Tuesday, July 1, 2008


At noon yesterday, we left for Dulles airport. I checked in, exchanged some dollars for pesos for free with my ISIC (after sticking to my guns that the card entitles you to free currency exchange), kicking myself for not doing it last month when the dollar was relatively strong, went through security, the works.

I think I know now why the three-legged flight was the cheapest - the original itinerary was from Dulles to Raleigh by United, Raleigh to Miami by American and Miami to Buenos Aires by LAN Argentina. Well the Raleigh flight went to shit. After several delays, we got on, then got told it´s deboarding. I panicked, and went to the United counter to see what my options were, as there was not a snowball´s chance in hell that I could catch the Miami to Buenos Aires leg.

United told me it´s down to LAN. LAN Argentina was useless, they told me they can´t do a thing. Meanwhile, Mom called United and got me a flight for the night of the 1st, which was the best I could hope for. I then went for my bag, which never showed up, and then Mom called me once more to tell me she had gotten me reissued for a non-stop the night of the 30th, and now here I am. Until I got that last phone call, I was dejectedly standing in line, vowing to make myself a stiff drink when I got home, but at least things worked out. And the parents and brother came once more to the airport to see me off, and Mom broached the subject of appreciating one´s luck.

me: Yeah, every time God closes a door, he opens a window.
mom: In your case, He closed a window and opened a door.
me: It´s like losing a knut and finding a galleon!
bro: I´d rather lose a galleon than a nut.

Anyway, went through security once more and was assured that I needn´t worry about my checked in bag. I met with the about half my GMU group, lucky me. We boarded, the flight was all right except for a few delays and some turbulence. But it just wouldn´t end, I do believe it´s the longest flight I´ve ever sat through. I had a fitful night of uncomfortable sleep, and finally we landed. And I found out my bag is in Raleigh. Luckily, it should arrive tomorrow morning. All My pajamas were in my suitcase though, I guess I´ll sleep pantless tonight. Anyway, our group leader, Alejandro, is nice. He assured us we can address him as familiarly as we wish, as long as it´s not a bad word.

I felt like a proper Argentine, though I really shouldn´t, when I ordered a mate in the Ezeiza airport cafe. It was a bit like yuppies in the US trying to be authentically Indian, ordering the chai lattes in Starbucks. Even so.

It´s colder than I thought here, my hoodie was barely enough, but I was still amused by the site of Argentines all bundled up with hats and scarves and mittens. The hot cocoa I ordered at the airport immediatley following the mate, as I needed to keep warm, was interesting. They gave me this bar of chocolate and a cup of foaming plain milk. I was to stick the chocolate in the milk myself. It was tasty, and I talked to the barrista and this other lady working there in my broken, but relatively unaccented, Spanish. They don´t call it espaƱol, they call it castellano, and they pronounce that ¨casteshano¨.

The drive to the hotel reminded me irresistably of the streets of India. And that has a charm of its own, except I had repeatedly told the parents and other members of the Indian community here that Buenos Aires is comparable to any European or North American wealthy city. Oops. I took a few pictures of things, and I´ll post them once I´m home.
So now, I wait for my bag. This is still nothing compared to Neha´s experiences in India.
Adios, mundo.

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