met on my journey. Her stories are increíble.
The cost for the journey from Rio should have been 900 reales which is $267 USD except as Murphy’s law would have it, the first time in one year that I couldn’t find a trash can or ashtray and threw my cigarette butt in the street I was busted for it and received a ticket at the airport. Of course, when I was first approached by the equivalent of a “meter maid” or “rent a cop”, I thought they were trying to sell me something or seeking a charitable donation but I was late for my flight and said “no obrigada” and kept trying to walk away. By the time I got to security in order to get to my gate, I was surrounded by 4 of them and a non-committal real police officer and the only word I understood was passaporta. I was worried to hand over my passport because I didn’t know what they wanted or what they were going to do with it and none of them spoke English except the guy who grabbed my arm forcefully could say “understand?” which of course I did not. Finally, about 10 minutes into this mess he said “cigarro” and all the pieces came together. I had been fined for the cigarette. Turns out they don’t put the trashcans or ashtrays there on purpose in order to make money off the tourists in this way. Unfortunately, I cannot locate the ticket and have no idea how to pay the fine or what the amount is. What can I say except desculpa and well…it’s just another adventure.
Five and half hours later I was in the charming Foz do Iguacu with my wonderful Brazilian girlfriend Patricia eating ice cream and soaking up the lovely weather, the orange, yellow and red flowered trees and learning about South America from my fascinating and well traveled friend before finally getting to a budget accommodation for the first time in Brazil at Ibis in Foz spending a mere $40 USD per night and all I can say is – I’m grateful as Brazil has destroyed my budget thus far.
That’s all for now. Lots of love from Foz do Iguacu.