Friday, March 4, 2011

Day 2 ANTARCTICA TRIP - Sydney to Buenos AIres

2 March 2011

We had two days in one today.  We left at 11.00am on Wednesday and arrived at 10.00am on the same Wednesday.  It made for a very long one day!

The flight was fine, not too long - just 13 hours.  What a rigmarole at the airport though.  You are barely out of the plane when you have to start lining up in the corridor before going downstairs to immigration.   I am sure some people must get held up in the planes at times during this process as the line in the corridor is just as you come out the disembarkation tunnel.  All Aussies, Canadians and US citizens have a 'treat' waiting for them - a reciprocity fee of a US$100 every time you enter Argentina.  You then move on to immigration.  Having finished there you go to pick up your bags.  They seem to wait till a load of bags is claimed before putting on the next load from the plane but those people may still be lining up.  Once you claimed your bag you lined up through the baggage area to make your way through customs.  It is not streamlined and they don't have the room for the lines.  The need a better a bigger area to cope with it.  There were not that many arrivals, compared to what we experience in Australia but it was taking a lot longer and seemed messy.

Finally 90 minutes later we were out and it was just so great to be met and taken to our hotel by car.  It was a 45 minute drive along a fast motorway into the city.  The last part along 9 de Julio, the very wide street divided into two, was a little slow but gave us an opportunity to see the famous street and the 67meter high Obelisk dividing the street.  It was erected amongst a lot of controversy in 1936 to mark 400 years since the first foundation of the city.  Beautiful trees grew along street.  Some seemed very similiar to our Bottle Trees in northern Queensland. Others had stunning pink flowers.

Our first impression was of a tired city.  You could see evidence of poverty and wealth along the way.

After settling in we walked around the neighbourhood of the hotel Argenta Tower for a little while.  Right next door is the Basilica.  I was expecting bells to toll but have heard none.

We had trouble staying awake today.  The 14 hour time difference is playing havoc with our body clocks.  We barely stayed up for 7.00pm for dinner.  A bit disappointed when we found out that it is a snack menu till 8.30pm and that the dinner menu comes on only at 8.30pm.  What a late time to eat!  Our waitress told us that most families eat around 10.00pm including children.  I'm usually in bed by then!

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