Tortuous Journey!

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March 18th 2009
Published: January 13th 2013
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So I'm sitting at the airport in Madrid sipping my very expensive coke (2.80 euros!) and wondering how to fill the 8 hours until my next flight. YES EIGHT HOURS!!! I did ask if I could leave the airport, but the computer it said 'no'! At least I've sussed out a salad sectio in one of the eateries so that should balance the massive fry up breakfast I had at Gatwick! My childish humour is amused that this eatery is called Ars! Is this what they think of their cutomers? As in 'Ars, here come another one!'

The journey's been trouble free so far. The flight to Madrid was virtually empty so I wa able to sprawl across 3 seats for a kip. We had a glimpse of snow capped mountains just before coming into Madrid (I'm curious to know which they are) and the field patterns were very pretty from the air so I took a few photos, the first of many I'm sure. After my amazing trip to Nepal last year I've gone for scenery, scenery, scenery again this year. I'm looking forward to more mountainous vistas but also glaciers and volcanos thrown in for good measure. And I'll be swapping camels, yaks and elephants for horses, penguins and llamas (pronounced lyamas according to my Spanish phrase book). I'm not planning on riding llamas but you never know what some enterprising Chilean might have thought up!

I've just started reading my Chile Insight Guide and find that 'Chile is earthquake territory and tremors are fairly frequent'. The hilarious Rule Number 1 for coping in such situations is: 'Don't panic!'. Oh and apparently modern buildings are earthquake resistant and have in built elasticity that induces a swing on high floors! Well I'm not scared. We actually had a very noticeable tremor in Norwich last year so I'm used to looking out of the window and saying 'is that a lorry'!

The airport has smoking rooms called 'Area de Fumadores'. This sounds very like Matadores to me.
If you were to wave a red cloak around in the smoking room would you be charged by angry smokers?

Bored, young lads waiting about in airports lower their standards when asking women for phone numbers! He had no English, I had no Spanish and still he tries to get my phone number despite me being almost twice his age lol!

The intermiable wait eventually terminated! FINALLY we boarded the HUGE double decker - plane not bus - and I found myself sat next to the best looking guy on the plane - phwarrrr! We ended up sharing 3 seats between us and he certainly made the most of it sprawling across both his and the spare seat in the middle of us, getting very cosy! Hands had to be removed lol! So cheeky! It turned out his girlfriend (or sister?) was in the seat opposite haha! Well it helped pass the time if nothing else. We were at least united in our desire to throttle the kids behind us who were constantly kicking the seats and whose mother either pretended not to understand me when I complained or just didn't care!

Now I find myself in Buenes Aires Airport - my feet on Argentinean soil and a new stamp in my passport. A slightly bizarre thing for a girl who remembers hearing about the Falklands war on the news in the 80s.

Why exactly do we own an island a few 100 miles off Argentina and 1000s of miles away from Britain?

So anyway, I{m sitting in an airport cafe waiting for my flight; only 3 and a half hours this time, having tea and croissants - doesn't sound very Argentinean I know. I was tempted by the submarino but thought better of it. I'm already struggling with lack of Spanish and the inevitable misunderstandings that ensue. I need to learn a few phrases quick and hope that lots of my group speak Spanish! By the way it's 8.30am Argentinean time and watch, still on UK time, says 11.30am so 3 hours behind.

Argentinean men hiss or whistle between their teeth instead of wolf whistling. Had my first today - what's with all this attention? Have I got SLAPPER INNIT written across my forehead lol!

Bought myself a paper, to pass some time, the Buenes Aires Herald. It seems the credit crunch is big news here too. A bill has just been passed to bring forward the date for the midterm election due to the global credit crisis affecting governability. There has also been a mass demonstration rally of 10,000 people in Buenes Aires against a crime wave and lack of security in the area. Farmers are also unhappy about soy bean export duties.

Eventually the waiting, wandering around aimlessly, trying to find a seat (not many available here) and wandering around aimlessly some more, I finally got to board the internal flight to Ushuaia. Again the flight was pretty empty and this makes me feel even more guilty about my massive carbon footprint! As we'd flown into Buenes Aires in the dark it was good to be able to see it in the daylight. It seemed smaller than I'd expected and the surrounding countryside was fairly flat and nondescript and seemed very sparsely populated. Hopefully the scenary around Ushuaia will be more interesting.

Obviously the lack of sleep and the very long journey was taking its tloll as I kept nodding off as I tried to read my book. We flew past lots of islands and over sea as we got further south and eventually the scenary started to get more mountainous. What a spectacular flight into Ushuaia. Snow capped, spiky peaks, islands, sea and flying in low and swerving around them! Breath taking. I'm so glad I flew in rather than coming overland.

Ushuaia airport is obviously in the throws of a massive upgrade, but despite all the work going on, it still has to be the most architecturally beautiful airport I've ever been to - internally anyway. There's lots of natural wooden columns and the overall shape is kind of chalet like. You can even smell the wood.

After a slight hiccup when my prebooked taxi didn't show (all sorted quickly) I made it to my hotel, the Hostel America and met my Dragoman tour guide Rob who had just arrived with the part of the group that's already been on the round for a few weeks. Apparently there are 11 new people and I'm the first to arrive. The group will be 23 in total!! I went straight to my room, showered and then collapsed into bed for a much need SLEEP!

The room's great by the way, comfy big double bed, ensuite and WARM so I'll make the most of it as I'm expecting it to be very cold when we are camping.

More to come when I next hit internet locality. Photos will have to wait til my return.



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