It's a bloody miracle. Taking a calculated risk and heading to Galeão International airport in the hope that we might just - JUST - manage somehow to get on a flight, despite having already had three cancelled on us, despite endless (and often pointless) phone calls to the airline to find out the status quo (we often knew more than they did), despite being told we were still waitlisted for a later flight (as in three days hence), and despite everything contriving to thwart our attempts to get home (including a tummy bug for yours truly), I am extremely pleased to state that I AM WRITING THIS SITTING ON THE FLIGHT HOME TO LONDON.
It had to be in capitals. Deservedly I think. Once more airborne.
So, a few notes with regard to who deserves recognition in achieving this, frankly, amazing feat. Bear in mind that the alternative was to stay put until May 6th and take out Brazilian residency.
- Other Half – extremely pleased with himself and deservedly so. Persevered with the phone calls, hounded the airline staff, took the most proactive stance in the face of adversity since Mel Gibson's battle scene in Braveheart (the exception being that OH in fairness is far better looking) and did not give up. Considering he was quite taken with the Brazilian girls playing altinha (beach football where aim is to stand in circle and keep football in the air using anything except hands) and their beautiful bottoms, this is quite something. Even I was besotted with the bottoms but that is for another post.
- Lovely ground staff administrator lady at the airport who immediately took pity on us with our three immaculately behaved children (bribed and threatened beforehand as the cause demanded) and promptly put us at the top of the standby list. A saint. Will be personally petitioning the Pope for some holy administration of sorts upon my return. Unfortunately did not manage to get her name – shame on us.
- OH's head of European travel at his company, a true star. Not only did she contact OH to check his whereabouts, she then proceeded to find a viable option for us should the former 'world's favourite airline' not manage to fly us home. She also had the alternative carrier extend the time they would hold the flight for us, should we need it. Working some 20 hours a day to help us – and some 2000 other company employees stranded around the world – she is another saint. I do have her name and a bouquet of flowers will be forthcoming. Will also be petitioning for her to take up role as next chief executive of BA.
I look to my left and see a trio of gorgeous sleeping children who have had a terrific holiday, pretty much oblivious to all the shenanigans aside from gaining fluency in anything to do with volcanic ash, lava and flight paths, along with the odd word of Portuguese.
I also see the woman who boarded with a six month-old baby seated next to them and whom the airline staff seemed to automatically assume had a family of four. OH and I are – somewhat conveniently after over three weeks of constant question answering – having a break and are seated on the other side of the aisle.
So farewell Rio – we loved you and are leaving you, but not forever, I promise.