Travel Difficulty in Brazil Part 1

I arrive in Brazil one week from today, Wednesday.  Actually I touchdown around 3:00am Wednesday morning.  What follows promises to be a quest pulled from the Amazing Race.

My friends and I are staying in a beachside town south of Natal called Pipa.  I am told it is about 45 minutes or so from Natal by bus or cab.  I am the only American that I am aware of who is arriving that early–I really wanted to be in country for Brazil’s first match.  I learned in South Korea that there is nothing like watching the home country play.

My odyssey begins early Tuesday morning in Tampa, my first flight is at 6:30 in the morning, thus I must be to the airport around 4:30am or so.  That shouldn’t prove too difficult as I doubt I’ll sleep much as the excitement will be in a full on rage.  A quick flight leaves me in Miami for a few hours and I will leave for São Paulo at 11:30am.  I really hope I am able to catch some sleep on this seven hour flight.

Once in São Paulo, landing around 8:30pm, I’ll have about three hours to clear customs and make the next flight.  Should not be a problem, but there is more.  FIFA has recently announced that there will be a ticket kiosk in that airport.  Currently I have reservations to pick my tickets up in some shopping center in Natal at 10:00am that next morning.  However, if I can get them in São Paulo, my journey becomes much easier and safer.

In any case, I will arrive to Natal at 3:00am, though I am not sure to which airport.  The old airport is being replaced by a newer version, however nothing on my flight info mentions which airport and, get this, to the best of my friends and my knowledge, they both share the same airport code!

So, there I’ll be, at a random airport in Natal at 3:00 in the morning, certainly as tired as Timothy Chandler in hot weather.  I plan to not leave until sun-up.  If I was able to secure my tickets in São Paulo, I’ll grab a cab and make way for Pipa.  If I do not have my tickets, I’ll be telling the cabbie to find that mall (I do have it’s name and address). Once at the mall, I’ll need to find the ticket office, have I mentioned that I know two words of Portugease?  And I don’t think Jogo Bonito will help me here. Oh, and I’ll be carrying everything I have for this trip.  I think all of us going are, in some way, prepared to be mugged, it just seems such a common occurrence.  However, should it happen to me at this point, well, I’ll lose everything!

Once tickets are secured, it’s back out to find a taxi or the bus stop, which I have learned costs about $5.00 for the trip, saving big over a $60 or so cab ride.  So, at some point, I’ll get to Pipa, find our home and, more than likely, sleep and prepare to watch Brazil with the locals the next day.

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