Day 3 Tuesday 7th Jan
Of course it can get worse. Between big thunderclouds, I catch the dawn view of the Argentinian lowlands with its patchwork of farms (ranches) and big, sediment-laden rivers (probably los ríos Paraguay, Parana and de la Plata). I feel my spirits are lifting slightly. Almost inevitably, this turns out to be a metaphorical false dawn. Apparently not only does UA break guitars (see http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W2OlujL3_xo) but they also lose luggage, and a lot of it. If we want to be a bit more quantitative, probably about half the baggage that should have been on board does not turn up at baggage claim. I sense that continuing to watch the same bags go round and round on the carousel will not help mine to appear and luckily I get close(ish) to the front of the ‘lost luggage’ line. There’s no announcements and little option other than to stand for an hour or so to report the missing luggage and get a claim form. The passengers are ripping p****d and many are probably still in line now. After clearing customs, a quick check of emails reveals that Alaw G. of Teithiau Tango/Tango Tours has continued to pull strings on my behalf and has re-arranged my internal fight for a second time. I have plenty of time to make the 19.10 departure to Trelew from Aeroparque Jorge Newbery, which is an hour’s drive on the other side of the city. I arrange a shuttle transfer and purchase expensive bocadillo and cafe con leche; my sleep-deprived brain struggles with the rapid fire, accented, Argentine version of español but I get by.
I sit in the maelstrom outside Terminal B waiting for the shuttle bus and a big thunderstorm breaks. Initially, this is welcome as it cools the air and seems to lower the humidity. As the shuttle bus pulls out of the airport, I feel my spirits lifting once again. Perhaps it’s the realisation that many other people are currently experiencing worse weather-related mayhem than I am, on both sides of the Atlantic. And I’ve survived in the same clothes for days on end before, even when I’ve had the option of changing … what’s the big deal? But then once again, the Gods pee on my parade …. when water starts dripping on me and my only set of clothes from the roof of the shuttle bus (and a newish one at that), I realise that I must be giddy with lack of sleep … the outskirts of BA are barely visible through the rain, and the water is starting to pool on the freeway. But I make it to Aeroparque and check in for the Trelew flight without dramas. Or have I spoken too soon?