I left for Brazil on Feb. 16th, 2011, flying from Raleigh to Charlotte, then Charlotte direct to Rio de Janeiro. My flight was about 10 hours and pretty uneventful. Basically, I ate my in-flight dinner, watched one of the movies, and then slept until we landed in Rio. After landing and going through customs, things got interesting rather quickly. The plan was go to the ATM, get some local currency (Reais), and hop on the very cheap Real Onibus to ride into the city.
Well when I reached the ATM, I couldn’t find my wallet. Yes, I COULD NOT FIND MY WALLET!! Instant freak out mode. Foreign country, different language, and no cellular service. S***! OK OK Mike. Calm down. Re-trace your steps. Not in my bags, pockets empty. Last time I remember pulling it out was on the plane. S***! I LEFT MY WALLET ON THE PLANE!!! Mind you I have just spent the last 4 months learning basic Portuguese. ummmmm yea out window…..ENGLISH PLEASE!!
Well this is an international airport……….somebody has to be able to speak English. My thoughts are racing and I’m sweating buckets because I am so nervous plus the temperature was in the 80s in Rio. I calm down somewhat. I walk back to the International Arrivals area looking for nearest help desk/tourist info desk. Luckily the girl working the desk could speak some English. First I get sent to the US Airways ticket desk but since US Airways only has 1 departing flight a day, which is at 11pm, the desk was closed until 5 pm.
The problem was that we landed around 9 am. Not Good. I head back to the help desk, explain the situation and the girl at the desk finds one of the guards who goes back into the terminal to see if he can find my wallet. He comes back with a US Airways rep and she asks for my ticket says she will go look for me. 15 to 20 anxious minutes…viola! I have my wallet in hand…………THANK GOD!!!