April 12, 2007
It was time to go back to the mainland. We had a great time on the big island, a tropical paradise full of amazing beaches, but my parents had to catch their flight back to the US today. The first step was to take the ferry back to Angra Dos Reis on the shore. It was very hot and sunny, so the sea breeze blowing onto the boat felt great.
Once we got to Angra, we realized we had a problem. If we took a bus back to Rio right away, we'd have about three hours to spare before having to go to the airport. With the horrendous traffic in Rio, three hours isn't enough to do much, but it's too much to sit around and do nothing. We decided that our time would be better spent in Angra. We walked around their small market of touristy crap and had a drink by the dock. Next we took the twenty-minute walk to the bus station and nearly died from the heat. We took a bus with wonderful air conditioning back to the Rio bus station, and got another bus from there to the airport.
I stayed with my parents to make sure they got checked in and didn't encounter any surprises with canceled flights or airport taxes. I found out there was a steep $40 departure tax for all international flights, but it was already included in my parents' tickets. When they were checked in, the flight was still a few hours away because of the aforementioned time gap, but I wanted to get back into the city before it got too late, so we said our goodbyes.
I think the visit worked out well. We got to see the waterfalls, a bit of the national park around Iguazu, many exotic tropical animals (albeit in captivity), the exiting city of Rio de Janeiro, and a beautiful tropical island with lots of beaches and forest walks to do. Not getting robbed or kidnapped was a plus, too.
When I left the airport, I took the bus back to Francisco's apartment in Leblon. The bus had engine troubles from the start and broke down in a bad neighborhood. I waited on the bus for a new one to come, but the new bus took a different route than the first bus would've taken, resulting in a ride of two hours just to get to the other side of the same city. There's a huge traffic problem in Rio, in case you didn't already notice.