Well I made it! I'm writing to you live from Buenos Aires.
First things first: traveling is exhausting! After my uneventful flight from Dulles to Houston on Monday, I glanced up at the connections screen to see that my 9:20 pm flight to BsAs had been delayed...until 7:00 am the next morning!
After finding customer service, I was informed that Continental had reserved a hotel room for me, and all I had to do was find the hotel shuttle to get some shuteye. An hour later, a throng of delayed passengers finally squeezed into a shuttle, and made the 30 minute commute to a Marriott.
After getting our room keys, we were given vouchers to enjoy $18 of food/drink at the hotel bar. I tried for a chicken sandwich, but the meat tasted like someone had rubbed amniotic fluid over the chicken, leaving it slimy and not easy to stomach.
After sloughing myself up to my room, I set my alarm for 3:30 (the first airport shuttle was at 4), and crawled into bed for what would be my last night in the U.S.
3:30 came much too early, so I decided to live on the wild side and sleep in for another hour. Unfortunately, the entire plane-full of delayed passengers had the same idea, so when I got to the lobby well over one hundred people were already in line. Thankfully, the hotel put every staff person and vehicle to use, so although my driver actually worked the night shift at reception, and he wasn't driving the official shuttle, I got to the airport in plenty of time.
If only I could say the same for the plane we were scheduled to take.
The gate agents informed us that the mechanical problems which grounded our plane the previous night had still not been fixed, and that we would ha e to wait for a replacement plane. This second delay earned us a $6 snack voucher for the airport, an alcoholic drink on then flight, and a 10% off voucher for our next Continental fare.
Thankfully, after hour of waiting at the gate, we boarded the plane and were soon off to BsAs.
Fast forward ten hours of napping, reading and squirming in my seat, and I arrived in Argentina. Immigrations and customs went smoothly, although it was immediately clear I wasn't in Kansas anymore.
The real fun began when my airport transfer dropped me off at my apartment, and the rental agent was nowhere to be found.
Luckily my work provided me with an international blackberry, so after a few misdials, I got through to the agency. The agent said she had no record of my arrival time (thanks to the delay?) but would try to find someone to deliver a key in an hour or so.
Cue the pathetic violin solo, because that left me on a dark corner in a strange city, surrounded my my luggage and passer-byes who were speaking a totally foreign tongue. After a few minutes standing on the sidewalk, the building's security guard took pity on me, and after some very broken Spanish 8 was able to explain I was renting an apartment in the building, and just waiting for the agent.
We ended up having a great conversation, which consisted of him wildly gesturing and loudly explaining the city while I politely nodded to show him I understood (I didn't).
I was eventually rescued by the rental agent who took me up to my apartment, took my money, and left me to settle in.
And thus concludes the story of how I got from Washington DC to BsAs. There are other stories to tell, but I'm typing this out on my iPad, and there are some carne empanadas with my name on them in the fridge. Next time, I'll have pictures so I can share my apartment with you!