Monday, April 18, 2011

What's Your Deal: Aerolineas Argentina (Part One)

This story of my trip to Iguazú is written progressively, over time...but here it is.

So the part where I'm actually at Iguazú Falls is amazing. Everything else about the trip sucked--thanks to Aerolineas Argentina. I planned a day trip to the falls because I had heard that they were freaking amazing (I was not misinformed). The plan was to leave Buenos Aires at 7:55 a.m. I got up at 6 and was in line at the airport shortly before 7. The line took forever, but at 7:35 or so I checked in and was told to go to counter 4. No one was at counter 4 except me and 2 other travellers who'd been given the same cryptic instructions. We finally found out that the flight is "full". Despite my Orbitz document saying that my seat was confirmed when I bought the ticket weeks before, I had been bumped. They went ahead and arranged a seat for me on the flight leaving at 1:35. My flight back to BsAs was leaving at 9:30 p.m. that night--so I was getting screwed.

We were all pissed in our respective languages and went to talk to Guadalupe (the woman in charge). Unlike her saintly namesake, Guadalupe was not being the most helpful person. Well, she was offering me transportation back to my hotel for the duration of the wait...but I wasn't staying in a hotel. All we could do is sit there and wait for cancellations. If 1 seat opened up, I got it. If 2 seats opened up, the couple got it. Finally, I decided to talk to Guadalupe. "I don't understand," I growled, "this document says that my seat is confirmed and I want to know who the fuck is in my seat?!" Thankfully, the f-bomb was not lost in translation on Guadalupe. She explained that yesterday there had been an accident involving a number of birds flying into the jet engine and all the people from those flights had priority today. I felt a little bit bad about the f-bomb, but I was more nervous about the whole bird fiasco. Do I really want to share the skies with suicidal and/or kamikaze birds?

I sat and waited, freaked out internally about being brought to my demise by birds, and had a nice "angry cry". Good news was that a seat opened up and I got it (sorry lovebirds). Obviously, the birds had wised up and not pulled any fast ones. But, there was another person sitting in my damn window seat...once again, I was nice and let her sit there (why do I keep doing that?). But I felt that this evened out the inappropriate language towards Guadalupe, but all this lady did was sleep. Waste of a window seat, lady!

So them I'm at the falls and it's great. I took over 400 pictures. Seriously. Anyway, I return to the bustling airport of Iguazú. It makes the Bluegrass Airport look like Heathrow or JFK. I was 3.5 hours early but I had lost all feeling in my feet (other the massive blisters) and I just wanted to not move. I was also experiencing a delightful feeling of raw skin on my left thigh--you see, I'd gotten SOAKED at the park and although I have lost a decent amount of weight, my thighs still have been known to touch while walking...fun times. Oh, and I also smelled like a dirty life jacket.

My flight was the only one left that night. Imagine my shock when the only flight leaving (or arriving for that matter) is delayed. What is going on with the world? [Here's where the story turns into a stream of consciousness thing]. So that's where I am right now. It's 9:50 p.m. and I'm sitting in the airport, exhausted and confused. I've been awake for 15.5 hours--which doesn't sound like a lot but I toured the bejesus out of those falls. Plus I didn't get the best night's sleep because I was excited. Oh, did I mention I can't get into Leah's apartment without her letting me in? And now who knows when I'll get back?! Awesome. Plus people near me have been speaking some super annoying language. And now this dude is drinking mate which is weird and I'm still unsure of it.

I also don't even have my kindle because I didn't want to get it wet. So I can't continue reading Are You There Vodka, It's Me Chelsea and I think that would really cheer me up. I should've taken off 20 minutes ago. Instead, the power just went off. It came back on pretty quickly...but still. This is decidedly worse than sitting in Bluegrass Airport that one time. I have no ability to play on my phone--tweet, Facebook, what have you. I have nothing to read and no one to talk to.

An hour after our departure time, the flight was cancelled. The airline put us all up in hotels--something tells me they are quite familiar with this procedure. We get to the hotel (22 km away) and I rush in so I can just get my room and go to bed. Well, the rooms aren't ready. Of course. The hotel suggests that we eat dinner (on the airline's dime, of course). But it's 11:30 going on midnight (ironically right around the time I should've gotten back to BsAs) and I'm an American. I ate dinner hours ago. Also, why aren't the rooms ready this late? I loiter around the counter until they finally just give me a room. I was too tired to shower. I had no toothpaste, pajamas...nothing.

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