As referenced in a previous post, a reflection on “How we each react when we are lost in Brazil with no visa in our passport and no local money”!
First, to set the scene. How confidently we had set off from Puerto Iguazu! Armed with our Lonely Planet on our smartphone, we had a plan – take a bus to the border, change some money, then get off at the roundabout, walk 100 metres and take another bus to the falls on the Brazilian side. The first part was easy – we were stamped out of Argentina, and then the bus continued on to the border. It didn’t stop on the Brazil side, but it did pause. We wondered – is this where we are supposed to get off? Alas, our indecision meant that we lost the opportunity, and as we sailed past the roundabout we realised two things – yes, we should have got off there, and secondly, we didn’t have a Brazilian stamp on our passport. The guidebook had said that you don’t always get a stamp but we hadn’t even been through a checkpoint. We debated getting off at the next stop, but then realised if we stayed on the bus it would go to the terminal, where we could change buses easily. However, this plan was foiled when we didn’t recognise the bus terminal, and stayed on the bus right until the end…when we had to get off the bus at what was clearly not a terminal. We had no Brazilian money, no passport stamp, and didn’t know how to get back to the terminal. Also, we didn’t speak Portuguese. So, how did we react?
I reacted with a certain amount of stress and frustration. I wanted to be at the falls, as per the plan, and enjoying and making the most of the day – not lost in a random part of town with a potential long walk back to the terminal. I wanted Reuben to share in my stress and annoyance at the situation!
Reuben reacted with joy. An adventure! He loves new places and having to figure out what he is doing. He wanted me to share in his happiness at this new opportunity!
As you can imagine, this led to some conflict which was not helped by multiple banks not accepting our credit card and refusing to exchange money for us. Finally after a walk we found a tourist office where they were able to exchange our money and point us towards a bus to take towards the terminal. It didn’t even cost us much extra as for some unknown reason, the bus back to the falls was free, and the whole delay probably only took us a couple of hours. No-one ever asked about our passports including when we returned to Argentina. The whole thing was just a good highlight of how differently we see situations and how we really need to try to see things from each others’ perspectives, and also accept that we may deal differently with new situations.
So, let us know in the comments…how would you have reacted? Are you more a Reuben or a Karen, or do you have a different and awesome way of dealing with this kind of situation?