6.30am. I’m sitting in a car service that’s taking me home from JFK airport, where I just landed after a long flight from Brazil. This was my first time there and the experience was equal part hell and paradise!
Paradise for the places I saw, the lagoon I kitesurfed in, SOME of the people I met.
Hell because on top of delayed flights with resulting missing connections, within 10 minutes (no joke!!!) of landing at the Brazilian airport I was surrounded by a large crowd (felt like mosh pit at CBGB’s!) who emptied my pockets, leaving me with no wallet (ie no money and no credit cards) and, worse, no IDs and no passport! The subsequent nightmare of consular agencies and embassies is too long to describe but I spent countless hours on phone and email (the iPhone saved my life!), countless money (which my travelling buddies lent me) on cab rides, car rentals, consulate fees, papers and other stuff and about 7 days waiting for an approval from the US consulate (which I was told was gonna take 2 days) and 5 hours in line at the US consulate.
Lesson I learned: always have ALL your IDs and documents scanned and available online for retrival and printing; always have money, IDs and travel documets in differet parts of your body and where you can feel them; never trust a cheering crowd in Brazil; never get robbed in a country where everything is slow and takes forever to happen; …and last but not least get yourself an amazing girlfriend like I have who can get on the horn, make things happen, scan documents, be internet savvy and do things for you (I’d probably still be stuck there if it wasn’t for her help)!
P.S.: oh, did I mention that I have a recording session in 4 hours at the studio?