Crossing Oceans & Crossing Over
An overseas trip in 2022! Unbelievable! More unbelievable is when this trip to Antarctica was proposed to me way back in 2019 BC, I said SURE!! Thinking the day would never come and secretly dreading the idea of sailing the Drake Crossing ‘rarely the Drake Lake, mostly the Drake Shake’. I thought, unlike most of the world, that COVID would be my saviour but ney…. Here we are in Rio de Janeiro, not a maraca in sight, about to board our ship – the Viking Octanis that will take us country hopping down the coast of South America before falling off into the bottom of the world. And, as is often the case, now that were are here my dread is replaced with excitement (well sort of).
A moment for a bit of back story – the reason for the season if you will. Nat’s dad was an avid traveller and left the earth back in 2016. He’d tried to get to Antarctica twice before he died and both times was stopped by a bout of cancer which eventually took his life before he could make the trek. Antarctica was the last continent on earth that he had yet to set foot on and so with him neatly packed into our luggage we’re taking him with us on this great voyage. Now this does remind one of some Weekend at Bernie type hijinks and I must admit to wondering what would happen when we arrived in Brazil with a big plastic brick of a powdery substance. I was reassured as we boarded our connecting flight in Santiago, the bag was pulled aside in customs (as you’d expect) to enquire what the big brick of powdery substance was (dumbest criminals in history?). The poor young customs lad opened the bag and on reading the label that roughly translates into ‘remains of a person’, quickly let go of the brick with shock and an apology at his clumsiness. It was just a little bit amusing. With old mate safely tucked away in our cabin baggage, we were on our way to the biggest ear-worm in history, Copacabana!!
We arrived in Brazil around 6pm in the evening and cleared the passport check. There were two transport booking desks inside the airport – one busy line, one not. We took the not-busy line knowing we’d be paying a premium but after 21-odd hours compressed into a plane we didn’t care. Having booked ourselves the bullet proof vehicle chauffeured transport, we firstly thought wtf with the armoured transport? And we were ushered by our host to collect our bags before being escorted out a back-door staff entrance at the airport and into our waiting vehicle. I feel as if we might have missed part of the exit process but I wasn’t going to complain. I highly recommend armoured transport if only for secret door escape plan.
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At some stage in the not too distant past, I flippantly agreed to a trip to Antartica thinking that the day would never come, we'd cancel it, a global pandemic would shut down the world and stop all travel. Well, three years and one global pandemic later - and we're about to leave for Antartica, on our original planned date. Who'd have thunk it. Now where did I put the good sea-sick pills.