Days: 380-382 (10 July 2015 – 12 July 2015)
Total distance travelled: 93,806.66 kilometres (58,265.01 miles)
If travel was predictable, it would for us at least be pretty boring.
Yet ‘unpredictable’ was indeed the buzz word for this next little stanza to come.
We were forewarned when we almost made plans to travel to the wrong airport on our morning of departure, a fact we thankfully checked in the minutes before making our way to bed in anticipation of our 4:30 in the morning rise.
Traffic was light and it was with a good chunk of time before our scheduled departure time that we were there.
Our 8:15am flight however, was not on the board.
There was instead, a 10:00am flight bearing our flight number, yet no delay was listed.
With a connection from Montevideo to Panama City to consider, we were understandably a little concerned, but the guy at the check-in counter didn’t see it as a problem, nor did he have any explanation as to why our flight was now listed nearly two hours later (we’d even received an SMS confirmation of the flight at the earlier hour the previous day)!
We said our goodbyes to our wonderful Argentinean friends, then made our way through immigration to wait out the extra time for our flight.
Then we noticed our flight inexplicably pushed back another half an hour… suddenly our connection was looking pretty unlikely.
Boarding was eventually announced, by this time later than the next scheduled Montevideo flight and we knew it was now inevitable that we’d be seeing a change in our plans.
At the counter we explained our plight, somewhat heartened by the fact there was another, a Mexican woman, in the same predicament.
There was a long period where the staff member spent a lot of time on the phone, initially to ensure our bags would be unloaded, then, after the rest of the flight had boarded, trying to figure out what to do with us (incidentally, our flight had been delayed due to heavy fog).
Suddenly, we were whisked down a series of stairs, escalators and hallways, a brief discussion was held with some immigration officials, before we were finally left in a small office… although that too was only brief respite, as a loud woman soon entered advising us that we weren’t allowed to be there!
So, wait in the hallway we did, with still no idea as to what was actually happening!
Eventually our passports were returned, and the three of us were lead to an information counter, where another staff member then began arrangements to try and re-organise our flights.
Our Mexican friend was fortunate, as they re-routed her using a direct flight to Mexico City (which had been more expensive, hence her original option of flying via Montevideo).
Unfortunately for us, apparently our way to Toronto was looking less certain.
To travel the same route we had planned would apparently see us delayed four days which was not acceptable.
Options were thrown at us.
Direct to Panama City, with a night there that we’d need to pay for, before our flight to Toronto.
A flight to New York, although from there we’d also need to pay our own way to Toronto.
We were left alone for long periods, at time unsure as to whether or not we’d been forgotten.
Finally, a plan was settled upon that would get us to Toronto in time to catch our onwards bus.
We’d be put up in Buenos Aires for two more nights, before flying to Toronto from Panama City… via Montevideo.
The very same route we’d been told wasn’t available for four days at least.
Pero… es Argentina (But… it’s Argentina, the very same phrase we’d often chuckled over during our stay here).
Still, at least we got one of these in our passport, not that we were aware of it at the time!
We finally left the airport, by now around eight hours after we’d arrived, and a short taxi ride later were at our new home for our two additional days in South America, Hotel Wilton Palace.
Our heads were in a weird place.
We were tired, I think mentally, we’d both already checked out of Latin America, so the need to still communicate in Spanish suddenly felt that little bit harder.
Meals were provided, however the only catch was that the Wilton Palace didn’t appear to possess a kitchen of its own, so we assume our orders were from a take away menu.
The only problem with this, was that all we had to select from was pasta or pizza.
After back to back days of this, one of their staff took pity on us and arranged for some chicken breast and fries.
Sarah’s chicken was a little underdone in the centre, but it’s the thought that counts (and given how long it took to arrive, we were flabbergasted that it could have been under-cooked)!
Finally, after two days of doing very little, we were back at ground zero, ready for take two, and relieved to at least see our 8:15am flight, scheduled for that very time.
A brief delay caused a few heart flutters, but we were in the air soon enough, and touching down in Uruguay less than forty five minutes later.
No chance we’d miss this connection now!
Probably close to twenty minutes prior to boarding, about half a dozen names were called to the boarding gate, including our own, so Sarah went to investigate.
The boarding call went out about ten minutes later and she still hadn’t returned, so I gathered our things and went to investigate.
Of all the names called, only she still stood there, none the wiser as to what the issue might be, as the queue for the aircraft began to board right beside us.
Eventually we were asked the simple question, “Do you have an onward ticket booked out of Canada?”
It seems like it’s now a tradition for us and flights to the North Americas… issues with boarding!
Thankfully the terminal had Wi-Fi, so we were able to slowly load our emails and show them our September booking for a flight from Boston to Reykjavik.
All was okay, but why they couldn’t have just asked us that question when we were first called up was beyond us!
On board, once settled with our first beers in hand, things finally did appear to be looking up!
It seemed ridiculous that with those two legs, we’d wipe away all those miles of travel from San Francisco, as far south as Ushuaia. To see twelve months of travel covered in the space of one day of flying.
Then, just like that (okay, not instantly, but maybe eighteen hours later, we were landing in Toronto in the ridiculously early hours of the morning.
Our original plans had us spending a couple of days here with a friend Eli whom we’d met back in Mexico, but our delays had put those plans to bed.
We grabbed ourselves a few hours sleep in the terminal, then made our way into downtown Toronto to the Greyhound bus terminal.
Our next adventure was about to begin.
* Our flights from Buenos Aires to Toronto (via Montevideo and Panama City) cost us €1682.60
* Our two nights in the Hotel Wilton Palace were FREE!