Tuesday, May 15, 2007

How NOT to get to the southernmost reaches of the America's

Earlier this year, I was lucky enough to have been volunteered to complete some sweet netowrk upgrades in beautiful Punta Arenas, Chile again. It constituted my second South American trip in the past year, and I was looking forward to the change in culture and landscape. I split the trip into two parts, the first week was all bidness with 12-16 hour days straight through, and the second week was destined for rambling travels. I've excerpted below, some of the trials of our trip south... it was so much fun, i thought i would share the story. enjoi!

"... On thursday, the flight we ticketed for was delayed about 3-4 times until finally being cancelled due to massively inclement weather in Dallas. Like we should be afraid of tornados or something (right Blaine?). Jonathon managed to scam a flight to LAX which was to depart some 45 minutes later (cause he was shamelssly flirting with the ticketer agent, what a man-whore) and was soon off. Rob chose to follow suit the next day and flew to LAX on Friday meeting up with Jonathon and hitherto resuming their southbound travel from there. Unfortunately for me, Rob took the last seat on Friday's LAX flight and Kim and I were forced to head east to Miami via Chicago (of all places). We also absorbed Jonathon's luggage making for a checked bag sum of 2 silver trunks and 3 large backpacks. Kim and I spent the night at a Hotel in A-town on the Airport's graisously offered dime.

Our flight to Chicago was uneventful and we easily caught the Miami flight as well. Our luck turned again in Miami however. Once Kim and I got the LANChile gate to catch our Santiago flight, the ticketer informed us that they could not honor the ticket as the agent in Denver who booked us on that flight had no jurisdiction over their flight… or something like that. Furious and panicked, Kim and I ran back to the ticketing counter which was already in a state of chaos. Apparantly, Miami is a American Airlines hub. After several attempts and with the clock ticking (and panic increasing), we finally found the correct ticketing counter… where the line was huge. We learned while standing in line that the chaos and plentiful lines were the product of a nationwide Brazillian air traffic controller strike. The effect of their strike had massive repercussions as Brazil’s entire airspace was sealed off which meant that nobody could fly to Brazil OR Argentina (cause getting to Argentina requires the plan to fly over Brazil). Hordes of people were stranded and upset. Kim and I were extremely lucky in dealing with our travel issue early enough to get one of the few remaining Miami hotel rooms still available. Getting our travel plans finally squared away however took some 5 hours at several ticketing counters. It was a near disaster but finally found resolution after arguing with ticketers and negotiating with supervisors. Kim and I were set to travel again at 9:15 PM Saturday night.

Exhausted, we made it to the hotel and spent the following day recovering and relaxing (and shopping for clothes). The rest of the trip was much less eventful and we finally pulled into PA on Sunday at noon."

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