The wheels of the bus go round and round
23.02.2011 - 24.03.2011
I checked my watch and looked up at the line in the airport in front of me. The entire airport at El Calafate was basically a queue waiting to check in. I was tempted to quietly ninja my way into the queue to quickly check in as I was worried my flight back to Buenos Aires would have left by the time I checked in. My flight was scheduled to take off at 1220hrs and it was already 1130hrs.
When I reached the check in counter I was greeted with the most worrisome news. The flight was ‘overbooked’. That’s what the airline would tell you if they have already given your seat away to someone who has already checked in before you. I tried to ask for a change of flight at about the same time but EVERY flight was full. Justin’s flight had already been delayed but he managed to get his ticket. He was supposed to leave earlier at 1130hrs but got delayed till 1300hrs. I just had to wait to see if there was a seat available on the flight. A couple of other people were also waiting for a seat on the flight as well. I HAD to catch this flight because any later, and I would miss the bus to Puerto Iguazu which was already booked for later that evening at 1900hrs. This was really playing it close to the chest.
I loitered around the check in counter as to be seen and was getting nervous as it was already 1215hrs. I was about to give up hope when the lady at the counter called my name. What a sense of relief!! I quickly got my tickets and rushed to the gate. When I got into the plane I realized I got upgraded to a business class seat of sorts. No special perks, just a bigger seat, but it felt good.
The plane departed late, typical of most Aerolineas services. I arrived at Buenos Aires an hour before Justin. I anxiously waited at the baggage claim for my bag because my bag had not arrived when I went to El Calafate and I was worried it would happen again. The wait felt like forever and it made me appreciate the Malaysian airports efficiency compared to here. As soon as I got my bag, I looked around for a taxi to the city center to take our bus from the station. When Justin arrived, he wanted to buy an English-Spanish dictionary for his long bus trips and also for the Spanish classes he will be continuing next week. We took the taxi to a bookstore in the city, bought the book and took the subway to the bus station at Retiro.
The station was packed with people waiting to board their buses or queuing up to buy tickets. The ticket counters stretched endlessly, more than a 100 ticket counters from different companies. After buying our tickets, so began another anxious wait for the bus to arrive as the information given to us to wait from platforms 37 to 55 seemed a little bit vague. We kept walking up and down the platforms and Justin was already getting antsy because we were meant to depart in a few minutes but still no sign of the bus, or we had already missed the bus. Eventually the bus arrived, late, and we were finally able to put our feet up and get a good night’s rest on the comfortable seats while we headed off for another adventure.