Thursday, May 20, 2010

It can´t all be smooth sailing

So overall, we have had a pretty straightforward, easy trip in Argentina. This is a big surprise, as those of you who have followed our other trips on this blog should know, because when we travel something ALWAYS goes wrong. Visas are incomplete, reservations are cancelled randomly, backs are thrown out, whatever. It´s always something.

Anyway, I wanted to stay true to the spirit of the blog and reassure you that we´ve had our share of flubs on this trip, but they´re pretty minor compared to usual. So here are some of our misadventures so far:

1) One of the most common search terms that leads people to my blog is ¨South African Airlines sucks¨. Every month this is in the top ten, along with ¨Gwyneth Malawi¨ and ¨Coolest pet ever¨. There is a reason for this, and it is my total disdain at the incompetence and occasionally outright ineptitude of SAA. For example, when we boarded our flight to Johannesburg from Lilongwe, and finally got a moment to look at our seating assignments, we discovered, to our great dismay, that the ticketing agent had seated us in three very separate, very far-flung seats. Lucky little Milo got a seat all by himself 15 rows behind me, and Jorge and I were seated nowhere near each other. It´s not like they didn´t know we had a child - Milo was standing on the countertop babbling away the whole time we were checking in.

But fine, we figured the flight attendant would sort it out. She went back to the row where Milo was seated, explained the situation, and asked the two people seated around Milo if they would switch with us. And would you get this - one of them wouldn´t move! Are you kidding me? He won´t move to let a parent sit with their baby? What sort of special level of a-hole-ness is that?

So of course, I´m ticked. I take Milo to the seat and say ¨so you´re the guy who wants to help look after my child, then?¨And he smiles, totally vapidly, and says ¨I don´t mind! I have a little one myself too.¨ To be fair the guy seemed more clueless than obstinate, and three minutes seated next to Milo, who kept trying to claw his way over the man´s lap while yelling ¨Daddy! Daddy!¨did the trick. As if it was his idea, the man turns to me and says ¨Hey, why don´t I switch seats with your husband?¨ Well, yeah, how´s that for an idea! So it ended up being fine in the end.

2) In Salta, we rented a car, and asked for a car seat. To save a bit of money, we decided to pick up the car on the second day, before heading off on the road. Before leaving the airport, we asked about the office hours. ¨We open at 9 and close at 9¨ they told us.

The next day, we go to the EuropCar office to collect the car seat. Only to find they´ve closed for lunch. That´s reasonable, I suppose. Then we notice - it´s a FOUR HOUR lunch break! What kind of lazy people take lunch from 1 to 5 PM?

We ended up calling the staff on their cell phone and getting them to come back to give us the car seat, but it meant sitting in our car with a tired, fussy toddler for two hours. No fun.

3) A few days ago, we arrived at the airport to check in for our flight from Salta to Buenos Aires. Only the ticket agent couldn´t find our reservation. A few minutes later, we discovered the problem: our reservations were for the following night! Jorge had booked the tickets for the wrong day, and neither of us had noticed the mistake. Fortunately, though, the ticket agent was able to change our tickets, and didn´t even charge us anything.

4) Yesterday we headed out of town to spend a few days on a country estate. We had arranged to catch the 10:30 bus, and at 9:30 were ready to leave for the bus station. However, Jorge just needed to pop across the street to buy some diapers for Milo. Half an hour later, bearing a complicated tale of woe involving a security guard and multiple exits, my frazzled husband returned. We grabbed a taxi, but as we sat in traffic, it became increasingly obvious that we were never going to make it in time. Finally, we arrive close to the station, 10 minutes late - only to see that the street, a random side street at that, has been closed for a protest! The buses were unable to pick up the passengers, so they were late. We had time to collect our tickets then walk a few blocks away where the buses were waiting for us. Saved again!

So you see, it´s not that we haven´t had our share of mishaps, it´s just that apparently South America is a little more laid back when it comes to screw-ups like us, as opposed to, say, the inflexible Cambodians or the quarrelsome Egyptians!


dc writers group said...

Gwyn: You truly have had some very unique experiences that have made me smile. Thanks for sharing...Mary