Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Last Moments in Chile. Hello Buenos AIres.


I was so sad today, so very, very sad.  I've so enjoyed our time in Chile that I don't want to leave.  This whole country feels like home to me; I'm very comfortable being here.

Nevertheless, it was time to leave - Argentina waits for us.

We started the morning with the buffet breakfast at the hostal.  One thing about budget travel, buffet breakfast offerings are nothing to write home about but for both of us, we can always fill ourselves up with toast, cheese, cereal, yogurt and for me, a cup of tea.  I have to have my tea.

When we were at the Mercado for lunch yesterday, Bro got it in his mind that he had to return today to get our lunch....before leaving for the airport to catch our flight back to Santiago.  He was not about to leave Punta Arenas without one last taste of merluzza!  Before leaving our favorite hole in the wall restaurant at the Mercado, Bro asked the waitress what time the restaurant opened up for the day.  She replied 10:45a.  He also asked if they would pack the meal to go and of course, they would!

So you can guess where we walked to right after breakfast. :-)  It was a beautiful, sunny day for a walk so I decided to accompany Bro rather than staying back in the room.   The heart of Punta Arenas is not large and most definitely very walkable.  I've enjoyed our strolls through town and well, had to do one last walk before saying goodbye to this small city.

When we arrived at the restaurant, the door was closed but through the window, I could see someone working in the kitchen.  Bro knocked on the door and a woman came out of the kitchen to open the door.  According to Bro, the woman could not take our food order; we would have to wait for one of the waitresses to do so.  They would be arriving shortly.  So we waited until a woman who I thought was the owner arrived.   Slowly, the other waitresses, whom we all recognized by now, began to show up for work.


We eventually placed our order for merluzza for Bro and an ensalada de centolla for me.  I wasn't planning on getting any food but since Bro got his meal, I decided I'd better do the same so I got my favorite King Crab salad.  I don't know when I will next have King Crab this good so I took the opportunity while I had it.  Not surprisingly,  with just one dish (the merluzza ) to cook and one salad to put together, our food arrived very quickly.  Bro was so happy!


We arrived back at the hotel with just a few minutes to spare.   After breakfast, we had arranged with the front desk for a taxi to the airport and so we just had to get our luggage down from the room.  The driver arrived on time and even though it's a week day, I don't think there is such a thing as a rush hour traffic jam in Punta Arenas.

It was a short ride out of town, on a road that we were now very familiar with.  Punta Arenas airport  is teeny, weeny place, albeit a very modern airport, with barely a handful of check in counters and I think two souvenir shops.  I like these small airports.  There's literally no waiting.  You walk up to the check in counter and in less than 10 minutes, you're walking away.


We were once again flying on Sky Airline -  Chile's low cost airline.  They are no frills but very reasonably priced and have flown us to all the places we've needed to get to on this trip....including Buenos Aires.

Our flight from Punta Arenas left at 1:55p and arrived in to Santiago at 5:20p, well past our lunch time so we ate our fish and crab during our nearly 4 hour long layover.  By the time we landed in Buenos Aires, it was shortly after 11p and it was close to midnight when we walked out of the arrival terminal.  Bro wanted to catch an Uber to our Airbnb apartment but catching Uber rides from airports can often be tricky.  Plus it  was late and at least I was tired. I really couldn't be bothered with doing the Uber thing so I pushed and got my way to just take a pre-paid taxi to our Airbnb apartment.

It was past midnight by the time we got into the taxi and it would be at least a 40 minute ride into town.  Luckily, before booking our apartment, I had reached out to the host to make sure that the very late arrival would be okay. Turns out that our host is a DJ and late night hours are never a problem for him.  But, I had gotten a text message from Luis a couple days back saying that he had a gig tonight and would not be at the apartment to greet us but that he had arranged for his friend, Gloria, to let us in.

As we drove through the streets of Buenos Aires, I was so surprised to see the restaurants were not just open for business but filled with diners.  I know Latinos eat late but I didn't realize just how late!  I just hope they also cater to us *early eating* Americans.

It was quite some distance to drive from the airport to our apartment which is in the Recoleta neighborhood.  I didn't realize just how big Buenos Aires is; Santiago seems so small in comparison.  Even as we drove through streets in Recoleta, people were out and about. This place reminds me of NYC  - it never sleeps!

Gloria met us in the apartment and gave us a quick orientation before leaving us.  This apartment is by far the largest and best equipped  place I have rented so far.  A veritable steal of a deal at $57 USD per night.  I'll do a video tomorrow but for now, it's time for bed.  We have no more tours for the rest of this trip so there's no more need for early wake up calls.   But, it has been a very long day so I'm hitting the sack.  Tomorrow, we'll explore the big city.

Goodnight from Buenos Aires!