My sister, a Brazilophile, had convinced the rest of my family to come join me in Rio for Christmas. To meet them I also had to get to Rio. I got a plane out of Floripa* on the same day they were due to arrive from New York.
I made a mistake leaving the Rio airport. I booked the first taxi service I saw, which cost almost double what a normal taxi service just outside the airport costs. The cheapest of all taxi options though, is to go up a floor to departures and grab a taxi that had just dropped someone off. They tend to linger, hoping to catch someone heading back to the city so they don’t have to drive all the way back free of charge. Even with traffic it tends to end up far cheaper, unless there is a major issue with the roads.
My luxury car pulled up to our hotel just after 1pm. I walked into the fancy hotel lobby feeling quite out of place. My jeans were ripped to shreds, I had my heavy backpackers pack on my back, and the lingering smell of several months of travel that just can’t be washed off.
I got to my room, shared with my sister, to find her stuff there but not her. I thought they might have gone to the beach. It would be impossible to find them there. After some hassle, I connected to the internet, sent a family whatsapp, and discovered they were lunching at the rooftop bar, poolside. I went up and joined them. Reunited at last with my family, after several months of only travelling amongst strangers.