Published: October 4th 2009September 30th 2009
our bus to Santiago
Catie´s host mom picked me up at my house to go the bus station. Our bus tickets were for 10:30 p.m. Catie wanted to be really early for some reason so they picked me up around 9 p.m. Alison was going to meet us at the bus station. We arrived at the bus station at 9:20. Alison wasn´t there yet and she had our tickets. Catie thought that Alison was going to be there at 9:30 but Hayley and I thought maybe she thought we were meeting at 10. We tried texting and calling her but she didn´t answer. Catie was really freaking out. Hayley was totally calm and I was a little worried since she wasn´t answering her phone. Alison showed up a little after 10, much to our relief.
We boarded our bus. The bus company was Pullman tours and it cost 6000 pesos ($12). The bus was really nice. It smelled brand new. It was a semi-cama bus.. which means half bed, so it had a place to put your legs. I sat by Alison. We left shortly after 10:30. The bus was full. Most of the people were on their way to work in Santiago so they
Alison and I
were sleeping. They played a movie called "Exit Speed". It had spanish subtitles but there were headphones that you could listen to it and it was in english. It was about a tour bus that gets taken over by a pack of nomad bikers. It was about as good as it sounds but oh well, it was something to do. After the movie, I tried to sleep so I wouldn´t be tired and crabby all day.
We arrived in Santigo around 4:30 a.m. We wanted to take a bus to the airport but it didn´t start running until 5:30. Our flight was at 8:00 a.m. We used the bathrooms at the bus terminal. They cost 200 pesos to use. Hayley had never had to pay to use the bathroom before so she was a little surprised but I´ve had to do it many times. We ate some of the food we brought and then decided we would just take a taxi. We took a taxi to the airport from there for 8000 pesos ($16) split between the four of us. It was probably 5 a.m. by now. The airport was pretty far away.
We arrived at the airport and went
first check in!
to the check in counter. We asked about changing our plane tickets so we could enter Uruguay. It would have been $30 to change the tickets and there is a $35 fee when you leave Uruguay so we decided that it wasn´t worth $65 to spend a few hours in Uruguay. Once we had our tickets it was time to go through security. We stopped to eat our food that we couldn´t bring on teh plane. Security is so relaxed in other countries and it has relaxed a lot in the US too. All 3 of the other girls had razors in their carry-ons and they never had a problem. They all had big bottles of liquids too.
Since we were flying internationally we had to go through customs to get our passports stamped on the way out. This would have been much easier if we had our ID cards from Chile but mine wasn´t ready yet. I had also forgotten to bring the paper that I got when I registered for it but I got by without it. I breezed through but Hayley and Catie were having problems. We waited probably 15 minutes for them to get through but
eventually we got it straightened out.
We had a little bit of time before we had to board the plane. We found our gate and browsed through some of the airport shops. Finally it was time to get on our way! We flew with the airline Pluna. We boarded the plane. I sat with Alison and I sat by the window since I didn´t get to sit by the window when we flew into Chile the first time. The mountains looked beautiful from up above. Pluna is a cheaper airline so we didn´t get free drinks or snacks on the plane like we did with LAN. The flight to Montevideo was about 2 hours. The water around Uruguay was brown. I guess all the water is brown down there, not blue like you would think.
We landed in Montevideo, Uruguay around 10. People going to Uruguay got off first and they go to a different place. Passengers who were just catching connection flights got of second. We got off the plane onto the tarmac and then had to get into a bus. The bus was packed.The airport in Uruguay was really crappy. There was a couple little cafes and an
flying over the mountains
expensive airport store. There wasn´t anything Uruguay, not one postcard. I wanted to get a sandwich or something but the lady at the cafe was not being very helpful so I didn´t get anything. Our flight to Buenos Aires left at 11. I´m not sure if it was in Buenos Aires or in Montevideo, but somewhere along the way, the time changed to one more hour ahead.
We had to take a little bus to the plane again. The flight to Buenos Aires was about an hour. I sat by Alison and the window again. I was really excited to get to Argentina.
As we flew into Buenos Aires, I could see the big buildings. I was looking for whales in the ocean.. but I didn´t find any
just boats. I was really excited to see Buenos Aires and to get off the plane because flying is not my favorite. The flights were nice and short though. We got off and since we didn´t have any bags we went straight to customs to get our passports stamped. We breezed through. Part of our travel package was transportation from the airport to the hotel.
Someone was supposed to be waiting
the clouds looked really cool
for us with a sign with Alison´s name on it. As we walked out, there were several people holding signs. I was the last one and none of the other girls saw a sign with her name on it. I was reading them and saw one that said "Adison Fos (4)"... and so I told them to stop and I was right. It was our person. Alison´s name is Alison Fox.. but when pronounced by a spanish speaker I could see how they could get "Adison Fos".
The lady waiting for us was named Sabrina. She called the taxi driver to let him know we were there. We waiting for probably 10 minutes for him to get there. He arrived and took us to our hotel. Sabrina said she would meet us at the hotel in a bit. On the way to the hotel we were just staring at everything. There were big buildings, statues... more brown water. The driver´s in Argentina seem much safer than the one´s in Chile. We came up to this HUGE road. We counted and there were 13 lanes IN EACH DIRECTION!
We arrived at the hotel safely. The driver dropped us off. Our hotel
was called the Victory hotel and was located on the streets Maipu and Cordoba. We checked in and headed up to our rooms. I roomed with Hayley and Catie and Alison shared a room. We were in rooms 501 and 503. We thought they would be right next to each other.. but 502 was in between. There was nobody in that room he whole weekend though. Our room was right next to the very old scary elevator. It was the kind where you have to shut the door and pull the gate across. Every time we all got in the elevator it would stop a foot or more from the opening because we must have weighted too much.
We settled into our rooms. They were decent and it was an old hotel. We didn´t want to pay a lot so we were very happy with the rooms. We weren´t there very long when we had to go downstairs to meet Sabrina. She told us about what our travel package included and we arranged to take our city tour the next morning at 9 a.m. A bus would pick us up at the hotel. She gave us her info so we
the cool looking airport in Uruguay that we didnÂ´t get to go in
could call her if we needed anything. After Sabrina left we wanted to find somewhere to get money. We went back to our rooms briefly but then we walked to find an ATM. There was one right on the corner about half a block away. There were two ATMs and we all took out money there. After that we walked to a grocery store to get some food for our room. We bought bananas, bread, fanta and avocadoes. I paid since none of us had any small bills yet. 3.8 pesos is equal to one dollar. Everything in Argentina is really cheap! The food we bought only cost about 28 pesos which is 7 pesos per person ($2). We went back to our hotel to shower and get ready to go explore a little and go eat dinner.
When we were ready, we walked to Florida street. You can´t drive on Florida, it is just for shopping. There were tons of shops and people selling stuff in the street. We just looked and walked for a while. We wanted to find somewhere to eat but we weren´t sure what kind of food we wanted. I thought it was funny that
Alison and I again
there was Burger King and McDonald´s. We ended up eating at a corner restaurant/cafe. After much debate, we ordered two pizzas and a bottle of wine. One pizza had longaniza (sausage). I´m not sure what the other one was, just cheeses I think. Both had olives though. I was relieved when they came and the olives weren´t sliced. Each slice just had one big olive on it.
The pizza was a little greasy but it was really delicious. The wine was good too. I think we freaked the waiters out since we ate all the pizza.. 4 slices=half a pizza each. The pizza was cheap too. Gotta love Argentina! After we ate, we realized that we were tired and didn´t want to do much since we didn´t know our way around yet. We went to a store and bought more snacks and drinks and then headed back to the hotel. I was fascinated that they have apple flavored gatorade. I had to buy some and try it. It wasn´t the greatest. It basically tasted like watery apple juice. I saw apple powerade also. After we got back to the hotel, I went downstairs with Hayley to use her computer for
a little bit when we got back. We laughed, snacked and played Phase 10 for the rest of the night. We decided to meet for breakfast in the morning before our city tour.
There are more photos below