Saturday, Jan 8, 2012;
We are home and doing the catch up home stuff that was undone for 25 days. Leaving Buenas Aires was a trip! The flight to BA from Iguassu Falls was not a problem especially since the welcoming weather was 85 with a stiff breeze off the river. That was great after the high humidity and high 90s of the days in Brazil. Saturday morning, we repacked the three bags for the return to the USA. One “cold” bag was to be checked and the other two carry-ones were set. Saturday was spent walking around some accessible parts of the city that we had not been to; Puerto Madiero, San Telmo, and other previously visited venues.
Our taxi to the airport was set for 8PM for our midnight flight. Easy time for the short 20 km drive. HOlycRAP the lines of people waiting to check in!!! Was everyone in the city heading out of the country at midnight??! End of the holidays? After about 30 minutes in one unmoving line, a “helpful” employee suggested that we might try the automatic check in kiosk, even though we had a bag to check. OK. Done! Then we joined another longslowline to “drop bags”. Some groups/families had TONS of BAGS, and a few had the family dog in a large crate!! Finally, we leave our one bag and head off with our two backpacks…..to the amazing set of passport control lines. People are late for planes and are panicking. Some folks let them cut the line. How about airport security lines? The same pluggedtrafficjam! It wasn’t that anyone was incompetent but the place was not just designed for the volume of traffic that was exiting BA late on that Saturday evening. It took 2 hours just to get to the departure gate. I tried to change Argentinian pesos back to US$ and got nowhere. To do it they wanted an original ATM receipt for the money?? AreYouShittingMe? (Argentinian reciprocity for American requirements on South Americans after 9/11. Do this make you feel safer?) Oh yeah and then to board the US bound plane, you had to go through another security screening!! These guys and gals had blue latex gloves on?! Exhausted, I passed up the dinner that was served at 1AM and slept. I’d wait for breakfast over Cuba.
Miami before sunrise. You must collect your bags and then go through passport control and customs again. At least they separated the US residents and citizens from the others. Still if you are a resident but not a citizen you must do a whole series of electronic finger prints of all ten fingers. Nice touch, they didn’t require kids to do it. You could see the kids wanted to do the fingerprint thing but tough cookies there is a long line behind you. No problems for me in Miami passport control any longer. (I used to get major questioning 2007 and 2008; my name is ?close to/same as? a ?drug dealer/offender? from Illinois? In 2008, my newly elected Congresswoman, Niki Tsongas, helped straighten out the confusion with TSA.)
SkyTrain and long corridors later we settled in for a 5 hour layover. CNN on the TV screen; the first USA news I had seen in three weeks. Nothing changes, same political gamesmanship. We bought some sandwiches for the flight home (no food on domestic flights.) We settled in at our gate to wait for boarding but notice that there is no plane an hour before we were to takeoff. Crap! A gate change to another terminal. Another SkyTrain and long corridor later. We settled in for a short wait to board. The flight is oversold by 6 people. They wanted volunteers to wait 4 more hours in exchange for $300 each. We are tired and just want to go home. [Tip: with carry-ons you need get to the front of the boarding line as the boarding group before yours is called. This gives you a chance to find an overhead near you seat to hold the backpack.] Travel days can be tedious.
A Boston afternoon on the Sunday horizon! Not freezing and NO SNOW; good deal. An easy shuttle ride to our Park and Ride 1/3 mile down the street from the house. Then just a short walk home before sunset.
“Travel light and wear a smile.” Jack Holmes