Rio de Janeiro is, I must say, one of the hardest trips to get, because everybody wants it! Not only because it's South America and you can buy cheap Havaianas, but just because it's RIO DE JANERIOOOO. I was waiting for this trip for ages. Funny thing was, a few days before rosters came out I dreamt I was in Rio, well for me that's a sign, and it became true, when rosters came out, Rio de Janeiro it was!! The rest of my roster wasn't great at ALL, I had 5 of those short trips, you go there and you come straight back on the same day, for example Kuwait, Jeddah, Medina, Delhi and Bombay. And from personal experience I can tell you, those are not the best flights to get, more about those later.
Where to start. Before I went on the flight I saw that I knew one of the girls on the flight, because I flew once with her to Zurich. And especially like long trips like these it's always nice to have somebody on the flight you know, so you don't have to introduce yourself AGAIN, it's all a bit easier. Everybody was so excited for the trip. It's a 5 day trip, you first fly to Rio and stay there for 24 hours, then you fly to Buenos Aires where you stay again 24 hours, next day back to Rio and then again 24 hours in Rio before you head back to Dubai. The flight to Rio was 14.30 hours!!!! The longest flight I ever did!! I don't know why but for some reason, there is always somebody famous on my flights, the most random flights as well, which I obviously don't mind at all. So yeah, when Mez went towards Argentina she met literally the most famous Argentinian, Diego Maradona. For those who don't know him, shame on you! He was in first class obviously, but on a 14 hour flight you have time to go up to the front and have a little look. I went to first class, and Maradona wasn't in his seat, not that there are many places to hide on a plane, so he was on the toilet, so I thought, I just wait till he comes out. When he came out of the toilet he said to one of the crew he wanted a tea, in Spanish, I do speak a little bit Spanish so asked him right away if he wanted any milk or sugar in his tea. He did not expect me to speak Spanish to him, so he was kinda surprised, which was funny. The first class crew gave him the tea, and since he likes sugar and butter cookies she asked me if I wanted to go up to him and give him his sugar and cookies, 6 in total. When we landed in Rio I literally ran to the front, cause there was no way I would let Diego Maradona leave my plane without a photo!!!! The crew told me as well he is into blond women, so when I asked him for a photo he did NOT hesitate to put his hand around my hips. But at the end of the day, he is a very very short little men. But I got my photo!
When we arrived in the hotel in Rio we were all so tired, besides the fact that we all slept for 4 hours on the plan, but it's still killing for your body. If you're a passenger it's tiring, but just imagine to then work as well, it's a different kind of tiredness. But you keep thinking, it's okay I'am in Rio de Janeiro, so you still want to go out and do stuff. We went that night for dinner with 9 of the crew. And omg that food was just amazing, never ate more meat in my life and all of it was so tasteful. Delicious!! After dinner we went straight back to the hotel because we were going hanggliding. Since I love a good breakfast I set my alarm earlier to go to the breakfast buffet. Then we got picked up to run of a mountain, hoping you won't fall down. There was a little platform, which was going a little bit down as well, and then at the end there was nothing. I would say around 500 meters, but those are my estimations, could be completely different. Anyway, it was a long way till you would hit the ground. My instructor, cause you don't fly alone, explained to me that when we would start to run I could not stop running, even though we already left the platform, otherwise you would fall down. But it's against your nature to keep running of a mountain, just doesn't make any sense, but you have to do it anyway. I wasn't scared for one second. So there we were, ready to go running, and the view was absolutely stunning with a blue sky. My instructor counted down, 3,,,, 2,,,,, 1,,,,,, RUNNNNN!! So I ran, and before I knew it we were flying through the air. You feel powerless, but in a good way. I felt so free and I didn't know where to look because everything was just beautiful, I could even see the Christ ! De flight itself only took around 12/14 minutes. But so worth it, we landed on the beach, not the famous Copacabana. They installed some GoPro's on the hangglider, so I have some awesome photos and proof that I did it. When everybody was safe and sound on the ground we had to go back to the hotel, since we were leaving in a few hours to go to Buenos Aires. With zero sleep, and so much adrenaline in my body I went to Buenos Aires.
De flight was only 2.5 hours, and unfortunately no famous people this time. Would to good to be true as well. That night when I arrived in the hotel I was supposed to meet my friend from uni, Joel, I didn't see him for around 1.5 year so I was very excited to catch up with him. He was traveling through South America, so it was a coincidence that we were both in Buenos Aires at the same time. Perks of being a cabin crew, see your friends all over the world. When I changed in my room I went downstairs to wait for my friend in the lobby. But then I saw a lot of guys with orange shirts, and I thought, hmm they look familiar, it must be some dutch national team. While I was waiting for my friend I heard two guys talking to each other in Dutch, so I was smiling and told them I was dutch as well. Then I asked them which team they were, cause it's kinda awkward if it's a different them. And then it was true, they were the national dutch hockey team! So I talked to guys for a while until my friend came. They told me they were in Buenos Aires to qualify themselves for the Olympics, how cool ! When Joel arrived with another friend of mine Reinier (which I didn't know), I went to sit with them and had a drink. So strange, no matter how long you don't see some friends, once you see them it's like nothing ever changed. It was good to see some familiar faces. The next day we were supposed to go to a famous graveyard, where Evita is buried. Even here I went to breakfast, hoping as well I would have breakfast with some nice hockey players, but no... Didn't see any of them.. I thought I was supposed to meet my friends around 10, so I was ready at 10, but then 10 turned into 1pm! So then I was just sitting in the lobby watching all the other hockey teams as well, Germany, Egypt and many more. Then at one point I saw on the guys I talked to the night before, Billy, and he was together with Jeroen, he saw me and asked me if I wanted to join them to Starbucks, since I had to wait for another 2 hours till my friends were there I thought, why not?! Who gets the chance to drink a coffee with some famous, and cute, hockey players... We got something to drink and then we sat on a bench in the sun, chilling. The weather was amazing as well. While we were walking back I saw that ALL of the dutch guys were standing outside, and as soon as they saw me walking with 2 of them I just could hear them saying, who's that. So as we got closer, I said, Hey guys, I'am Merel, is it okay if I take a group photo? I probably wouldn't see any of them after that moment anyway, nothing to loose. So here is the group photo! Only something like this could happen to me, haha!
And then back to Rio, again no sleep before that flight, I became so tired. I was even shaking during the flight, lack of sleep. On every trip I take my own pillow, it's just so comfortable when you have your own pillow, no neck problems with the pillows in the hotels, some are too soft and some are to firm, no, I take my own. So in these massive beds there is this tiny pink pillow in the middle, haha. Not only me, but also my pillow has seen the world. It was the last day in Brazil before heading back to the desert, so the girls and I decided to do the tour. Again, waking up at 8, leave the hotel at 9, with 5 of us. First we went to see the Christ. Once we arrived there, we had to wait for 2.5 hours before we could actually get up the mountain. I haven't seen a worst organization of queuing up and buying tickets for such a famous tourist attraction. With little to no sleep in the last 2/3 days my patience is hard to find. So this guy tried to go in front of us in the queu, well, as some of you already expect, that was not happening with me around. I put him back in queu, behind us. Everybody else is waiting as well, so just wait for your turn, stuff like that make me so angry. Once we were up it was all worth the wait. A beautiful view over Rio and the Copacabana, and to see the Christ in real life, that's special. We couldn't stay too long because we wanted to see other things as well. The next stop was the place where they celebrate Carnaval. You could hire a costume for 10 Real, which is 2 euros. So me and my friend put on the costumes, it looked so funny, and those costumes are pretty heavy as well. So we took some photos and then on to the next stop. Next stop were the famous steps, Escadaria Saleron Rio de Janeiro, thats what they are called. Some photos again and then we went to the Copacabana because we were so tired as well. I was a little disappointed by the beach, maybe I just expected more. It was just a beach like any other, not more beautiful then other beached I have seen. By that time we had to go back to the hotel to get some sleep before the flight back to Dubai. It was good that the flight was not full, again we had 4 hour rest on the flight, but once we arrived to Dubai I was so tired. But again it was all worth it. An amazing trip with lovely people, we did so much in such little time as well. This was one of those trips that you feel so blessed being able to do this job.
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