Archive for November, 2006

Arriving in Buenos Aires

November 30th, 2006 by budgetmonkeyanna

Travel blunders

So we made it to B.A. (Buenos Aires) unharmed and in true Argentine fashion — inefficiently. Our initial flight plan should have tipped us off: SF – LA – Miami – BA. Even the guy checking us in at the SF airport asked us why we hadn’t been booked on the direct SF – Miami flight. I guess you get what you pay for. Then in LA we hear a low rumble as we’re sitting waiting for the plane to load up with people. Soon after the captain comes on the speakers to tell us that the machine for loading the baggage crashed into the side of the plane and that now we have to wait for someone to come out and x-ray the side of the plane to make sure that it is still ok to fly and that of course this may take a couple (up to 4) hours. He goes on to tell us that he’d love to let us off the plane but that the machine to check the tickets has broken and so it would take too long to get everyone back on the plane once they’ve de-planed and therefore we will remain in our seats until things are taken care of. So an hour or so later the captain comes back on to tell us that the x-ray is done and everything is ok, but that now they have to complete the paperwork and that will take another while. Once we’re ok to go we have to wait yet another while for a plane to take off and another plane to taxi through then we’re finally clear to take off. (yes, it did take that long…)
Luckily enough this is one of those planes equipped for long distance travel with personal TVs for each seat. oh yeah and they gave us all free travel packs (toothbrush, toothpaste, lotion, etc.) for our troubles. How nice. So due to the delay in take off, and despite the captain’s best efforts to make up the time by pumping up the power (he told us that he did) and taking “shortcuts” (huh – aren’t we flying through the air?), we still arrived in Miami international airport (MIA) 50 minutes late. This was just late enough to have missed our third flight by 5 minutes. We were promptly shoved off onto the next flight (with no recompense) which was not taking off for another 3 hours. Being the optimists that you all know and love, we realized that this would give us ample time to pay for an overpriced meal at the MIA. In the next 3 hours we kept ourselves awake by eating at the only open cafe (a pre-packaged, day old, sandwhich – which incidentally tasted wonderful to our chex mix filled bellies), walking between the only two terminals we had access to like caged animals, and discussing the quality of the various paintings by 3rd – 12th graders on display in the long hallway between the terminals. When we finally got back to the gate to board the plane we were greeted by someone who knew our names and wanted us to board the plane rapidly since we happened to be some of the last remaining passengers. (oops!)

The Final Saga

Due to the change in flights we were not served our veggie dinner and had to satisfy ourselves with picking chicken out of a pasta dish. (We were tempted to eat it since it looked suspiciously like tofu, but it wasn’t. Maybe that was just delerium.) My TV didn’t work (not too surprising) so we were forced to share entertainment options. Other than that and a few bumpy spots, the flight went well. Of course, when we landed, the airport had had a recent influx of tourists and we waited close to and hour in line to have someone stamp our passports (as an aside – Laura Linney – actress in “The Squid and the Whale” was in line with us – I know I’m so cool, and I totally over-use dashes.) After all this we waited a while on the freeway in traffic into the city. Lesson – one must be very patient while travelling. Finally we arrived home, ate, showered, and slept – the best sleep I’ve had in a long time. : )

The Aftermath

After our nap we decided to head out onto the streets to enjoy the nice weather. We meandered through the streets, admiring the lush greenery that one finds all over the city, not just in parks, of which there are many. We stopped at one of the hundreds of cafes in the city to partake of the typical afternoon snack: medialunas and coffee. Medialunas are like croissants but sweeter and a little less flaky. They come in two types: de grasa and de manteca. De grasa is made with oil and tend to be saltier, smaller, and harder. De manteca are sweeter, fluffier and are made with butter. Both go very well with un cafe. The decaf espresso was delicious not bitter like what you get in the states. We meandered some more to work off our little snack and then headed home to make some gnocchi (potato dumpling pasta) with canned filetto sauce and milanesas de soja (breaded soy patties). Downed with a bottle of Quilmes (the local beer whose name comes from some of the most impressive ruins in Argentina which we will hopefully have time to visit later in our trip that no Argentine seems to know about.)