9th December 2010
Argentina is a stunning country. Hugely diverse, from the arid and colourful mountains of Salta in the north; through the central wetlands of Corrientes and vineyards of Mendoza; to the wide open steppes of southern Patagonia, it is a land that offers the modern adventure tourist a plethora of sights and experiences. But it is also huge and getting around can be a problem. This is mainly due to the national carrier, Aerolineas Argentinas, being one of the most poorly managed airlines in the region, with flights regularly departing late or even being cancelled. Right now I am sitting on a plane at Buenos Aires domestic airport waiting for our flight to take off to Bariloche, Patagonia. Originally due to depart at 13:05, it was cancelled at 12:45. We were told to exit the gate, collect our bags and proceed back to the departure desks to check in for a new flight at 15:30. When we got on the plane I found that two other passengers had been allocated seat 9F! In fact half a dozen fellow travellers found themselves in the same situation. After much shenanigans, and multiple people moving, we got our original seats from where I write this blog. It is now 16:00 and at last we are pushing back. Okay so a 3 hour delay is hardly catastrophic but when all's said and done, we will have effectively used up one whole day travelling, on a two hour flight and two hour transfer; which on a 12 day trip is not efficient time management. The answer of course is to work out a routing that utilises as few domestic flights as practical and wherever possible use LAN Air, a more reliable alternative regional carrier. Anyway with luck we will be in Bariloche by about 18:30 and at the estancia in San Martin de los Andes by 21:00, ready for another 3 days of Gaucho work. Fingers crossed.