As much as I love Lake Highlands, Texas, I’m not supposed to be here. Today, I was meant to be in Rio de Janeiro.
For my 30th wedding anniversary, coming up on January 1st (odd day to get married, but the church was available and we never forget the date), my husband and I planned a beachside getaway to Brazil. After traveling to London for the Olympics this summer and watching our daughter cover the Beijing Olympics in 2008 as a journalism intern at the University of Missouri, we wanted to scope out preparations for the games in 2016. Rio is the host, and they’re the site of soccer’s World cup in 2014. We had even arranged to see Rio’s famed soccer club, Fluminense, play their final game of the season and collect their winner’s trophy. Championship game at the home team’s stadium – high cotton for soccer buffs.
Who knew Americans needed a visa to travel to Brazil? Hint: Not the Tolers.
It wasn’t until we tried to check our luggage that a confused American Airlines agent said there was a problem. Her supervisor said that if they’d let us on the flight, Brazil would have held us in detention at arrival and American would have faced a $10,000 fine for each of us they permitted to fly without a visa.
Question: Then why’d you let us buy the ticket? We never saw any mention of the visa when planning the trip. Even Photoshop first asks “are you SURE you want to crop that photo?” How about, just before you enter your credit card number to pay for tickets, “enter your visa number here”?
After doing some checking, we’ve heard that, because America makes it tough for Brazilians to get in here, Brazil makes it complicated for us. Other nationalities apparently have it easier. It may be interesting to see if provisions will be made to ease travel for American Olympic tourists.
As for us, we’ll plan another trip for another day, and we’ll get back most of the money we spent on hotels and airfare. It’s silly walking around under this dark cloud. But I can’t bring myself to unpack my bags. If I see those swimsuits and beach gear, I just might sit down and have a good cry.