Visa Problems, Weather Woes

Austin Travel Blog

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My journey to Brazil has been a difficult one to begin!  I had reservations to fly to Rio on October 15th (yesterday) to meet up with friends who are already down there.  Unfortunately, the Brazilian Consulate in Houston did not get my Visa processed (some national holiday in Brazil took away processing time I am told), so I am up in the air.  My tickets are non-refundable and require a $150 charge to change.  I got American Airlines to make a change to allow me to leave on the 16th with a change to allow me to fly first to Houston to pick up my visa and passport, then up to Dallas to catch the flight to Rio.  Problem is, I only had an hour and a half to get off the flight in Houston, meet the courier with my visa and catch the flight to Dallas.  It was going to be real tight.

To add to the problems, Houston is experiencing tropical storm rains.  As in torrential rain.  It's delaying flights and causing lots of havoc throughout the area.  My original flight to Houston was delayed due to weather, so I rebooked on Southwest and got in about the same time as originally scheduled.  Just as I got into Hobby Airport in Houston, the skies really opened up and started pouring.  American then cancelled all its flights to Dallas, and I was stuck in Houston with or without a Visa (the Visa was ready -- they just couldn't get it to me in this weather).  I made a hotel reservation at the Courtyard Marriott nearby, only to find out the streets here are so flooded that the courtesy car won't come and get me.  I flagged down a taxi, and we started over there only to find the water was rising so fast, it was starting to come in through the doors onto the floorboards!  I had him pull into the closest hotel (a Hilton), and I jumped out and got one of the last available rooms.

Getting dinner was another experience.  The hotel was full of guests, but tragically short on help as most workers were stranded at home due to flooding.  Hence, service was slow, slow, slow. 

I had a miserable night -- couldn't sleep, the rain poured all night long and I worried whether I would get the visa.  American did re-book me for the following day -- and without penalty since they cancelled all the flights today.  That maybe the only good thing that happened today! 

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photo by: cabotono