Foz do Iguaçu - The thirteenth step ... Six months in South America - CycleBlaze

August 26, 2022 to August 27, 2022

Foz do Iguaçu

Recovering from the flights

The easiest part of the journey - checking in at our local airport in Port Elizabeth. Much of what happened from here onwards was less pleasant.
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After forty eight hours of traveling we finally made it to our digs in Foz do Iguaçu just before midnight last night.   Not the best start but at least we arrived in one piece and with all our luggage.

We had spent Wednesday night at the airport Road Lodge because our flight from Port Elizabeth left at eight fifteen in the morning on a local airline.  It's an easy walk across the car park to check in so staying there makes a lot of sense for an early flight.  

In Johannesburg we were made to jump through several hoops (which included them demanding yellow fever certificates and proof of sufficient funds) by the Qatar ground staff.  The yellow fever certificates were impossible to arrange because there is a world wide shortage of the vaccine and South Africa will only receice new stocks in three weeks time.  We got a letter from the airport clinic to confirm this  which the Qatar staff accepted as sufficient to allow us to board.  They said we would be able to get vaccinated on arrival in Brazil but, as expected, all Brzail ultimately wanted from us was our COVID vaccination certificates  The need for proof of funds was also waived as soon as I started signing onto to my banking app.  WTF ? We were suprisingly charged extra for our bicycles.  We chose to fly Qatar because they don't charge for bicycles (as stated in their baggage policy) but the boxes we are using are quite a lot larger than normal.  They are the same ones we used when returning from Spain two months ago and Qatar didn't charge us extra that time however the charges are up to the discretion of the ground staff and it was difficult to argue against the supervisor's reasons.  Ultimately we had no option but to pay the extra charges.  Quite honestly, I think we had been singled out to be roughed up because they didn't like the size of our bike boxes.

We haven't seen the great yellow Teddy the last few times that we have passed through Hamas Airport in Doha because we had been routed through different terminals. The airport is still a mess with construction ongoing in preparation for the upcoming FIFA World Cup.
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Things unravelled further soon after boarding our flight from Doha to Sao Paulo.  There was an electrical issue on the aeroplane that delayed our departure by more than an hour.  When we eventually on onto the runway a passenger had a panic attack and we had to turn back to the terminal to allow her and her partner to disembark.  Of course, they had to unload all the baggage as well to retrieve their luggage.  After another hour and a half in the sweltering plane (the aircon was off while all of this was happening) they decided to kick us all off because the plane now needed to be refueled and cleaned again.  We eventually got going seven and a half hours after our scheduled departure which meant we had no hope of getting our connecting flight from Sao Paulo to Foz do Iguaçu.  By this stage I had given up all hope on things going to plan and had resigned myself to live with whatever challenges might be thrown at us.

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Suprisingly, on our arrival in Sao Paulo, Qatar had rearranged our connecting flight and we were shifted to another local airline and finally arrived at the Iguaçu airport at eleven o'clock on Friday night.  Another pleasant surprise was that there were still taxis at the airport at that time of the night so we were able to find transport to our digs in the center of town.  The taxi driver then helped us contact the management of the block of tourist apartments where are staying and waited until they arrived to let us in.  Kindness like this is really appreciated when one is tired and stressed out.

Hopefully we will soon be rested sufficiently to enjoy the falls over the next few days and then start heading southwards.

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