Suitcase on wheels     stuck in the snow   sniffer dog

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

69. Back in the ol' BA (Buenos Aires, Argentina)

Well, here I am back in Buenos f'n Aires. I really enjoyed my time back in NZ and was a little reluctant to return to Argentina to be honest. I'd gotten so accustomed to the difficulties and irregularities of life here, that I'd forgotten how easy life can be back home, especially when you have a decent salary. Stu and Sarah's wedding went great, good weather, great venue, food drink speeches emotions blah blah. I was relieved to get my best man speech done.

Stu and Sarah

T and me trying our first ever oysters. Neither of us are shellfish fans.

But I missed my girlfriend too much and she missed me even more, so coming back was great as we were both so happy to see each other after a couple of months separation. I didn't have to wait long to be reminded of the below average customer service experience one receives almost everywhere over here either, getting my first Argentine indifference fix on the flight over. Could Aerolineas Argentinas be one of the worst serviced airlines in the sky? Perhaps. Our in flight entertainment on the 12 hour flight consisted a 14 inch screen with a pink tinge 5 rows away, playing first the movie (on cutting-edge VHS tape no less) The Polar Express which I was not interested in watching, followed by the Fantastic Four which I'd already seen on DVD, followed by The Polar Express again followed by Fantastic Four again. What, did they think we missed them the first time? The next morning they played Fever Pitch with Drew Barrymore and just as it was coming to the predictable boy-gets-girl/team-wins-championship climax, the crew announced and then proceeded to collect the in-flight headphones off the passengers so we'd miss the last 5 mins of the movie. I asked if I could watch the rest of the movie first and with that they stopped collecting our headphones, so we got to see Drew get her man.

Still, that experience beat that of the flight over, where we only got one shit movie for the entire 12 hour flight. I mean, it's the year 2006 dammit. I want my personal inflight entertainment unit with a movie library at my fingertips. I want music videos. I want games. I want the internet! We have the technology! (don't we?)

And as for drinks service, forget about it. If you want anything you can press the steward call button if you like, but don't expect them to pay any attention to it. The stewardesses will sit at the end of the plane reading women's mags/gossiping, and if you want a drink you'll have to get up and collect your tiny plastic cup of water yourself. One lady passenger actually threw a 5 minute tantrum at the bad service she was getting after a stewardess brushed her and her baby aside with the meal trolley. And finally, for a country that thinks it has the best looking women in South America, man they could do with getting rid of the tired old maids they have for stewardesses.

Yes, I'm back, and this time I'm gonna rant.

A fellow Kiwi passenger I'd met in the check-in queue was amazed with the whole thing. Welcome to Argentina I said. Interestingly he, along with about two thirds of the plane, weren't stopping in Argentina but catching a connecting flight straight to Rio in Brazil. A little advice - on long haul Aerolineas flights try get a seat at the back. If you get seated at the front of cattle class you'll be there with all the newborn babies and kids - as I found out on the way over, and my check-in friend found out on this flight. I usually like to be seated up the front so as to be first off the plane and first in line in the customs queue, but not on long haul Aerolineas flights.

Anyone out there flown LAN Chile from BA/Santiago to Auckland? How'd that compare?

If you're a planespotter, AR1182 BA to Auckland flew from BA south passing over Usuhaia, and took about 14 hours. The flight back, AR1183 Auckland to BA took a more southeasterly route and passed over near Bariloche, and took about 12 hours. Must be something to do with the prevailing wind direction. Now go find a more meaningful hobby, flyboy.

Moving on. It's June 2006 which is a good month to be in Argentina, as it's World Cup Month. While it's something both NZers and North Americans don't really pay attention to, the rest of the world does, big time. In football-mad nations you can forget the Olympics, this is THE 4 yearly sporting event. So much so that EVERY cafe and bar that didn't already have a TV installed has now installed one, and will probably remove it by mid-July. I'm told that once it starts, all 4 free to air channels on TV will be screening Argentina's games live. All 4! Which at least means we don't need to get cable installed. Obviously screening any other program while the football is on is out of the question - who would possibly watch anything else? Offices are getting TVs installed otherwise their workers just simply wouldn't turn up on the days Argentina plays. The same goes for schools - otherwise kids would just skip class the days Argentina plays, with their parent's blessing. Just about everyone watches all of Argentina's games, and a lot of guys will manage to watch every single game played - including say South Korea vs. Togo. While I'm no football nut, I'm pretty excited about it too and am looking forward to having a team to cheer on. I already know one football song. It goes (form a circle and jump up and down in sync) AR-GEN-TINA, AR-GEN-TINA, AR-GEN-TINA etc. Good eh? So, Vamos Argentina!
Argentine covergirl Pamela David


  • Your writing really is very good. It's succinct and direct, but with a satisfying amount of detail. Most importantly, it's about stuff that is actually interesting. Keep it up.

    You should think about submitting stuff to someone, or something.

    By Blogger afraid, at 9:40 PM  

  • For someone who hates the country and complains about the people so much and hates everything that is Argentine, I cannot for the life of me understand why the hell you would (1) want to go back (2) spend so much time writting about it or should I say bitching about it.

    I have a theory though;
    1) Your Argentine friends obviously dont know about this blog (for sure your girlfriends parents dont know about it),
    2) You must be such a pain in the arse in person that you are not really welcome back in Kiwi land.

    I am a foreigner and have spent a huge amount of time in Argentina the last 5 years so I will give you a bit of free advice ... Open your mind!!! You may see what is so wonderful about the country and the people, nobody is perfect, but at least the Argentines dont screw their pantuflas dreaming they are sheep.

    Oh and one other thing ... If you think Aerolineas is so crap, get the couple of extra bucks out of your tight ass and fly LAN.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 1:17 AM  

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