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Vacation Day 24
Sunday, February 14th
Rio de Janeiro, Day 4
Departure for Home

Today was a very quite day. There was nothing scheduled until the early evening and we could do what we wanted, when we wanted. So, I got up later than normal. I went down and met some of the other people from the tour and joined them for a nice long leisurely breakfast. After that we checked out the Holland America Courtesy desk to verify the flight times and the departure time form the hotel later today. We found out that they wanted our luggage out at 2:00PM in the afternoon so it could be picked up and be ready for the 6:30 PM transfer to the airport. This meant packing sooner than many had anticipated but everyone took it in stride.

Here are a few pictures, taken just after breakfast and are the last ones taken before returning home. These are picture numbers 2976 to 2981 for this trip.

CH Window View D24 -3
ICH Window View D24 -5
The hotel swimming pool and the beach (in daylight this time).
The helicopter landing pad and part of the golf course.
CH Window View D24 -2
CH Window View D24 -1
The mountain (I think it was called The Two Brothers) and some of the other hotels in front of the mountain. These are condos I think. They appeared to be for sale based on the signs hanging from some of the balconies.

CH Window View D24 -4

The final picture taken on the trip (number 2981).
The beach from which the picture of the hotel was taken last Thursday
is the one just to the left of the group of buildings which are mainly hotels and condos.

Most of the rest of the day was spent packing, in the morning, and much of the afternoon, after the luggage was out, was spent sitting on the balcony watching the hang and para gliders drifting down off the mountains. They usually came from the far right in the pictures above. I could not see where they were taking off from. They were too far away to photograph. I did take some video but again the gliders were really to small to use here. This went on until the sun started to come around this side of the hotel and it got hot. By this time, because of the luggage having to go, I was dressed for the freezing temperatures of home and not the 80's of Rio. So I retreated into the air conditioned comfort of my room, which Holland America had so graciously arranged a late 6:00PM departure from, and continued to watch the aerial activity and the increasing beach activity from there. There was not too much beach activity because the waves were fairly big and had been for most of the time I was there.

Finally the appointed hour came and the 35 or so of us going to the airport met in the lobby. We had to check that our luggage was there and have it marked so it would get loaded on the bus. I checked out without any issues. The bus was there and much to our surprise the driver was the same one that had driven us around for the last 2 days. He recognized many of us.

Baggage was a problem, in that, we had come off a fairly long cruise and many people had many bags there just was not quite enough room under the bus for all the bags. They had to put 5 or 6 bags inside just to get us to the airport. We left about 6:45 and headed to the airport which is normally about a 45 minute drive from the hotel.

This is Sunday night, less than a week before Carnival starts, and strange things happen in Rio in the four weeks before Carnival starts. Streets get closed for Carnival practice without any notice and all kinds of unusual things happen without warning. We encountered one of these occurrences on the way to the airport. Normally the trip would be rather quick (particularly on a Sunday night) but this time it took close to an hour if not slightly more.

Antonio Carlos Jobim International Airport is located on the shore of Guanabara Bay to the west of the Rio - Niteróni Bridge. It is closer to where the ship had been docked than the hotel we were in. It is not the one that was in the Sugar Loaf pictures of yesterday. The airport is an impressive looking place with a terminal that is semi-circular in design with parking in the middle. There was another terminal somewhere else that we did not see. When we got there they had everyone wait on the bus until all the bags were off and sitting on the sidewalk. Then they unloaded the bus one side at a time to prevent congestion on the sidewalk. It worked very well.

Once inside the terminal it was a long walk to the Delta check in. I do not think that a lot of the terminal is used and the part that is is right in the middle and we were at one end. The line was about typical in length for just under three hours before flight time. The checking process was unusual, at least to me. There were two layers of check in. The first one checked passports and carry on bags and then sent you on to the next one. At this point, it is important to note that Delta has only one flight a day out of Rio. This means that they do not have too many check ins. This night did not seem to be going well for the second group of check ins. There appeared to be a a lot of problems. For example, a family with a couple of young kids tied up one person for almost an hour. I was in line for about an hour and twenty minutes and there were many people behind me when I finally got to the first check in. After getting through that one with no problem it took another twenty minutes to get to the second one. These people are also using old slow computers with old CRT monitors. It looked funny compared with what you see here. Once there, things went ok. The girl asked if I had a seat preference and I said yes, a window. She looked and said there is one left. So I said, there is one of me, and there is one window seat and since I want a window seat, please put me in it, which she did. She even got me a window seat on the flight from Atlanta to Toronto. The luggage was checked all the way to Toronto so all was good. Now that this was completed I was off to passport control, security and finally to the gate.

The ship had warned us about a $36 US departure tax that we would likely need to pay. As it turned out we were not asked for it and did not pay it. Someone said that they had heard that the Brazilian Government had stopped collecting it a few weeks earlier, sometime after the ship was last there which would have been something like 42 days ago. Security was fairly lax and cleared without a problem.

The gate (number 10 I think it was) was unusual. The waiting area was designed to serve four gates and only barely had enough seats for one with the current size of planes being used. The look and design of the terminal made me think it was designed a while a go. There were at least two fairly large planes trying to use this space. The biggest would have been a British Airways 777 going to London with over 200 people on it and ours a 767 going to Atlanta with close to 200 on it.

Finally it was time to board and there was a mad rush for the only opening with passengers from both flights trying to get through as both flights were boarding at about the same time. My plane was at the furthest gate out (of course) and the other flight was the one just before it. So there was a mix up of people in this fairly narrow area where the gates were and they had to keep sorting them out. The area where the gates is would be similar to the way the gates were set up in the old terminal one at Pearson Airport in Toronto, just take away the waiting areas.

I finally made it to the plane after being checked once more by the same person who did the first check in out front. After all this confusion I finally made it to the plane and sat in the wrong seat initially (my fault, I think I was just happy to finally make it to the plane). That was sorted out and all went well after that.

The plane pushed away a few minutes late on we were off. We took off over the bay and turned away from the city so nothing could be seen. The route as displayed on the moving map showed us going inland, near Brasilia on what was a straight line for most of the way. They served us a reasonable dinner on the plane and today very shortly became tomorrow.

The flight will be completed on tomorrows page with the arrival in Atlanta, the process of connecting to the flight to Toronto, the trip home and the conclusion of the trip.

Created: Monday, March 9, 2009 at home.
Last updated: March 10, 2009 9:22 AM