Making friends on flights – Goodbye Asia, hello South America!

After a teary goodbye to my family in Malaysia (special shout out to my cousin Sheba for looking after me so well!) I jumped on a plane to Sydney for a couple of days, just long enough to make sure my animals were ok, repack, and for Mr fabulous to accidentally drop a 6 seater heavy wooden bench on my right foot, fracturing it – On the plus side, a bench falling on my foot in public did earn me many glasses of wine, which helped numb the pain – I enter my Aerolineas flight from Sydney to Lima and lay exhausted in my aisle seat, shut my eyes and tried to get some sleep.

2 guys sit down next to me at different times and start talking to each other about football.

5 minutes into their conversation, Brazilian voice – ‘So, is she your wife?’ referring to me

Australian accented voice – ‘No’, quietly adds ‘but I am sleeping with her.’

Surprised, I open my eyes an turn to see whom it was I’m supposedly being intimate with.

Introducing Kush, a large dark indian man in his 30’s, who Is a tough looking Flight Centre travel agent, but a real softy deep down – You know, the kind of softy that would be a complete gentleman to your face but sleaze behind your back?

Kush, embarrassed – ‘I’m not really sleeping with you. I don’t know why I said that!’

T – ‘ Because you’re a boy’ smiling, then turning attention to the young Brazilian sitting beside her ‘ You’re from Brazil? I’ll be there in March for Carnival, is it as crazy and dangerous as people keep telling me?’

Igor is a 24 year-old Rio born and bred, Macquarie Uni (based in Sydney) business student, who was about to spend 3 months back home in Rio with his family after not having seen them for 3 years since coming to Australia.

Igor – ‘There use to be little riots, where 50 men would run at you and just grab whatever they could.’

T – ‘That`s hilarious! 50 men, 1 backpack?’ imagining the comedy of splitting the goods of 1 backpack between so many.

Igor, seriously – ‘It would be you and anyone around you, always targeting more than a couple of tourist on the beach and grabbing camera’s and bags. But don’t worry, it doesn’t happen anymore, now the police protect the tourist, it’s bad for business if the tourist are scared.’

We chatted through the whole 16 hour flight and had swapped facebook details by the time we hit Buenos Aries in Argentina.

Igor – ‘Let me know if you come to Brazil any earlier than March, I’ll show you around. And it will be handy for you to know someone in Rio.

T – ‘Definitely! And you let me know if you decide to stay in Rio for Carnival!.’

We parted ways with the promise to keep in touch, and after having made my first South American friend within 5 minutes of my flight out of Sydney, I knew instinctively that I was going to love this continent.

Igor was right – it would be extremely handy to know a local especially during crazy carnival time.