Hearing someone say those words to you, in slightly broken English, at 5:45 in the morning is not a good way to start your day. Just, you know, in case you were wondering.
To clarify, Buenos Aires has two airports. As I understood (until this morning), the Jose Newbury Aeroparque is the local airport, and the other, a 30 minute drive out of the city, is the international airport. Alison and I flew into the Buenos Aires International Airport from Santiago at the end of May when we first came to Argentina, and since I had booked a round trip ticket back to Santiago from BA, I simply assumed my flight would leave from that international airport. Of course, I knew there was a local airport, since I had flown in and out of Iguazu through the Aeroparque, and I even joked with Alison when I was coordinating a taxi pickup through the BA hostel I stayed at last night that it was a good thing I knew to differentiate between the two airports, otherwise they would have sent a driver to pick me up at the wrong one.
So when I forked over $180 pesos (just about $40 US) and hopped out of my taxi this morning after a 30 minute drive outside the city, you can imagine my disbelief when the LAN agent I spoke with told me my flight wasn’t, in fact, leaving from that airport. Luckily, I’m my parent’s daughter and left a ridiculous amount of time between getting to the airport and my actual flight departure time (7:50 AM) since I didn’t know how long customs would take, so the extra 45 minutes back to downtown BA wasn’t too detrimental and I was able to make my flight. Thank goodness it was a Sunday morning and the roads were empty! Of course I had to pay another $220 pesos ($50 US) to get all the way back where I had just come from… nothing like wasting close to $100 on a stupid mistake! Oh well, lesson learned and it all worked out fine — I made my flight without a problem, and I’m back safely at Alison & Ignacio’s apartment.
I’m in disbelief that 3 weeks of my trip have already gone by — I can’t believe I’m back in Santiago, getting ready to travel on my own, and hike to Machu Picchu at that! I have such a mix of emotions: part of me is terrified to be out in Peru and Bolivia by myself, another part of me can’t wait to be on my own, truly enjoying my independence and some very serious “me” time.
Last night was a bit of a strange experience in and of itself — I got back from Iguazu and got in the cab my hostel had arranged for me, checked in at the hostel to find that even though I’d paid $8.60 US for one bed in a 4 bed suite, I was actually going to be staying in a room on my own. I didn’t have any complaints, of course, but was confused when they showed me to a rather large room with only one bed and a small wooden wardrobe with a place to lock my bags. Of course the tiny heater they had started in the far corner of the room (opposite the bed) was doing nothing to heat the huge space, so I knew it was going to be a cold night.
I think I confused the man working the desk — when I asked him to bring me an extra blanket and he came upstairs, he seemed completely taken aback that I had taken it upon myself to move the bed directly next to the heater. Hey, a girls gotta do what a girls gotta do. I told him I’d move it back this morning, but he didn’t seem too concerned, just mostly confused. Luckily leggings underneath my sweatpants, two pairs of socks, a tank top, long sleeve shirt and sweatshirt were enough to keep me warm under the two relatively thin blankets they’d given me. I’m becoming a pro at learning to sleep in the cold!
I also had a grocery store fail yesterday: the original plan was to meet up with Erica and cook, but she wanted to go out to dinner and watch the Celtics, and the last thing I wanted to do was to be faced with Boston sports in another hemisphere. Instead, I went across the street to the grocery store, where I spent a significant amount of time wandering the aisles, probably looking like a sad, lost and confused puppy to everyone else in the store. In all fariness, it’s rather difficult to grocery shop in another language and country where you don’t have the vocabulary to ask where things are.
At one point, I was able to mutter the question “Donde esta queso parmesano?” to a man stocking the shelves, who answered something very quickly and pointed in a vague, general direction, so off I went to wander down the same 3 aisles I’d already been down. Of course, grocery shopping for one is impossible in the states, but to shop for one person, for one night, not being able to keep any leftovers was a total fail. I spent $40 pesos ($9ish bucks) on pasta, pasta sauce, parmesan cheese, a yellow bell pepper (the only decent looking vegetable I could find in the produce section), chocolate cookies and a bottle of water.
One thing I wish Alison, Carolyn and I had done more of when we were traveling was cook — buying groceries to split and share amongst 3 people is relatively easy. Unfortunately, we didn’t really have a kitchen we could use at the BA B&B we were at, so it didn’t make much sense, but it could have saved us a lot of money, especially since Buenos Aires is a very expensive city to eat out in.
I met two super sweet girls from Liverpool while I was cooking dinner last night, and left them with my extra pasta and sauce, and they were very grateful. I talked to them a little about how they had taken the TEFL and were certified to teach English, spending their summer after graduating from university in Buenos Aires together. I wish it weren’t so expensive to take the class and get certified in the states — aside from that obvious hurdle and the fact that I’m paying to store my stuff in Connecticut right now, I think I’d very seriously consider moving abroad to teach if I had someone to go with. I do feel so thankful that I am truly “free” right now — though the goal is to be in New York City eventually, I can really do whatever I want, and that freedom is so exhilarating!
Speaking of, Briann just booked a two week trip out to the west coast! We’re going to meet in Seattle on July 11 and spend a few days in Seattle, then hop down to Portland, then see San Francisco before we head down to LA for a few days in my home city to show her around. She has never seen the pacific ocean and I’ve never been further north than Sacramento, so I’m very excited to export the Pacific northwest! I think it will be hard heading back to LA from such an amazing vacation/travel adventure, so I’m glad to have another leg of travel booked — and this time speaking the language and having a cell phone will make coordinating and traveling much easier!
The rest of today is dedicated to errands: doing laundry, unpacking and repacking, getting passport pictures taken for my Bolivian visa, printing out copies of my credit card and passport, also for my visa, and then buying a handful of things like an alarm clock, flashlight, and more shampoo/conditioner. I’m glad I have the day to get that type of stuff done — it’s much needed after 18 days of non-stop travel!