ARRIVAL: Part of taking an internship outside of the United States is to know the very meaning of flexibility, in many different situations. I am only too well aware of the "make a profit off the tourist" routine, used by business people and your average hospitality industry. In a nutshell, when I arrived in Brazil and went to my hotel, I looked like an American, therefore, the reservations I had made for an affordable apart-hotel were "cancelled by mistake". The only alternative was the super-deluxe suit, at a considerable higher price.
Since my Portuguese is solid (by the way, thank you Brown University and the classes I've taken in Portuguese/Brazilian Studies), I respectfully asserted myself, while seeking explanation for this "mistake" on their part. The hotel managers provided many excuses and apologies, but no solution to the situation, and I refused to pay for anything that is out of my budget. The situation showed no improvement, and after a 12-hour flight, I was neither in the mood to argue, nor to go into substantial negotiation, so I fell in one of my back-up plans: another hotel of similar pricing. Interestingly, as I was leaving, the person in charge of the reservations found that I had indeed reserved the humble apart-hotel for 10 weeks, and would be only too happy to show me to my room and take my money.
With a smile, I said: "thank you, however, I am not here for leisure: I must feel comfortable in my setting, and this experience has made me uncomfortable. Perhaps I can enjoy of your hospitality at another time". With that, I left. At my new apart-hotel, I was received with open arms! The people are friendly, the breakfast is humble but fresh, the sheets are clean and the room is maintained every day. The only problem was the severely weak Wi-Fi connection, which every so often crashes. This is a problem for me, as my internship takes my time for research, and I had hoped to access the internet for reference while back at the hotel to input data. This is but a small nuance though, as my work is too exciting for me to worry about little details such as this. Besides, the hotel managers promised that the internet would be back on, full power, within a week. ::fingers crossed::
My internship training begins!