I need a WHAT?

Note: This post is an attempt on my part to consolidate past travel journals into this blog. This particular trip around Western Europe was taken in 2005. To read the complete series of post from this trip: Western Europe Summer

I wish I could say that my flight to London was uneventful, but it wasn’t so, not since the very beginning.

After spening the night before in LAX, or more like, after a futile attempt at a night’s sleep in LAX, we dragged ourselves to Air Canada counter at 5 AM, ready for our flight at 740AM only to find out that there was a huge line already. After spending 45 mins in the line, we were told that I needed a Canadian visa. I thought they misunderstood me, I said, “I’m not going to Canada, it’s just a layover.” They go, “Well, you still need a visa. But we can book you for the next day flight if you want.”

Looking back at it, we considered ourselves lucky, another Brazilian/German couple who had the same visa problem as ours had to fight/argue/threaten the Air Canada manager to get a new flight. They were being offered to fly the next week! Can’t even imagine what we would do if they couldn’t find us a flight.

We teamed up with the couple, shared a cab to the Canadian embassy, got our transit visa, and we managed to convince the airline to change our reservation to a later flight on the same day (maybe they just wanted to get rid of us, so even though the flight was already overbooked by 12, they put us on it anyway). So we managed to arrive in London only 4 hours later than what our previous itinerary scheduled.

Well, that doesn’t sound too bad, does it? Well, when we were going through it I was feeling pretty desperate. From my previous visa-getting experience, I know it requires enormous amount of paperwork, time, patience and money, everything we didn’t have at that time. We didn’t know how long the visa would take, we didn’t know what we needed to apply, or how much it would cost. We even tried to find a direct flight to London but it would cost way too much.

Turned out we got the visa within a couple of hours, thanks to my new friend, Beatrice, who helped me talk to the consulate lady. It didn’t cost anything, and I had all the paperwork that was needed. Kinda makes you wonder why they’re doing this extra work to themselves.

So, yeah, we got a little delayed, a little side adventure, but we also made some new friends. Beatrice and Mark, the Brazilian/German couple, invited us to the VIP lounge, WOO HOO!!, where we had free muffins, tea, and bagels. A treat considering we hadn’t had breakfast.

Well, here’s a picture of us, as you can see we took advantage of our hosts’ kindness by stuffing ourselves as much as possible.