Monday, 19 November 2012

Travel - Argentina Style

When travelling in Argentina, there are a few things to remember that will make your travel a bit less stressful.

If a local flight has a departure time of 9 am, do not expect the plane to depart at 9 am.  Every flight we've taken on LAN or Aerolineas has left at least 20 minutes late, with 40 minutes being about the average.  When travelling by air, you have to assume that you need lots of time for connecting flights as your first flight will not arrive on time. 

If they haven't sold enough tickets, it seems that they will cancel the flight altogether and you have to rebook on another flight.  Always check your flight status in advance! So far, we've only had that happen on one flight from Cordoba to BA.  When Shelbe and Madison were visiting, we had the same thing happen with our ferry ride back to Buenos Aires from Colonia del Sacramento, Uruguay.  We had first class tickets on the 5:30 pm high speed Buquebus ferry.  We arrived at the ferry dock with our souvenirs and some snacks that we had bought at the local kiosco as snacks on the ferry were expensive and lacking in variety.  When we arrived the ticket agent crossed out 17:30 on my ticket and wrote 21:00.  Why? I tried to ask.  "Cancelado."  I didn't bother asking why as I knew I wouldn't have enough Spanish to understand the answer.  There was a young girl, in her early 20s, sitting by herself in the ferry terminal weeping.  She probably had some event or commitment in Buenos Aires that evening and she wasn't going to make it.  I felt so bad for her. 

Killing time in Uruguay

When I texted John, he said that they probably didn't sell enough tickets.  The girls and I killed time by hanging out at the beach and then at a cafe.  We got to the ferry dock early, since we knew that all of the 5:30 passengers and all of the 9:00 passengers would be on the same ferry.  Sure enough the ferry still wasn't full.  

This morning John left the apartment at 5:30 am to take an early morning flight to Buenos Aires for what was supposed to be a two day trip to their Pacheco plant.  However when he got there this morning, everyone was talking about a big general strike tomorrow.  Now strikes in Argentina are fairly common and usually each group is striking for just one day.  The day we got home from Iguazu the cab drivers seemed to be on strike and instead of waiting five minutes for a cab after our late flight home, we stood in the cold and the rain and waited in line for an hour at the airport.  With the general strike tomorrow a number of the unions are striking and all flights are cancelled so John (and the secretarial staff) were scrambling to get him a flight back out of Buenos Aires tonight. After dinner he texted to let me know that he would be on the 9 pm flight.  At 9:38 they were boarding and hopefully he should be back to the apartment by midnight.  What a long day!

For my trip to Patagonia in December, I'm booked on the December 14th flight from Ushuaia to Buenos Aires, spending the weekend in Buenos Aires and then flying home for Christmas on December 17.  My plan is that if things go awry I've given myself a few extra days to get back to Buenos Aires in time for my flight home (and in time for my birthday!)  Fingers crossed!

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