Things happen in threes, right? So I'm told. Good, we're done....
It seems as though we are having some setbacks/challenges with getting around lately. A couple of Saturdays ago we parked on the meridian by the Lagoa, and returned from our lovely lunch with friends to find our vehicle towed.
Now, at the end of the day, where we park our vehicle is obviously our responsibility, but I'll say this: when a parking person in a parking pinny takes parking money from you and issues you a parking ticket, you think you're okay to park somewhere. Even moreso because the fellow asked us to move the car slightly (which we did). When we returned to where we'd left the car, it had been towed, and he wasn't there (no surprise!).
Luckily we'd popped the Canadoca in her stroller before going to lunch, as she was in the middle of a nap when we parked, and so we carried on with our day, asking the next "parking attendant" we came across what might be the first in what was sure to be many next steps along the path to car retrieval. She told us to go to the police station on Bartholomeu Mitre, conveniently located close to Casa DRL.
We arrived there about 20 minutes later, and immediately spotted our vehicle. Could this be a Brazil miracle? Might we take it home today? Of course not. This was a police station, a temporary holding place for towed vehicles, which are a Prefeitera issue. We would have to begin the process on Monday. The people were very nice and allowed us access to the vehicle to collect our belongings, which was much appreciated.
On Sunday, we opted to ride our bikes to the pool. Mr. DRL was less than pleased when his tire blew out in the 40 degree heat.
Monday was the big day. The start of the process.
Step 1) Receive instructions from impound lot.
Step 2) Go to collect a ticket from an office in Centro.
Step 3) Go to Detran in Centro to pay a ticket.
Step 4) Go back to the first office to prove payment of a ticket.
Step 5) Go to Recreio to collect car from the Deposito.
Our car was scratched quite badly during one of the two towings. We were charged R$35 per day for storage fees. An additional R$120 for tow fees, which when you consider that it was towed twice, isn't a bad deal ;)
We were fortunate enough to use a despachante, which was nice but not exactly cheap, but better than using what would certainly would have been almost two entire days of our time as the despachante went all the way to Recreio on the Monday after completing the other tasks only to be sent away because the car hadn't been towed there yet. It was still in Leblon just a few blocks from our house of course. If you use the option of the despachante, there must be a Power of Attorney written up for the vehicle, for which then there are notary fees. We received the car on Tuesday.
An expensive little incident. Let's just say that with the Prefeitura going crazy towing cars and fake parking guys on the loose, valet parking is truly a steal in Rio. We just couldn't find any that day!
Finally, the third and hopefully final transportation-related incident occurred today: my bicycle was stolen. Keep in mind that I use my bike a LOT. As in 4-5 days a week.
Besides the case of the stolen fridge back in '08, this is the first time in almost three years that I've been truly ripped off in Rio. To be fair, I admit, I am partly responsible. I left my bike - LOCKED UP - on the street, overnight. A porteiro I spoke with who works near my bike's last known location says it was still there this morning but someone cut the lock in broad daylight, on Dias da Ferreira. Droga!
However, if a negative incident must occur with my bicycle I consider this to be a best case scenario. I've had friends have their bikes stolen while they were riding them, another much worse situation would have been if I'd found myself stranded with the Canadoca somewhere far from home in the heat! Though it's irritating, I still consider myself lucky, and had a rather lovely day in Rio. Best of all is that this is behind us, if things truly happen in threes.