Wednesday 5 April 2006

Getting to Argentina

A little reading quickly revealed to me that I absolutely had to bring my trip forward by 6 weeks. Leaving in mid-May would have allowed me to go to Stockholm on the Rugby tour but I wouldn't have been able to do any trekking in Patagonia. Pretty much everything shuts down by the end of April, as winter arrives with piles of snow.

It was July 1983 when I last travelled to Argentina.

I got on the 21.45 from LHR a bit stressed. Rushing to get everything done - giving up the flat, arranging for packing and storage (thanks to Sarah on this one), getting the MBA applications done... - was not a great way to start the trip. I couldn't quite work out what to pack to take to Argentina and what clothes to leave to put into storage.

I ended up with 13kg of excess baggage, which might have been very, very expensive if the kind British Airways check-in girl hadn't reduced it to 4kg. Still, getting stung for £100 at the airport wasn't great.

The flight was an hour late moving off the stand, courtesy of some problems with the undercarriage doors. It took just under one hour for a Brazilian chap to drink about 3/4 a litre of neat cachaça and start singing. It took just over an hour for a stroppy English girl to complain. So we turned back from the runway so that 4 heavily-armed policeman could drag him off the plane. He was being deported anyway - didn't have a visa - so he'd just have spent a night in a cell drying out before being put on another BA flight home.

We arrived at our stop-off in Sao Paolo 2 hours late. And a further 2-hour delay followed. So I lost the first day in BA, which I was going to use to get ready to head off sharpish to Ushuaia. Getting more stressed.

But I had the opportunity to check out parts of BA for my return there on 7th May. Lovely little area just to the West of Expedition Base Camp (parent's appartment), Las Cañitas. Great place to go out for food and drinking, if relatively expensive. I did it Argentinian style, heading out for dinner 10pm (that's 2am UK time), paying no attention to the jetlag. Picked up my tickets from Patagonia Travel's little office on Av. Cordoba, packed my rucksack, which I realised is too small, and set off, knowing that I still hadn't finished my MBA applications but that I would have time in Ushuaia to finish them.

The trip starts for real now...