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Published: February 5th 2019
Good bye snow and cold...for a while.
It was with mixed feelings that I left home for more than 2 months. It was sad to drop my standard poodle Roman off at Frankie & Bab's Winter Camp (Thank you F&B!!). And after a tearful departure with Mark at the airport, I lugged my now 110 pounds of no-wheel luggage to the check-in counter, checked the 2 duffel bags, and proceeded to the security check point. The guard asked if I had any food products and I said the I had a box of Godiva chocolates. He made me take it out of my backpack and put it on a tray to be X-rayed. He exclaimed, "A box of chocolates!" I explained that, "My flight attendant friend Michele told me to take a box of chocolates and give it to the first flight attendant that waited on me during my longest flight to South America. She said to tell the attendant that I really appreciated the service and hard work of the entire flight crew and that, as a token of my appreciation, I was giving them a box of chocolates." Michele said to watch the attendant's reaction and how she treated me during the rest of the flight.
Let the Adventure Begin
Now I can sit and relax...yeah right.
Well, the security guard smiled said he had never heard of that act of kindness before and motioned to the next guard to let me through. Wow, the Secret was working!
Made it to Chicago safely but the plane coming roundtrip from Toronto had mechanical troubles and was delayed. Please do not let me miss the flight to Buenos Aires! It arrived finally and I was on my way to Toronto. I sat down at a window seat and right away the young guy next to me started talking to me with a Spanish accent. We hit it off and rubber-lipped all the way to Canada. Jose is from Cancun, Mexico. And, even as a high school graduate, he is a precocious world traveler who is on sabbatical before going to a university. He has been traveling alone since he was 13 and his parents encourage this! He was on his way to a small island off of Madagascar (an island country in the Indian Ocean off the east coast of the African country of Mozambique) to do volunteer work for a month and afterwards was heading to the Asian continent to bum around several countries. We found out
The Infamous Box of Chocolates!
we were both SCUBA divers and he showed me several photos of him spear fishing off of Cancun (huge fish almost as big as him!) and I showed him photos of me diving off of Rangiroa Atoll and Aruba. He invited me to Cancun and we are on WhatsApp, promising to send each other photos of our adventures. Because of our flight delay, he missed his flight to Paris, had to spend the night at a hotel in Toronto, and ended up in Ethiopia before making it safely to Madagascar.
Surprisingly, I had to go through the long lines for Canadian Customs and freaked that I was going to miss my plane to BA. I had a similar situation turn up, like TC Security, because of my box of chocolates. Here I go again! The customs officer asked if I had any dairy products (go figure) and I repeated the story. He said he had never heard of that story before, smiled and waved me through without making me take the box out. Too funny, the Secret keeps working! Thankfully, my Air Canada flight from Toronto to Buenos Aires was also delayed due to mechanical issues. So, after running
And the Winner Is...
Flight attendant Nicola (Nickie) bringing me my chicken dinner en route to Buenos Aires.
a mile, huge boarding lines, and a long wait, I was finally on my way again to South America. This was my first flight on the Boeing 787 Dreamliner, a gorgeous wide bodied plane, with 9 seats across (3+3+3). I paid extra to get lots of leg room with an aisle center bulkhead seat between classes. I took out my box of chocolates and Toronto, Canadian Elaine seated in the center offered to hold my chocolates while I put my backpack in the overhead compartment. She jokingly asked if I was going to share them with her and husband Peter. Okay, here we go again! I had no idea I was going to have to repeat Michele's story so many times. LOL. They loved the story and said they were excited to see me give the chocolates to a flight attendant. They were headed for a month cruise on a 2,000 passenger ship to Antarctica, the Falkland Islands and Rio de Janeiro. Peter, being an avid sailor, was totally intrigued by my voyage, an asked if he could trade trips. We all 3 rubber-lipped for hours when we were not sleeping. Such friendly and interesting people I am meeting! Okay,
OMG Outside of Gate to Buenos Aires Flight
The boarding line was so long, like I had never seen before, outside of the gate area. The seating for the gate was inside the doors ahead of the line. Yikes!
here goes. Two flight attendants, one on each end of a beverage cart, came down the aisle and stopped at my seat. A seemingly stuck up French Canadian man with a strong French accent asked if I wanted a beverage without even looking at me. He handed me a Canadian beer, still not having eye contact and the cart moved forward so that the female attendant could take my credit card for billing. I decided immediately that he was NOT getting the box of chocolates. Nicola politely greeted me. I told her how appreciative I was of the flight crew's hard work and gave her the box of chocolates as a token of my appreciation. She was totally surprised and said, "Really??? That is so kind of you. Nobody has ever done that before and I am so appreciative, too! Thank you so much! I will share this with the rest of the crew." I asked if she wanted my credit card and she responded that my drinks were free! OMG! Michele, thank you for the idea! It worked! We exchanged names. She said, "Call me Nickie." And we referred to each other by first names for the rest of
Dinner Is Served
Spicy Chicken Orzo with mixed veggies, dinner roll and brownie. Yum! Oh, and the free Canadian beer!
the flight. Elaine & Peter were so elated, too. Well, the next morning (it was a very long flight) that French Canadian male attendant walked down the aisle and said to me, " Are you the gentleman that gave us the box of chocolates?" I said yes and he said they were excellent and thanked me so much and said all of the flight crew loved them. Wow, I was stunned and so were Elaine & Peter. The Secret worked! Great idea! Nickie cheerfully served me a wonderful dinner and breakfast during the long red-eye flight. And all of my Canadian beers were free!
After 24 hours, finally made it to Argentina's capital Buenos Aires around 9AM. OMG! Terribly long lines through customs! Oh well, no hurry and I rubber-lipped with Elaine & Peter while we snaked through the lines, which really helped to pass the time. I had to take off my winter coat & sweater. My t-shirt underneath was soaked. Such a shock to suddenly go from -13˚F to 80˚F with high humidity...but no complaints. Ha! Well, made it through customs with no problems. Hired a Remis (driver & car) to my hotel in el barrio (neighborhood)
Breakfast Before Buenos Aires Landing
Cheese omelet, potatoes, bread & jam, and melon with tomato juice.
de la Recoleta. The driver (Miguel) and I could not understand each other, he talked so fast. So, I used my cell phone's iTranslate Pro app to converse with him. It worked amazingly well! He was shocked and amazed and never heard of it before. I was slightly horrified at his driving while being distracted by iTranslate during the 45 minute drive to my hotel. Drivers are crazy here! Caution! Even though it is technically the law that pedestrians have the right of way, NONE of the cars, trucks or buses obey. Yikes! Finally, after over 24 hours of travel, I made it to the Arc Recoleta Boutique Hotel & Spa. The Time Machine of flight delivered me to another paradise. Sun, warmth, high humidity, green grass, leaves on trees, and palm trees!
"The journey is the thing." - Homer
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