Another update I wrote, this time from Argentina. I wasn’t able to do much more as I didn’t have an electrical adaptor until a week after I wrote this. Also when I did have computer access, I had no way to move the files.
September 2, 2005
Greetings from Buenos Aries!
My adventure began on Wednesday and was very nerve wracking. I was supposed to be traveling with another person from the IRM. I showed up for my flight at 12:30 which was schedules for 2:30. They told me the flight was delayed until 5:00pm, so I sat around the airport that entire time.
As the hours past, Ramon (the guy I’m traveling with) nver showed up. I had no contact from the IRM either by phone or email. I didn’t know if the trip was canceled, if he didn’t show up or what. When the flight began borading he wasn’t there so I had to take a calculated risk of getting on the plane or not. I figure he could have taken another flight or something so I risked it and hopped on the flight to Atlanta.
Once in Atlanta I had to make the big decision….do I get on a 9 hour flight to South America or not. My flight arrived just before the flight to Buenos Aries was scheduled to take off, so I had to run through the terminal. I didn’t see Ramon waiting for me so I began to panic. At this point I just figured, if they didn’t contact me then I’m going to get on the plane and if nothing else get a free trip to Argentina.
I get on the plance and lo and behold there is Ramon. He had gotten to the airport a few minutes before me and took and earlier flight to Atlanta. The airline refused to tell me anything about his flight status even though we were listed as traveling together. All that panic for nothing.
We flew through the night and landed in Buenos Aries at about 9:30 am local time. The time difference is +2 hours from CDT. The weather here was colder than I expected, although its not “cold” in any Minnesota sense of the word. Its like a late March day with temperatures in the low 50s. I may end up buying a leather jacket while I’m here becaue leather is cheap, the exchange rate makes it cheaper, and I need a jacket.
We stayed our first night at some guest rooms they had at the University of Buenos Aries Institute for Geochronology. The rooms were……spartan. I have photos I will put up eventually where you can see how spartan it is. The shower is just a space near the toilet. There is no curtain, just a sweege you use to push the water into the drain when your done. The lip of the toliet is so close to the wall you have to sit sort of sideways to use it.
Buenos Aires looks like time stopped here at about 1970. Most of the buildings look like they were all constructed between 1950 and 1970 and they haven’t built or repaired anything since.
We were met at the airport by a geology professor at UBA and her husband. Her husband is of Swiss Italian descent (just like Ramon) and currently works in Honduras running a water and waste treatment facility. A very interesting guy. I know enought of the recent history and economy of Aregentina that we were able to have a good conversation on what is happening here. He said that that business climate in Honduras is actually better than in Argentina, just becuase Argentina has all but closed its borders to trade and investment.
Argentina has picked a path 180 degrees from what the rest of the world is doing, and it shows. This is a nation who 100 years ago was one of the richest in the world. Today they are probably one of the nations you could say is going backwards
September 9th, 2005
I’ve been in Cordoba for a about a week. I am typing this at the Buenos Aires airport waiting for a flight which is now 10 hours away. Last night we were scheduled to take a flight on South Winds airlines, which is a regional carrier in Argentina. When we arrived at the airport we found that the flight was cancled because of a strike. The only people who showed up for the flight were me and Ramon, and another family who I wasn’t sure if they were Canadian, Irish, or American. They had an odd accent.
We had less than 24 hours to get from Cordoba to Buenos Aires to catch our flight back to the US. We could stay overnight and risk them having a flight for us (unlikely) or we could find alternative transportation. We opted for taking a bus.
The bus ride from Cordoba to Buenos Aires was 10 hours and cost 60 pesos per person (about $20). The buses were the nicest I have ever been on. They were double decker buses and each seat was better than a first class seat on an airplane. Leather seats, very wide, and lots of leg room. It was more like having a lay-z boy than being in a bus. We caught a bus at 10:30 pm and arrived at the bus station in Buenos Aires at 8:30am.
We decided to just go to the airport and wait the day rather than try to manuver around the city all day with loads of very heavy luggage. The samples we took are very heavy and we have two bags of it.
In fact, I have a strong feeling we will get harassed at the airport. We are flying back from south america with two new nylon cases full of small plastic bags with a brownish powder. (its paleosoil) I’ll be amazed if we dont get stopped at some point.