“There's a race of men that don't fit in, A race that can't sit still; So they break the hearts of kith and kin, And they roam the world at will. They range the field and rove the flood, And they climb the mountain's crest; Their's is the curse of the gypsy blood, And they don't know how to rest.”
- Robert Service

Friday, 10 November 2017

Flashback Friday

Let me tell you the story about the time I was in Rio and I was not robbed.

I have blogged already about our trip to Brazil in July, but this little tid-bit deserved its own side-note. The good news is that it ends well, but I'll start at the beginning.

I lose things a lot. Despite my best efforts, I get distracted and let things fall out of my pockets. I once dropped my wallet on a beach and someone found me an hour later (before I realized it was missing) to tell me it was found in the sand. Once, I got off a subway car in Sydney, Australia and realized I'd left my wallet on the seat of the car. Somehow I was able to run back on to to the train, get my wallet and get back off the train again before it left. So for this trip, where I'd heard that not only would it be a bad place to lose things, but there'd be an increased risk that things would get stolen, I decided that rather than bringing my usual cellphone, I'd bring instead my older phone for less risk of personal loss and identity theft.

I was especially vigilant throughout the whole trip, and by the last day I was feeling fairly confident. I even made the decision to bring my phone to Ipanema beach on the last day. Almost every tourism resource says that you should not bring anything to the beach except your towel and a few bucks for food, drinks and an umbrella rental. But I wanted to get some sweet picks of the beach on our last day.

I did not lose my phone at the beach.

Several hours later, we take an Uber to the airport to come home.

Moments after entering the airport, I realize that I have left my phone in the Uber car.  I have managed to lose my phone in Brazil of my own accord at the last possible moment. This is the moment where I would expect you to give me the Slow Clap.

Here's the good news:
1. I've got all of my photos - except for those from the last day - backed up onto my google cloud. So thankfully I haven't lost 3 weeks of memories.
2. I'd put a lock code on the phone so it couldn't be accessed
3. and this was the most important bit: I always include my email address as part of my phone's lock screen in case of loss.

Initially, I get an email (in Portugese) from the next fare in the Uber. He tells me he found the phone and has given it to the driver. At this point, it's too late for it to be returned to me because I have to get on a plane, and I don't know who the Uber driver actually is. (Our hostel had booked the ride for us). Some time the next day, I get an email from the Uber driver's son, who speaks English, and we work out a plan to get the phone back to me!

Of course, Gustavo wanted me to send payment to him for the cost of shipping before he mailed it back, because the cost of international shipping was pricey. This was no easy task. Apparently, this guy doesn't have PayPal, my bank can't do e-transfers to Brazil, and the first time I went to the post office with my leftover Brazilian Reis, Canada Post told me that it was illegal to send currency in the mail. I asked her if her grandmother had ever sent her a twenty in a birthday card before and she looked at me like I was from Mars. She told me my cashola could get confiscated.

So after a few weeks I decided to take the risk and sent my cash to Brazil and wait.

A month later, Gustavo gives me the good news that he's put my phone in the mail!

35 days after that, my trusty old phone returns to Vancouver!

So now it's November - four months after I lost the phone -  and I get to see the gems I'm about to share with you now.

Look! It's giant Jesus!
High fives to Giant Jesus!
All this effort was totally worth getting these photos back.
Oooooo! Mysical, sun-shiney Giant Jesus!
Ipanema Beach! This sand was actually like brown sugar, rental of two chairs and an umbrella cost us $10, and the view was amazing.

So that's the story of how I had something of value returned to me at great effort from Rio de Janeiro.