Monday, October 05, 2009

Unnecessarily detailed account of an uneventful journey

Wednesday morning was less than relaxing as I hurried to the bank to get cash, the store to buy TSA-allowed luggage locks for the contraband and other expensive items I had wrapped in sweaters and hidden in the depths of my giant suitcase, tried to get a ridiculous parental control program off my new PC laptop, and generally was unpleasant to both my mother and older sister who bore it gracefully without making me feel even more guilty about spending our last hours together in a blur. (At one point my mom even offered to make waffles and I said no thanks; wtf was wrong with me?? Wishing I had those waffles right about now. Anne did make a giant batch of Chex Mix of which I took a gallon-sized container and only just finished it today.)

I got through checking in OK after transferring 3.5 pounds from the giant suitcase to the reasonably sized suitcase and then looking at the airline woman with desperation when it still registered 51.5 pounds. She let it slide. She also let me pass with my baritone ukulele, bulging laptop bag, and an oversized purse. Apparently United does not count musical instruments as one of your two carry-ons which I thought was pretty awesome.

I'm not sure how I got this so wrong but I had somehow figured that my flight to DC was 6 hours and then from DC to Buenos Aires was 8. Um, no. My DC flight was a piddling 4.5 hours and then after I had to run (ok, walk briskly) from one gate to the next to make my connector, I actually let out a pained "no!" when the flight attendant announced that our flight would last 10 hours and 10 minutes. Can I just say that I never feel resentful of rich people until I'm walking through first and business class on my way to my crappy little coach seat? They did feed us dinner and then breakfast, and they did supply a surprisingly long and cushy pillow and a good-sized blanket, but the in-flight entertainment left a lot to be desired - I didn't watch a single thing - and the seats did not recline quite as much as they might have. Luckily I had some unisom which did not help me sleep uninterrupted but did at least help me fall back asleep every 15 minutes or so, and in general kept me in a dazed stupor so that when I looked at my watch in horror at 3 am and realized there were still 6 hours left and I just couldn't last that long, somehow the next time I looked at my watch it was 6 am and life didn't seem so bad (though my feet were hilariously swollen; I wish I had taken a picture).

If you read my last post you know I was nervous about getting through immigration (since I want to stay for 8 months and have no return ticket) and customs (since I had several thousand dollars' worth of new electronics and random horse hoofing tools, don't ask). I said exactly two words during the whole process. First I went through immigration: he asked me, "tourista?" to which I said, "si." Then he looked at and stamped my passport with the standard 90 day visa and said, "bienvenida" (welcome) to which I said, "gracias."

I got my luggage without any real trouble except for sheer volume which required careful maneuvering of a rickety cart. I was sweating both from lugging each bag up on to the conveyor belt for immigration to peer at via x-ray as well as in anticipation of their "why do you have so many electronics?"question. Also, I just seem to be sweaty and gross after any long flight. Anyway, the immigration guy didn't look at me; didn't ask to see my passport; didn't ask to see the customs form I had painstakingly filled out; didn't ask to see inside a single one of my bags. The whole thing took less than 3 minutes, 2.5 of which was me loading and then unloading bags. Lesson learned: I played customs roulette and got lucky.

Sol picked me up from the airport and took me straight to our apartment which is huge and lovely and I will go into more detail with pictures later. After a long nap I unpacked in an hour, went shopping for new bedding which I always do in any new place to feel at home, and then slept another 12 hours. Since then I've done very little of note but I promise to blog about life here in Capital (pronounced cap-eeeh-tahl) in another blog since this one is already long.


Mr. Quick said...

HA! You know why United doesn't count musical instruments against your carry on limit?

more behind the story:

AmberAnda said...

So glad the horse-hoofing tools didn't prove an issue... glad you made it safely!