Around the world in 30 days

Yup, it has been a rather hectic month for me – travelling all places I have and haven’t been before.

For the first time in my life in March I stepped on the Latin America ground. It was a work-related trip, and hence not so much touristic adventures, and yet I managed to get adventures anyway in my Mexico – Brazil – Argentina travels. After travelling this far I must say that my tolerance for being on the plane has grown immensely. Say, Abu Dhabi – Mexico is a 26 hour flight with a stop in Dallas. 17 hrs non-stop to Dallas. When leaving in the morning, you can’t sleep much on the plane, so you can just immerse yourself in reading (unlike others, I don’t watch movies or waste time drinking etc). But even reading after 10 hours straight becomes tiring. When I finally arrived in Mexico, leaving AeroMex plane, one guy asked me: “are you home?” After 26 hours of travel and no sleep, I just stared at him and couldn’t say anything, the brain just couldn’t grasp the question.

The adventure of the trip was that unexpectedly I had to go to Brazil from Mexico alone. Before leaving I was quite afraid to go to Brazil in the first place, having heard so many stories of crime in the middle of the day. But when I found out last minute that my colleague can’t go due to visa issues, I was petrified.  Leaving Mexico alone was a challenge – apparently I had to have an immigration paper with me so they won’t board me. In shock I through out the contents of my back only to find it among some of the papers. But the 5 minutes of stress was enough to break a sweat. Overnight flight to Brasilia via Sao Paolo. A 3-hour stop in Sao Paulo, I thought, wouldn’t be a problem, but I had to get a ticket printed, and with lack of clear signs and nobody speaking English, I was running around quite some time to get it done. A morning jog.  The real trouble started when I got to Brasilia, the capital. I was waiting for luggage 1pm when the plane landed, planning the rest of the day… only to find out that everyone is gone and my luggage is still missing. Damn. Cold sweat again. I had never lost luggage before, but losing it on a business trip, alone, for the first time in LatAm, and in Brazil particularly – that was a bit more than uncomfortable.

Unfortunately, again, the airport staff barely spoke any English, just shoved me in some form to fill in. I left the airport in tears. I arrived at the hotel only to find out that my reservation “got cancelled”.  I was in disbelief. Can it all happen in one day?!  I just asked to book another room nearby, whatever price, I wasn’t going to sleep on the street. Seeing my tears they couldn’t resist helping me. I explained the situation about the luggage and thankfully they could speak English, called the airport, the airline…. nothing. Gave me a link to track my luggage which only said “waiting for more info” in Portuguese.  The prospect of me going in jeans and dirty t-shirt and jeans to business meetings overcame my absolute determination not to go out to the street in Brazil alone. I asked the hotel staff where the nearest shopping mall was, and like a thief, with barely anything on me just a card in the pocket, when out to involuntary shopping. The best I could find was remote from what I had in my luggage and qualify as a business suit. But I went with the local flow…a dress, a pair of white shoes, and a mascara, that would keep me whole for the meetings, I thought. And it did.

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The luggage arrived next day a few hours just before me leaving Brasilia for Sao Paulo. Just in time. I was never so happy to see my luggage!

After all the experiences, Argentina was a long-waited relief. I was astonished by the beauty of Buenos Aires – it’s like the best of Italy, Spain and France – and felt like I was in paradise when visited a vineyard in Mendoza for a night stay. Guess who was the one running 5am in the darkness in the vineyard, waking up all the local dogs? Me. Probably one of the most beautiful runs in years.

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Don’t cry for me Argentina – I will be back. Grabbed a few wine bottles for gifts and their favourite dulche leche filled sweets. And off I want home to change luggage in 1 day and leave for Lithuania, my home country, for Easter.

Easter in Lithuania…how should I put it…was a bit like Christmas. I arrived Thursday night ready to go out for a run Friday morning and this is what I saw in my window. Yup. Skis would have suited better for this.

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We spent the first Easter day traditionally, with my parents – Easter eggs, church… lots of food from mom – and next day we had dinner at my husband’s mom’s with Ignas’ brother and future wife.  Again, lots of food. After 2 days we felt stuffed like turkeys, but happy. Thanks God weather improved the 1 day after Easter – we managed to walk around 20k around Vilnius, the capital, only making a short break to see the new Lara Croft movie (disappointed), and do some food shopping to Abu Dhabi.  When we lived in Denmark we used to buy much more – things like nuts, dried fruit, cheeses and cottage cheese. Now living in Abu Dhabi we have such a great variety, that the only thing we take back is some sour Lithuanian bread and bread crackers, as well as “Dziugas” cheese, the best cheese in the world (even though we have really great cheeses here in Abu Dhabi too).

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Just 5 days after arriving from snowy Eastern Europe, I embarked on my new route to Asia, Hong Kong, this was again work related but not with my employer.  I had been to Hong Hong many times before, and I keep being surprised how hospital the locals are. And I like Chinese food if I get a chance to. I just got back from Hong Kong yesterday night (1am), and to be honest feel a bit confused. The jet-lags over the past month have accumulated, so sometimes I wake up at night, sometimes get an instant rush to sleep during the day. Tonight staying awake longer will be a challenge, which I will deal with by me and my hubby going to F1 track tonight and knocking ourselves out on our triathlon bikes.

Next week will be crazy.  I am turning 33. Ignas’ brother arrives on his way to Mauritius for his wedding. Two dinners with friends. Training here and there. And a lot of work to catch up with – unfortunately, travelling doesn’t make the e-mails stop rolling in 😉

P.S. I won’t proofread this, excuse my laziness, if spot any typos. 😛

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