¡Hola! We made it! We arrived here at the condo in Patagonia, late last night. The kids were soooo excited that they stayed up past 1am (past 11pm New York time).
Our first challenge came with the rental car from Greenville to the airport. The only available car from ANY rental place in the Albany area was a sedan. So for the first time in almost four years we had to cram our family of 5 into a sedan with 10 pieces of luggage and 6 carry-on bags. So two hours after Animals Away came to pick up Pushy (our cat), off we drove with our knees to our chins to JFK International Airport in NYC, Wednesday afternoon. We did surprisingly well and arrived with plenty of time. By the time we boarded our flight at 10:10pm we were pretty wiped but glad to be really on our way.
The flight itself, other than being incredibly uncomfortable was fairly uneventful. The kids slept, though Chloe and I woke up at 3am (NY time) over the rain forest. The plane was shaking badly and I could see lightning flashing out the window past Phoebe's head. I hate flying through lightening storms. Whoever told me international flights were more comfortable and nice than domestic ones was obviously lying to make me feel better.
Traveling in Argentina with the girls is like having a VIP pass. Everyone here loves children. They cut us through the line at customs in Beunos Aires, and didn't open or inspect a single bag. Even though we managed to get through 27 lessons of Pimsleur's Spanish before we left, I seem to just say "Si" and "Gracias" all the time with a big grin on my face. All those phrases I know escape me at the worst moments.
Our first impression of Beunos Aires is HOT. It's summer here and there are palm trees so that means sub tropical. It reminded me of being in Manhatten in the summer, something I tried to avoid when I lived there. We stayed in a hotel on Avenea Florida (a pedestrian only street in the city center).
Immediately on arriving in our hotel room Naomi went into the bathroom and came out 45 seconds later drenched from head to toe. " Mommy there's a fountain!". I went into the bathroom to see she turned on the bidet and everything was soaked . All the toilet paper, and tissues, the floor, the walls.
Thursday evening we walked the kids to a beautiful park across the street. The kids played on the playground for two hours and I was so proud of Chloe, she made a friend right away. She took the little girl's address right there in the park and said she'd write. They teach english in the schools here and the girl was 12 years old and VERY interested in Chloe.
Friday morning we checked out of the hotel and went off to the airport, beginning our third day of travel. We arrived at the airport early for our flight to Bariloche. Unfortunately here in Argentina that doesn't mean we sat casually at our gate waiting for our flight. Domestic flights are often delayed (which it was) and they don't know which gate until boarding. This meant some false starts running from one gate to another. When we finally boarded we looked out the window to the where the tunnel ended and just didn't see a plane there. People were showing their boarding passes and just disappearing down the tunnel. After some jokes about taking Wonder Woman's invisible plane we realized we had to go downstairs and get on a bus. Which brought us to a new location to board. The kids really liked going up the steps into the back door of the plane.
Two and a half hours later we arrived in Bariloche and needed jackets again. We met Zach the owner of the condo we're staying in. He's a nice and helpful guy from San Francisco. The condo fee includes a phone with free service to the US so I think I'll be making some calls..... Ciao!
"People are willing to take these extraordinary chances to become writers, musicians, or painters, and because of them, we have a culture. If this ever stops, our culture will die, because most of our culture, in fact, has been created by people that got paid nothing for it--people like Edgar Allan Poe, Vincent Van Gogh or Mozart."-Kurt Vonnegut