Again, as per yesterday’s post, this is back-posting in preparation for my return to Argentina, so keep your clocks set to one month ago, and read on…
In the morning we walked to town to the Aerolineas offices. At least we tried, walking several blocks in the wrong direction, befor realising and jumping on the metro. Then we managed to get off at the wrong stop, meaning about twelve blocks of walking to get to the Aerolineas Argentinas offices downtown. After waiting for about sixty people in front of us (which went surprisingly quickly) we described what we wanted to the ticket guy. He promptly went on his lunch break and handed us over to the next desk. After discussions the best she could do was get us a flight tomorrow night – Wednesday, getting to Salta around 11pm. We decided we’d probably bus, but before getting a refund thought it best to check the buses first.
Off to Retiro, the main bus and train station in Buenos Aires, and indeed likely Argentina. After wandering around a bit (keeping my eyes open for the legendary one peso hotdog – I know it must exist!), we found the right desk, and were told it was an eighteen or nineteen hour bus ride, in semi-cama class, and it left at 4pm. It was now 1.30pm, and we had a bit to do! We bought our tickets, then grabbed a cab back to the hostel. Our driver followed the tradition of attempting to cut off all other drivers, and got us there pretty fast. 1.50pm.
We grabbed our bags, thanked the staff and bolted down, deciding for another cab. Mistake. This guy had no idea where Catedral station was (it’s RIGHT NEXT TO Plaza de Mayo – tourist central!), and took the slowest routes possible – we knew faster routes ourselves! Eventually we jumped out a few blocks early and ran. On our way down the street we saw of all people – Dan Santman – walking in the opposite direction, but we didn’t have time to stop and say hi. Arrived breathless at Aerolineas Argentinas – 2.45.
Segunda piso for refunds, so up two flights of stairs we ran with our backpacks, and then stood helplessly as the staff member slowly and carefully typed each one out, individually folding each corner and stapling it just right, as we kept worried eyes on the clocks. But this was looking ok – 3.10pm. He handed it back and informed us that they now needed stamping at the cashiers’ desks – ground floor. Gah!
Bolting downstairs, we were first in line at the cashiers. But they weren’t interested in us – they had forms already, and bit by bit called out names of OTHER people to come forward. Eventually Amal just jumped in and said we need to have this urgently, and we got them stamped. 3.30pm.
As the final form was handed back we were already moving, running out of the office and to Catedral station. We knew the metro route and weren’t risking another cab. Out at Retiro minutes later, we had an easy ten minutes to spare. I paused for a moment of congratulation, only to see Amal, and no Blair. A quick look around, we didn’t have a choice but to run and hope he made it too.
Bus lanes, many of them – we ran down looking for our one to Salta. And outside, we saw Blair too – thank goodness. Handed tickets over, grabbed some snacks from a nearby stall, and hopped on with three minutes to spare. Why do we cut these so fine?
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