Brazil International Travel Trip Reports US Airways World Cup

(Fut)ballin’ in Brazil – Finally Here! First Impressions (Day 1)

Sauceman's Charlotte Ribs Fried Corn
Our last dinner at Sauceman’s in Charlotte before leaving for Rio

After a long layover in Charlotte, I’m finally here in Brazil. As I type this Lionel Messi just drilled a stoppage time game winner – World Cup fever is officially on.

US Airways Angled Lie Flat seats
Not fully lie flat but I still got 5 hours of sleep

A few things of note about our business class flight from Charlotte. The seat was fairly comfortable as far as angled-lie flat business class seats go – but my friend’s seat stopped working from time to time which was pretty annoying. The food wasn’t especially amazing, but I didn’t expect much from US Airways so I wasn’t disappointed.

US Airways Business Class Dinner Charlotte to Rio
Dinner consisted of steak, salad, cured meats, and…mac and cheese?

I think the biggest surprise for me was the in flight entertainment – they gave us Samsung Galaxy Tab 10s with movies, shows, and games preloaded! I thought that was pretty cool – although not as convenient as a personal screen (since you need to be strategic about how to prop it up), it worked great. My only beef is that Captain America isn’t out yet on planes I guess – American Hustle provided an adequate substitute. Anyway the tablets all said American on them – is this a regular thing? I plan to do some research when on a more reliable connection.

Samsung Galaxy Tab 10s were available for business class passengers to use along with Bose headsets
Samsung Galaxy Tab 10s were available for business class passengers to use along with Bose headsets

Rio’s international airport had a HUGE immigration line – I thought I was in JFK or something. But we started running into the friends we are meeting up with in line so the time passed quickly. When we got out of customs I realized I made the biggest n00b move ever. I generally call my credit card companies while I’m waiting to board the plane, but with our long Charlotte layover and my friend around I got distracted and totally forgot! So I called two card companies collect – paying 20 cents per minute in the process. Eek.

Immigration Line Rio de Janeiro Galeao Airport
This immigration line was LONG

There are some ATMs conveniently located on the second floor above the Radio Taxi stands in Rio airport. Most of them require chip cards, so everybody lined up for the HSBC ATM (Update – for why this is a bad idea see this post). I generally try to get money from ATMs at the airport because I feel like there will be less eyes watching me. We negotiated a van for six of us at one of the official Radio Taxi stands – 200 BRL for all of us to get to Ipanema – seemed on par with what I read in guidebooks.

Ipanema Beach Rio

We’ve been in Ipanema for a few hours now and are just waiting for our apartment to be cleaned. On first impressions, the area seems pretty safe, there are a lot of tourists walking around (as evidenced by the plethora of national team jerseys). The beach is beautiful although the water is a little bit cold. I’d say the weather is pretty perfect right now.

Ipanema Beach in Rio de Janeiro
The beach is beautiful and not too crowded even though it’s Saturday

We did have one weird experience. When walking on the beach somebody asked if we could take a picture for them. “Sure,” we said. Except the person wanted us to be in the picture? Huh? Then later someone came up to us and asked if we wanted to be in a commercial and tried to take a picture of us as well. We were like “umm…this is weird, bye.” So yea, there’s that.

Anyway super excited to be here! Waiting for the last two in our party to get here and just getting ready to go to our first game tomorrow. Yay!

Other Posts in this Series

Getting Pumped, Getting Prepared

What’s in my wallet?

Travel Practicalities

Traveling Alone

Charlotte Chowdown

Finally Here! First Impressions

Match Day Impressions

Rest and Recovery

Waiting for the Big Guy

Random Musings

Fears Finally Realized on the Long Way Back

Post Trip Thoughts

Just an average joe trying to fly his family for less

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