05 September 2015

Argentina - Getting there!

A shrill alarm at 04.00 hrs awakened us to the start of our long awaited trip to Argentina.  A quick cup of tea, some final packing and there we were, ready to roll at 04.50. The non-arrival of our local shuttle was the first of a number of hiccups set to plague us during the day.
The Cape Town to Johannesburg leg was late taking off which naturally has a snowball effect. We dashed from Domestic to International only to find very few people at the designated gate. Suddenly, the PA system came over loud and clear that boarding had moved from A9 to A4. Now one would think these would be very close together?  Not so! Another hurried dash past all the shops and back to the A4 area. Whew! That certainly got the circulation going!
A rarity on flights these days is a plane that is not full so we're were overjoyed to realise that we had the 4 middle seats to ourselves. My legs sang a happy song!
Our next panic attack happened when we realised that our flight to Sao Paolo was landing over 30 mins late so we would only have 30 mins to find the boarding gate for Buenos Aires. Full marks must go to the SAA steward who collected us about 30 mins prior to landing and moved us to Business Class so that we were at the gate!
So for those precious moments we sat in Business Class Seats and could think how wonderful the entire flight would have been if only we were rich? Can't have it all!
This resulted in another hectic dash in Sao Paulo airport for our Buenos Aires flight and we made boarding by the skin of our teeth. This flight was jam packed and our bodies were protesting by this time - just too many hours in the air!
The miracle was that our suitcases were intact after all that and the shuttle guy was waiting to collect us. Traffic in Buenos Aires appears to be quite sane but time will tell.
Our hotel, the Palo Santo is great - a design and green hotel, it is modern with friendly staff who are most accommodating. This is the first green urban hotel in South America according  their room blurb. Unfortunately, we are only here for a few hours until up again at 04.30 for our flight to Cordoba. What I really love about travel, besides the sights, sounds and smells, is meeting the locals.
Our Reception chap was extremely interesting as he travelled Europe by train for 3 months. Sadly, he was unable to find a travel companion so braved the trip by himself. His English is perfect and he told us that he made the strict selection on Emirates airline staff selection only to be disqualified due to the tattoo on his arm! He will indeed rue the day he made that decision!
It's been a long and tiring day but, as everything really worked out well in the end, we cannot complain!
Cheers to the rest of our Argentinian adventure.....

We have now flown with SAA (South African Airways) Tam (Brazil) and then LAN for Argentina. TAM and LAN are joining forces in 2016 to start the first Latin American airline to be known as Latam. Airports the world over look the same - it's just the shops that are more extravagant. As we had no time to shop this just meant miles more of walking!
Travelling distances requires fitness! Up and down stairs, dashing between terminals,  rushing to check in, up and down escalators, and those, sometimes rickety stairs, to the plane, all take their toll!
We bypassed Cordoba city to get to our Timeshare. The area is very dry and hot and appears, at first glance, to have no redeeming features. The architecture leaves absolutely nothing to rave about, dogs wander freely and the current road works put a very heavy spanner in the works. But hey, we are in Argentina and amongst the people who live here so we will explore and enjoy.
There is not much English spoken in this region so sign language and Google Translate work well. The receptionist prattled away in Spanish but heaven only knows what she was saying!  However, even with the language barrier her sense of humour shown through.
The challenge now is to find  supermarket...!
To be continued....

The traquil view from our apartment at Villa Piren, near Carlos Paz, Argentina

And the pines near the apartments at Villa Piren, Argentina

© Judelle Drake

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