Getting from Bolivia to Ushuaia involved a 15 hour stopover in Buenos Aires which was as exciting as it sounds.
After (eventually) checking out of the hotel, it was to the Santa Cruz airport, which is the biggest in Boliva. The taxi driver was keen showcase his boy-racer subwoofers. And even more so when a Taylor Swift remix came on, which threw me slightly.
After paying the airport tax (this is a South American custom I won’t miss, it’s at all transplant terminals) it was a case of waiting for the plane.
Once in BA, faced with “Exit” or “In Transit” I headed for the latter and begun the wait for the plane for Ushuaia.
Luckily WiFi was available, and there were power points to charge my Kindle etc. (you’d never have read that sentence a few years ago).
Time was spent getting a few things sorted, and also trying to get comfy on the airport chairs. The second was deceptively difficult though so I attempted a nap on the floor at one point.
My flight was at 0710 and around 0530 I had a chat with the lady at the desk because the screen wasn’t displaying my flight anymore.
It turned out I had needed to go through the Exit to immigration all those hours ago and wait in a separate terminal on the other side of the site.
Because it was early morning, the immigration line was moving slowly making it that much more tense whether I would make my plane, a ridiculous notion 12 hours prior.
And of course, me disobeying the system meant I should’ve picked up my bag 12 hours earlier, and it was now nowhere to be seen.
The different descriptions I received of where it might be lead to a self-guided tour of the airport in double quick time.
Eventually got intel it was being sent to Ushuaia, so got to the Boarding Gate, through the checks and onto the plane in the nick of time.
And I didn’t have the altitude as an excuse to be out of breath.
Once on the plane, it was 3 and a bit hours to El Carafate where most of the passengers got off, and a few minutes later, some more came on to head further south.
The demographic on the plane were broadly one of two people:
1. “Happy Snappers” of an elder generation (yolo has a sense of pending urgency it seems)
2. “Serious Adventurer” a more rugged persona (you can tell they’re serious as the outfits don’t have llamas on them)
Once in Ushuaia it became clear that my rucksack had also made the early exit in El Carafate.
With nothing left I could do after explaining why I didn’t have a bag checked onto the plane, I gave them the name of my hostel and got a taxi into town.
Needing to get out of the airport ecosystem, and with no bags to unpack, I was soon embarking on 11.1.1.