A Travellerspoint blog

Buenos Aires to Toronto via Sao Paolo

View The one trip where I spent more nights on a plane than in hotels on NT01's travel map.

Flight details: CP101 JDC-10Dep 1745 Arr 2005EZEGRUDep 2135 Arr 0635+1GRUYYZ total5,589 miles

We took off from EZE late in the afternoon. While at the airport, I noticed a lot of Argentinian passengers having their luggage wrapped in plastic - it looked funny to me at first, but much later on I realized that this help minimize scratches and pilferage from their baggage. Never mind it not looking fashionable, but it was practical.

I wandered around the airport after check-in and must say the Argentinians are a lovely people - I have to mention this, the lady selling phone cards looked like a young version of Elizabeth Taylor! The people were generally friendly, although I didn't get to talk to them as much as I am not as fluent in Spanish, and those who struck up a conversation with me would do so in English. Hablo un poco de español :)

The flight to Toronto was on the now defunct Canadian Airlines. It was on a McDonnell Douglas DC-10, which was a relatively old widebody jet at that time. Nevertheless, the food service was good and I was content.

On the approach to Sao Paolo [Sao-Paolo-travel-guide-1345133] (I presume they picked up passengers here for the trip), I gazed for what was more than five minutes the bright lights which were the city lights of São Paulo - São Paulois such a huge city from the air! At the airport terminal (GRU - Guarulhos–Governador André Franco Montoro International Airport) the flight attendants of Air Canada were admiring the leather carry-on bag I had bought in Seoul many years earlier. We struck up a conversation, although she did mention that one should be careful in the big city as a fellow crew member had lost something (wallet or bag I think) the day before the flight. Hmmm...I'll keep that in mind when I visit Brazil again (and not just for a stopover) in a few year's time ;-)

Posted by NT01 17:00 Archived in Brazil Comments (0)

Proposal delivery and time to walk around Buenos Aires

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large_1840343_13551087788496.jpgNice view from my hotel room. Clock Bell Tower (Torre Monumental) and the Retiro Railway StationI finally got into Buenos Aires [Buenos-Aires-travel-guide-145260] before noon. One thing I shouldn't have done was exchange my dollars into Argentinian pesos in New York. I thought they'd only accept pesos in cash, but everyone else preferred US dollars! The taxi into downtown was like $50, which was quite expensive at that time, but it is a long drive from the airport going into downtown. And I wasn't spending my personal money for cab fare, since I would be able to reimburse the cost out of my trip expense report.

I arrived at the hotel (more on this in the review), called my client, and took my time as he said to visit him later in the afternoon (something like 2PM). So I was able to shower and get dressed, my first bath after about 40 hours since I started my trip :-)

After meeting and delivering the proposal (it took less than 30 minutes for everything), I wandered around the streets near my hotel, beginning with the office at Avenida Leandro N.large_1840343_13551087798464.jpgIBM Argentina. Visited the office in Buenos Aires same day I delivered the proposal. Alem. For dinner I passed by an eatery and ordered the steak that Argentinian beef is famous for. I didn't linger anymore because this would be my first night in more than 48 hours where I finally get to rest in a decent bed (well, it is more luxurious than decent).

A job well done with the contract delivery. Mission accomplished, and in record time.

The following day was relatively a relaxing time as I played tourist for until it was time to check out and leave for the airport for the continuation of my journey to Toronto.

So I walked around the nearby streets but was able to venture into the main road of Avenida de9 de Julio, where the Obelisk of Buenos Aires is located. I also took a few photos of the following buildings: Opera House, Teatro Colon, the Central Post Office, Metropolitan Cathedral, Casa Rosada, Buenos Aires Cabildo, and thePalacio Municipal de la Ciudad de Buenos Aires, among others.large_1840343_13551087746973.jpgNorth end of Avenida Leandro N. Alem. I imagined what it was like when Evita Peron was singing from one of those those balconies. But one very memorable experience was feeding the pigeons at the Plaza de Mayo. I bought a small bag of corn from the vendor nearby (they obviously have a great business partnership - the vendor and the pigeons, that is), and fed the pigeons who were not afraid and would take the food from my hand. After all, it's been a long while since I had birds as pets since my childhood days back in Negros province in the Philippines.

This was one trip to a wonderful city that I knew will take years again before I have the opportunity to visit. But perhaps in the not-too-distant future, I will visit Buenos Aires again to try my hand (rather, feet) at some salsa lessons and to head south to Ushuaia [Ushuaia-travel-guide-150093] for a great adventure.


Posted by NT01 17:00 Archived in Argentina Comments (0)

Getting diverted to Córdoba due to fog

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large_1840343_13551087755777.jpgco-pilot's chair of United 767-200. At Cordoba Airport (COR) as we were diverted by fogFlight details: UA979 C 767-300 Dep2200 Arr 0945+1 JFKEZE 5,302 miles

Early morning of Friday, April 18th, I was thinking about how to get to the client's office once we arrived in Buenos Aires [Buenos-Aires-travel-guide-145260]. First, I'd have to check into the hotel, then shower, dress up, and walk to the office (forgot the address already). I came for a big surprise when the pilot made the announcement over the intercom that we would be diverting because Buenos Aires airport (Ministro Pistarini International Airport, or Ezeiza International - EZE) was covered by fog.

To where, I soon found out. It was to Córdoba , a city about 388 miles or 624 kilometers northwest of Buenos Aires. We were not the only flight diverted to Cordoba, there were two other American Airlines jets (presumably from Miami) that were there as well.

Racing through my mind are thoughts that if the fog doesn't let up for the rest of the day, then I will get off at Córdoba and hire a taxi all the way to be driven to Buenos Aires. I wonder how much that would cost - I thought it was 250 miles (in a straight line), not the 388 miles I found out only now after researching it. But my prayers were answered when the pilot announced within an hour that the fog was lifting, and that we would be flying out of Córdoba shortly.

During the one hour on the ground, I was able to wander about the cabin and into the cockpit. The co-pilot was kind enough to lend me his cap and pose while sitting on his chair. I asked him a few questions about the plane (a 767-300), among other things. Despite the diversion, the cockpit crew was so relaxed, something you don't see anymore since 9/11.


Posted by NT01 17:00 Archived in Argentina Comments (0)

The shrove room in JFK

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Flight details: UA800 C 1720 1655 747-400 NRTJFK6,737 miles

This is one experience I was not particularly fond of - transiting New York without a visa (TWOV). Almost all of my routing options had to either pass through the United States and fly south to Buenos Aires. If I chose the European options, I am faced with longer connections and flights. Same thing with Malaysia Airlines, still three stopovers. So I chose the least inconvenient route (still with 3 stopovers), and the US stopover was in JFK Airport.

Since I don't technically have to clear immigration and customs in the US (since I wasn't leaving the terminal), I thought I could just hang out at the United Airlines business class lounge. But for some reason, the immigration staff did not have enough people to "accompany" me if I went around the terminal, so I was relegated to the "shrove" room. This is their euphemism for a holding area with a combination lock at the entrance/exit doors. I asked for some time to look around, and I was accompanied by a African-American gentleman who was telling me minor-horror stories at the Shrove lounge - an example mentioned was the parents (who had US visas) of a foreign born child (who was too young to have gotten a visa) were forced to stay with the baby in the shrove room, simply because the infant didn't have a visa. Period. Talk about respect for human rights, pre-9/11, eh?

But I was unflappable. I didn't complain much (since I waited only about 2 hours during my 4 hour layover), and tried to strike up a conversation with the other "guest" of the shroveroom - not sure what was his nationality but he looked like a Chinese from the mainland (or probably a Mongolian) - he couldn't speak English much, so that was it.

Finally, once the waiting time was up, it was the last leg of my one way journey, an overnight flight into Buenos Aires - or so I thought.

Posted by NT01 17:00 Archived in USA Comments (0)

Catching up with the United flight in Narita

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Flight details: UA800 C747-400 Dep 0940 Arr 1440HKGNRT1807 miles

I could have taken the United flight into Narita [Narita-travel-guide-283388] (NRT) instead of going via Hong Kong. But the flight was full (even on business class), considering that this is the same flight that continues on to JFK. I also had the option to take Northwest via NRT. The NW flight usually departs at 8AM. I had to leave 3 hours earlier to make up for the time in Hong Kong and continue with the flight in Narita (United used to fly many sectors out of NRT back then, as I recall).

This time around, I think I was on a 747-400 although I can't recall if I was seated in the upper deck. I prefer getting a seat on the upper deck of a 747, even though the front of the plane has the most space on certain airlines.

Posted by NT01 17:00 Archived in Japan Comments (0)

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