Each trip is a new experience and a lesson learned. Sadly, not all experiences are good but they are definitely a lesson learned.
Today’s story is about a trip, one that seemed a pretty regular one. In hindsight , I now see it was doomed from the start…
It all began when I decided to go back home and visit my family back in Brazil. I hadn’t been back in probably 10 years after I left, so a visit was way overdue.
I started looking for plane tickets and they were all quite expensive for my pocket at the time. When I was finally giving up, I found one quite cheap, way too cheap.
Mistake number one: Buying a cheap ticket means there is a catch. There is always a catch.
On my way from London to Rio, there was a short flight connection in Fiumicino airport, Rome.
It would be just fine if the airport was operating normally and if it wasn’t so disorganized and busy.
You see, the airport caught on fire not long before I went there, so you can imagine the long lines for security and the entrance for boarding.
Not a single soul could speak a little English, Spanish or Portuguese, the languages that I can still defend myself, to send me in the right direction and even if they did, they could care less.
It got to a point where I was walking in circles and was about to miss my flight.
So, I ran as fast as I could, jumped the security line and in front of the officer I started to wave my ticket like crazy saying that I was going to miss my flight. I got in! LOL Just to get stuck in another line, but this time at the boarding gate. At least I had finally found my gate!
I got on the plane and found my seat, next to an elderly lady who enjoyed some chit chat and a little bragging about how well her daughter was doing. Bla bla bla. Eventually, the conversation died down and I started watching some movies. All of them.
I can’t sleep in planes, I get too nervous. Besides if the pilot needs me, I have to be awake and ready to help! So does my brain who has been watching way too many movies thinks. What is this, that when we watch TV, we think we can do the same in real life? We don’t watch movies as entertainment but as survival training.
If the pilot ever needs me, I am sorry folks, we are going down. Still, my brain thinks that it needs to be ready and alert, I stay awake all night like a bat.
I finally got home, visited my family for the first time in ten years. I ate a lot! One day, I’ll write a post about the things you should try when visiting Brazil, I walked around the city and enjoyed my stay. When you don’t visit often your family treats you so well! HA!
It was a nice trip, until the time to head back to London came.
Remember the plane ticket with a catch? On my way to Rio what happened was accidental, you know, the airport caught on fire and all that. On the way back all that happened was a bad idea.
I picked a ticket that had a 13 hours wait for my connection flight from guess where? Fiumicino to London.
In my head I thought: Oh, I can use this time to get on one of those hop-on hop-off buses and visit Rome.
Yeah… such a bad idea.
Remember that I can’t sleep on planes because the pilot might need me? Remember that I stay awake like a bat for the whole 11-hour flight? Remember, remember? Why don’t I?
I arrived in Fiumicino, I found a kiosk that would help me take me to the hop-on hop-off bus stop. I entered the bus, and… I fell asleep! I can’t sleep in planes but I sure can in buses!
People, I could not keep my head up to save my life. I looked like one of those bobble head dolls. I would take a couple pictures and my head would fall back.
Then I would wake up with people staring and laughing at me. I was trying so hard to stay awake that I was developing a technique of keeping one eye closed and the other opened. I failed.
In one of my brief moments awake. I decided to hop-off the bus because perhaps movement would make me wake up.
I got off the Fontana di Trevi stop and there I went to see the famous fountain. It was there, under construction and with no water. NOT A DROP.
By the way, not the first time it has happened to me. When I was a kid, I went with my family to visit Itaipú, which is the biggest hydroelectric dam located in the south of Brazil. When we went there there was a long drought, so we saw the biggest, tallest dry wall of my life.
Also, I am still waiting for the Halley comet to pass. It passed but the night was cloudy and we couldn’t see anything. I vividly remember telling my mom that I didn’t see anything.There is more, my mom came to visit and the Big Ben was and still is under construction. Geez.
So, I headed back to the airport and my flight took off. All seemed fine.
Mistake number 2 Choosing the wrong travel times.
I arrived in London, safely. But late very late at night. London is a large city however, there are things here that make me sometimes think that I am living in a village and the train and underground schedules are one of them.
Until 2017 (I think), there were no underground stations opened past 1, 1. 30 am, if I am not mistaken. Now, some lines are open 24 hours on Fridays and Saturdays and that is pretty much it. For us to get to this point, there were a lot of strikes and negotiations, the night tube was delayed by a couple of years because of so many strikes. Living here is oftentimes difficult, back then, it was hell.
The flight landed at 11 pm in Heathrow by the time I got my bag the underground was already closed. I was living in East London at the time and Heathrow airport was about 2 hours away across the city.
I took 3 buses to get home at night, alone, in London. Ah! You must be asking why you did not call a taxi, or friend? I was broke back then that is why and I never really stayed too long anywhere to make friends. Now, I have been living here for a while, but this is also a city where people come in and out a lot. As soon as you meet someone pleasant, they leave. That’s life for you.
The lessons I take from this are, don’t fall asleep in public, there is always a catch if the flights are too cheap, pay attention to the flights schedules, call an Uber every once in a while, go home more often and if the pilot ever needs you pretend you are asleep.
Failing is an inevitable part of life, but you can take it as a lesson learned and an opportunity for growth. Travel and translation planning have so much in common, the experience gained over the years turn into a better perspective on how to approach planning.
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