Thursday, December 25, 2008

And the Nominee for Worst Travel Day Ever Is... Part 2

Part 2

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.

1 comment:

Andy said...

I was in Niger, West Africa, delusion in my bed from Food Poisoning...I woke up, took me three hours to pack as I had to keep lying down to rest. Took the taxi to the airplane to fly to Abidjan, Cote D'ivore. The plane left one half hours before the time that was listed, I missed the plane. Had to return to a different Hotel because I messed up the restroom so bad I knew the owner hated me... Thanks from Andy of Travel Blog and Hotels