Sunday, 9 November 2008

Santiago to Buenos Aires

We got to Santiago, and the weather was beautiful. Upon leaving the plane, I momentarily forgot that I was annoyed at having to get off the plane just to get back on it 20 minutes later, and almost started dancing with joy at the sunshine. My first time in the Southern Hemisphere. Bright sunshine in November. We headed for Gate 20, and an astonishingly attractive girl showed us the way to the security check. Her looks almost made up for the fact that we had to go through the hassle of another scan. My first time in South America. Maybe it really was going to live up to its better image…

The flight from Santiago to Buenos Aires took less than 2 hours, which seemed like about 20 minutes when compared to the lengthy ordeals that we'd already had to sit through. They had neglected to provide me with a vegetarian meal, even though my boarding card clearly said that I was entitled to one, so I had to deal with some surly service from the airhostess and go without a main course ("You have to order in advance" "But I did, look at my card!" "You have to order in advance" "Excuse me, look at my card!" "You have to order in advance"). The girls on the flight to Toronto had been wonderful, but the ones on this one didn't seem to treat anyone with any courtesy (Stefan would later tell me that he too had been treated with total disdain by one of them). As we came in to land, things got decidedly bumpy again. Not just bumpy, but woozy, we were dropping from time to time in a way that made my stomach jump. For the first time ever, I started to feel very sick during the landing procedure, and I was very glad when we finally touched down.

As we sat and waited for a space at the gate, I continually expressed relief both internally and to Stefan that the journey was finally over. I realized then that some fool out there has probably set a Guinness World Record for the most number of consecutive plane connections, just for fun. I couldn't imagine anything worse. I joked that I wasn't ever going to go home, because I couldn't face making that kind of journey again.

Immigration was a doddle - far easier than arriving in the United States of Paranoia, and the people at the immigration desks all seemed to be typically friendly Argentineans. Stefan and I had decided by this time that we'd stick together. I was definitely glad for the company, and maybe he was too. I grabbed my bag, stopped by at duty-free for the camera I hadn't had time to pick up at Heathrow, and we headed for the exit.

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