As I waited and waited my patience was growing thin. I could see on the reader board that my plan was still listed as delayed, and now instead of leaving at 12:40 pm, would be leaving at 12:50 pm. Not a big deal, except that you always have to add more time to when you actually leave from what the board says. I walked around to the different stores and read, wrote again, and just stared into blank space. It was mind numbing and miserable, thinking of everything and nothing.
I examined my hands closely, noting every single line and dimple in the design. I would have killed for an iPod at this point. 10 pm rolled around and of course nothing was called. I sank into the chair and tried to keep my mind busy. All I wanted to do was sleep. I still had the grimy, acidic taste on my teeth from when I vomited earlier in the day, never getting a chance to brush.
The plane hadn't even arrived yet and it was midnight. As other passengers and planes left the terminal, I was wondering if I would ever make it. Finally the announcement was made and we started to board. We took off a little after 1 am, after 12 hours of just sitting around in the airport. Originally, I was supposed to get to Lima and immediately board the next plane. There are no planes at 3 am, however, so I had to wait until 7:30 am for the next flight out.
The flight to Lima took an hour and a half, and I couldn't sleep. Once there a LAN representative gave us food vouchers for a soda and meal of chicken, rice, and vegetables. So at 3:30 am I had my third dinner. For the next few hours I cat napped on the benches, but sleeping in the airport is so miserable that it was nearly impossible. At one point I dreamed that my called my name on the PA and actually went up to see what happened. As I walked my body was numb and it felt like my head was just floating. I was totally out of it.
The sun was starting to come out and it was now impossible to sleep, so I waited by the gate until we boarded for the 3 hour flight to Santiago. Leaving around 8 pm and adding the two hour time change, we got into Santiago around 12:30 pm. I slept for a while on the plane but as we were descending into Chile I could see the Andes mountains, some peaks still snow capped.
In the airport I immediately had to pay a $131 "Reciprocity" fee that all Americans have to pay as a result on our visa restrictions on Chileans. Canadians, Mexicans, Australians, and Albanians also have to pay but at different costs. The line was huge and I was last, but when I got up I tried to argue that I live in Ecuador, which didn't work. Then I said I'm getting citizenship with Argentina, which made me a citizen technically. But without the passport, I couldn't do anything about it.
Already this was an expensive trip, and now the fee took away a few days budget. I easily found my bag and followed my friends directions to the van company, paid 5000 pesos (about 10 dollars) for the ride into town which is far from the airport. A taxi could cost 10,000 pesos. With other passengers to make the price lower, we drove away and I was surprised at how arid the climate seemed. Traffic was bad and it was hot, but dry.
I made it to my friends street, located in the center, finally around 2:45 pm local time. And after traveling for around 28 hours, tired, sweaty, and stinky, instead of passing out we grabbed some Chilean empanadas and walked around. After a shower of course. Still in disbelief that I'd finally arrived, it was time to relax.