The Neverending Voyage Home
A couple of days ago a volcano back home started erupting. Having a 28 hour journey back home ahead of me I wished that we’d be lucky with winds and the ashcloud would just miss us. Now, I pray that it does cancel our initial flights, for now it’s technically the hour we should be checking in for our last flight, unfortunately we’re still up in the air and not going to land in the correct country until tomorrow morning at the earliest. Quelle horreur.
This morning I woke up fairly confident all would go according to plan, until I realized that I was teething again! Stupid slow growing wisdom teeth. Then I knew today was going to be excessively long and tiresome.
It started out as if I was just being pessimistic however the evil omen was just slowly making its way.
After another successful breakfast at our beloved heterofriendly hotel, we made a fair attempt to retrace our steps from a few days earlier to find Arni a shoeshop I wanted to get a pair of loafers. Our only clue was that it was on the southwest corner of a street named something related to Uruguay. We’d tried once before to find it without luck, so we weren’t that optimistic of finding it this time around – however we had hours to spare before heading back home to Iceland. Believe it or not, there is a higher power out there, for just as we were about to give up there it was; on the corner of Santa Fe and Montevideo. Turned out that was the last good luck we had before all would come crashing and burning upon us.
To celebrate our exceptional luck and all together successful trip in Latin America we went out for a gorgeous lomo steak with Rosemary baked potatoes. Simply heaven. During lunch my phone rang. I was certain that it was a yet another call for asking me to change phone carriers (FYI they’ve called twice already during my days in Buenos Aires). Turned out that it wasn’t the little salesdemons bothering me again, but the travel agency informing us of a significant delay in our flights. So my assumption that the drastic volcano back home was the worst of my worries turned out to be very much wrong. The delay from Buenos Aires to Madrid was a mere 8 hours! Needless to say ALL connections would get seriously fucked. The only thing in our situation was to bear with it and wait forever, be sent back to a complimentary hotel in Buenos Aires and again to another complimentary hotel in Madrid and get to London at roughly 9am a day later than intended with no assurance that would be physically possible due to the possible closing of all London-based airports because of the aforementioned damn volcano.
During our futile pleas of an alternate route to London we were offered two options, either wait in the arrival area with our gigantic luggage for 6 hours, since for safety reasons our bags could not be checked until at least 4 hrs prior to departure, or we could go back to Buenos Aires to a complimentary hotel and rest for a while before they would pick us up at 1:30am. At least there the dinner would presumably better that what EZE international airport could offer. How wrong we were. Perhaps this was partly due to the wishful thinking we were being sent to the Hilton hotel, instead of their shabby-and-no-way-chic counterpart Wilton hotel. Thus we returned back to Buenos Aires and roamed the streets one more time. As serendipity would have it, we came across the aforesaid lost shoestore, Arni was clearly meant to get those loafers. Heading back tired and to Wilton’s dining area, which in retrospect was a terrible idea, for we weren’t hungry and the food was for a loss of an adequate description not even fit for the starved stray dogs lurking all around Buenos Aires. Even the decorum was horrendous. They had a fabric wallpaper, obviously set up in the 70s inferring from the rest if the furniture, and very clearly not been cleaned since its installment; there were residues of spilled drinks on the wooden panels and the spotlight intended to cast light in the very mediocre to say the least artwork for sale on throughout the dining room only gave further notice to the obsessively dusty and discolored fabric wallpaper. This clear violation to public health did not increase the appetite to otherwise bland and unceremonious carne milanaise, an otherwise renowned Buenos Aires gastronomic treats. A definite shadow on the sublime beef lomo from earlier that day.
Afraid we’d oversleep the departure from the clearly stipulated time of departure at 1:30am by both the airline attended and by the hotel concierge themselves we set our alarm at 1am and tried our best to stay awake with the help with our early 90s version friend Al Pacino. Slowly and surely we both dosed off, only to wake up briefly by Al being attacked like Glen Close in Fatal Attraction – similarly to what how Bridget Jones woke up after a traumatic evening. This was in a way a nicer wake-up call than what followed just before 1am, there the hotel concierge called us up and mumbled something inexplicable Spanish on the very disruptive phone connection. To my surprise they did what we presumed were wake-up calls, with an half-hour to get ourselves ready and check out, in all three times in short intervals. Finally I gave Arni the phone in case he could make out what they were trying to convey, at that time they magically could speak some sort of English and told us the bus was waiting outside and about to depart! In a trance we zipped the bags shut, hoping no electrical charger got left behind and ran downstairs. Indeed the bus was ready to depart, again half-hour before its departure time. We were the last ones in and our bags could not fit in the baggage compartment so our 48 kgs had to come on board and block all passage in the bus. At least that way the Argentinians would have to remain calm and let us pass before them, instead of their usual incident going ahead (more on that later).
The strangest thing about the delay was however that there was no reason given why the flight was delayed by 8hours, a crucial element if we are to get our insurance to fix the last leg of the journey to Iceland. Yet another worry to deal with, alongwith speculation if it is some inexplicable mechanical failure being trying to found out to make the almost 12hrs flight across the Atlantic that much more enjoyable.
Almost 11hrs have now passed, besides some minor turbulence, that because of the unidentified delay creeps the bejesus out of me, all is well and chances are I will land safe and sound in continental Europe soon enough, with only volcanic ash to be frightened off.