18 December 2010

the departed

"If that's what you had in mind
If that's what you're all about
Good luck moving up, cuz I'm. . . movin' out."
-Billy Joel, "Movin' Out"

It strikes me that I didn't give Kaela nearly as big a mention in my last post as she merits. Let me change that right now. She's an awesome girl with a strong faith in God and a ready smile. I'd heard only great things about her, and they were all true. I'm so glad that I met her while I was in BA, and I hope to see her again when we're both back in KC.

So, as I said, I spent all of Sunday packing furiously. I was trying to decide what to take and what to leave behind, which meant that a tee, a cardigan, and a pair of boots were left behind. Somehow, though, I managed to fit everything into my small suitcase, small backpack, and tote bag.

I got my deposit back from Marisa, said goodbye to John, and headed to the airport. I was worried about traffic, although I don't know why, because I arrived in plenty of time. That enabled me to sit around for a while and then buy a few last-minute gifts. (Sorry Theresa, apparently your name or its derivatives aren't common enough to show up on souvenirs, but I'm going to keep looking!)

There was a little confusion at the ID checkpoint after the x-ray machines because apparently, Argentines don't even know their country's rules on tourism. This woman wanted me to pay the fee for overstaying my visa, or perhaps the fee that's been implemented on US tourists at Buenos Aires' major airport, Ezeiza (not the one I was in). Fortunately, her co-worker informed her that stays of fewer than 90 days don't necessitate the first fee, and I hadn't flown through Ezeiza, so I'd never needed to pay the second fee. By my calculations, I made it out of Argentina with approximately two days to spare.

Eventually I boarded Pluna's tiny plane, the same sort of plane in which I'd flown from Montevideo to Buenos Aires. (If you ever have a choice between Pluna and another airline, choose the other airline, because Pluna is just annoying. Their customer service is awful, as is their website. Just don't do it.)

But flying out of BA was one of the most amazing departures I've ever had from any city. I knew the Jorge Newbery Aeroparque airport was near Palermo, but I didn't realize we'd be taking off along the eastern edge of the city. The first thing I noticed was an unusual apartment building that I identified as one between Sarmiento and Bullrich streets in Palermo. Using that as a point of reference, I spotted another unique building that I passed a couple times a week on my way to work in Las Canitas.

From there, I knew where the zoo was, and also spotted the rose gardens and planetarium. Next were the Flor and the law department building, and then Recoleta Cemetery. After that, the view opened up so that I could see all the way down the Avenida de Julio (widest avenue in the world), including the obelisk which stands right in the middle of it. South of that was Puerto Madero, where I could see the famous Puente de la Mujer and the shipyards. I saw nearly every great landmark in Buenos Aires in the span of about 30 seconds, and that made for a great send-off.

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