Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Travel Days

April 5, Tuesday
I was feeling pretty miserable from that cold last evening, so I took some aspirin when I went to bed and slept fairly well until 4 a.m. We were both awake early, but didn't dare go back to sleep for fear of sleeping past our breakfast/taxi time. We finally got up about 6:45.

Breakfast was served to us about 7:40 and was excellent, beginning with crepes and including scrambled eggs. The taxi arrived promptly at 8 a.m. and we were treated to the sight of the sun rising over the water as we drove to the airport.

We had read in yesterday's newspaper that our flight would leave at 9:55, not at 10:55 according to the information we had. But when we entered the airport the counter was closed and there was no activity at all. Then we saw on the Departures board that our flight was scheduled to leave at 12:35. Not much to do except sit down, buy a cup of coffee and read a novel for a couple of hours. It was amusing to watch other travelers arrive, show surprise and worry that the counter was closed and empty, and then settle down to wait, much as we had. We think the earlier scheduled flights didn't have enough passengers, so they were just held off until a later time. There should have been at least three flights by 12:35. It made us grateful that we hadn't planned to fly out of Santiago that same day, or we would have been very worried about making the connection.

We were finally able to board around 12:45, and were back in Santiago around 5 p.m. We picked up our backpacks and D.S. bought us passage on Transvip, a small van that took us directly to our hotel.

I tried to use the internet while D.S. went out to buy some supper. My cold was pretty bad, and I was scheduled to wait around the airport tomorrow until evening and then go to a rehearsal. I needed to cancel that and get Jim to pick me up from the airport in the morning. I will try again to send emails in the morning, to make these new arrangements.

April 6, Wednesday
We were awakened around 1 a.m. and again around 6 a.m. by someone tromping around the room above us. Never thought of that when they gave us a second floor room!

I felt pretty feverish from that miserable cold, and will have to do my best over the next 36 hours as we pass some time here and then travel on home. D.S. had bought some more lozenges last night and I was grateful for them.

After breakfast--same menu as usual--we packed our bags, keeping out a few things to use for today, left them at the hotel and went out for a walk about. It was a summery day, and we spent time in a lovely green park.

I've mentioned how many stray dogs there are running around these cities. Well, today we finally saw a few cats and it was quite amusing. This was a tall monument in that park with this unique feature: it was surrounded by a wrought iron fence. These cats are enjoying a peaceful spot, since the dogs are not able to get through the fence.

We enjoyed some relaxation also, sitting on a park bench for quite some time, having a bite to eat, thinking back over the last two weeks. It was exactly two weeks ago that we landed in Santiago and began our adventure. In a few hours we'll take a taxi back to the airport and begin the long flight home.

I've mentioned the police presence among the crowds and today we saw, for the first time, police patrolling on horseback. They looked very fine, and strolled slowly along among the crowds. The police are always in pairs, and their presence made me feel quite safe.

By 3 p.m. we were back at the hotel and the taxi drew up. The driver claimed to be the best taxi driver in the world and asked, Did we want to go the airport in the usual 20 minutes, or would we like the super fast ride of only 5 minutes? We chose the safer alternative, although as we were zipping along in traffic with him chatting a mile a minute, waving both arms in the air, turning around now and then to look at us, we said a few prayers. But we did make it safely there.

We went through a long line to drop off our bags. D.S.'s bag was routed in such a way that he had to pick it up in Toronto, go through Canadian customs, and then find his flight to San Francisco. Didn't seem to make much sense, but the woman at the counter wasn't persuaded to route it straight to San Francisco.

Boarded our plane for home, a much smaller plane than the flight down here, and unhappily overbooked. We had been asked if we would take an alternate flight, but we both said no. The overbooking means every seat is filled and there will be no stretching out for a good sleep on this flight. We'll just have to do our best.

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