Forget the Flight of the Condor – Latam Makes it all Worthwhile!
Cool damp air kissed my cheeks as I stepped outside in the the predawn light. A drenching storm had pummelled the coast the night before but it was now long gone. Leaving in its wake a crisp clearness to the air. I had a clarity of thought not normally associated with an early morning journey, this I am sure must have been partly due to the heavy scent of eucalyptus escaping from battered and bruised leaves lying stripped on the ground. Thanks to some of my beautiful friends my latest trip begins.
Travel has been a long held dream of mine, not just travel however, but living in another country to experience life beyond my cultural limitations. I have, as all of you past readers of my blog may know, over the last six years been attempting to deliver that experience to myself.
The first destination on my list, New Zealand, was a little like dunking your toes to test the water, which in NZ isn’t that warm. On the scale of cultural differences with Australia and I’m sure they won’t mind me saying this, there isn’t that much to notice. I was definitely on a winner when I travelled to Spain for three months in 2016.
Which brings me to the present, October 2018, and Buenos Aires, Argentina. Why Buenos Aires you might ask? It’s simple really, a) they’re Spanish speakers and I wanted to improve on what I had learnt two years ago, b) it isn’t a hot Spanish speaking country and c) the exchange rate is ok!
Part of the fun of travel is definitely the trip to your destination, at least most things will be fun when you look back. No matter how hard we try to eliminate problems, however, sometimes you just don’t see them coming. As was the case in Brisbane airport two days ago. I had my support team with me, everyone is happy and boom just like that I’m not going anywhere. Apparently according to Qantas computers my stay in Argentina totalled ninety one days and the maximum allowable with out a visa is ninety days. In reality this was incorrect but they wouldn’t let me argue the point because according to the customer service person a computer doesn’t lie.
I was informed by the rep that the only option I had was to attempt to reschedule my return flight for one day earlier. This was impossible because my flight was due to depart at 7.30 am and cause I had booked through an on line booking site Qantas couldn’t do anything to help and the online company weren’t open till 9.00 am. Trying not to hyperventilate I remembered that I had seen travel advice that said Australians didn’t need a visa for Argentina. When I showed it to the rep it made no difference to her, however it did cause another customer service person to look over the details. What she realised was that the computer was counting my days from when I landed in Chile which was the day before my arrival in Buenos Aires. To cut a long story short my friends farewelled me fifteen minutes later happy that they could ditch the plans they were formulating so I could live undercover without anyone finding out I was still in Australia.
The story doesn’t end there however. A few weeks ago I was told my stop over in Santiago, Chile had been changed from just a few hours to approximately nineteen, which forced me to book a hotel for the night. Because if this change my entry date into Argentina was delayed by a day and had this not occurred I would not have been able to fly. Amazing how things work out sometimes isn’t it!
The flight from Santiago to Buenos Aires over the Andes makes everything worth it!
Ps….. having said all that I’m still not happy that I had to pay $164 entry fee into Chile for one night…..lol
* Make sure you’re really clear about visa requirements…. it could be very expensive otherwise
* Carry a multi purpose power adapter ( I had found out that Argentina has the same power. sockets as Australia but forgot about Chile)