Monday, August 30, 2010

06 August: Johannesburg to Buenos Aires to Lima

My Ageing Aunt arrived from Cape Town last night and caught the Gautrain to Sandton where I collected her and reloaded my travel card in preparation for this morning.

When we got home I was about to start actually trying to pack everything I'd put out into my bag. Three attempts later and plenty of items returned to my cupboard and I was done. I don't think I've ever struggled as much to pack. All this additional gear (hiking boots, sleeping bags etc.) really takes up more space than I'm used to!

This morning we woke up at 05h30 sharp and left the house an hour later. TheHousemate took us to the Sandton Gautrain station, which we then took to the airport. So much better than needing a lift to the airport at that sort of hour! Again, I freaking *love* the Gautrain :)

We checked in for our flight, went thru passport control and then had a delish breakfast at Newscafe before boarding. I will point out my amusement at the irony of getting metal cutlery on the plane but that awful plastic stuff at Newscafe in the airport :P

The SAA flight to Buenos Aires was *long*. We left Joburg at about 10am (5am Buenos Aires time) and flew for about 11hrs (arrived in Buenos Aires at 16h15). I didn't really want to sleep too much on the flight, it being "daytime" and all and me trying to set my body clock for our new time zone. But they pretty much faked a night flight with the lights off and windows closed the entire way :(

I did snooze a little. What I did not do was enjoy the flight. We had those main-console entertainment systems which showed only 2 (rubbish) movies the entire flight: The Ghost Writer (which I was interested to watch but was so boring I fell asleep during) and The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen (which I've seen before and know that it is so bad that even the presence of Sean Connery can not save it!)

The food on the plane was fine, I particularly enjoyed the vegetarian meal I had.

And then we landed in Buenos Aires and got shuffled thru, had our hand-luggage re-scanned (I dunno what they think I might have found on the plane to add to it :P Metal Cutlery?) and were told to go to Gate 2 for out TACA flight to Peru.

Except we didn't have a boarding pass for our second flight. Every other time that that has happened to me (Morocco to Spain), we've arrived and gone to a check-in desk to collect it. Not here! Here they were quite rude and all anyone would tell us was "Lima, Gate 2!" ... Yes, surprise, I already know that :P

About an hour before out Lima flight, someone arrived at our Gate and people swarmed to the counter. Turns out no one in transit had a boarding pass and they were about to be issued.

The flight to Lima was uneventful. I slept thru most of it. It also only had main-console entertainment and the meal was the most pathetic I've had on a plane in memory.

But, we arrived in Lima safely, now 7hrs behind South African time at 20h50. We got our passports stamped, collected our bags and cleared customs. And then waited while being harassed by taxi drivers for our pre-booked transfer to the hotel.

They tell you they'll have a sign with your name and not to go with anyone else, but they didn't. I was pretty sure tho that this poor guy who could only speak Spanish couldn't have guessed a name like mine when asked, so I felt okay going with him anyway.

After a lengthy drive from the airport, we arrived at Hostal Buena Vista and checked into our room. It is now a full 24hrs since we'd woken up in South Africa to start our journey! Straight to bed.


AngelConradie said...

Just curious, do you get to pick the airlines you use or is it part of the package?

phillygirl said...

With trips like this you do book your flights separately (although some internal flights are included in the trip like our one to Puerto Maldonado). Mostly my decisions come down to suitable dates & cost ... and short transit times between flights :) Travelstart is most helpful for this!

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