Our last day in Argentina as always was just packing and cleaning. All the bedding went straight into the washer and Viv got busy cleaning the floors.
My only job was to call the taxi. Now whether my Spanish is getting better or they are better at listening I don’t know, but it all went very smoothly. Over the phone is always difficult as you cannot gesticulate or make any signals, but they even got my name right this time.
I had only one other thing left to do; I wanted to get to our shoe repair man. As he had been so fair when we had taken Viv’s dance shoes I thought I would go back before we leave and get some laces and polish. Funny enough it came to exactly eighteen pesos same price as the repair, so I felt my conscience was salved.
Our taxi driver was very chatty; he wanted to know all about Wales and why we had bought property in Argentina. He said he was surprised when we told him we had a daughter the same age as him and then the conversation moved on to stars that still looked young.
I could have done with all this intense Spanish practice when we first arrived, and not so much as we were leaving. Still the journey passed very quickly. Viv surprised me again, because as she has done before, she hears the questions in Spanish then answers in English. I think the days of me being able to have complete conversations without interruption are numbered.
Unusually there was a queue at the Air France desk, but not unusually some one was having baggage problems “don’t these people ever read their instructions” we moaned, words that would come back and haunt us.
We got to the desk and after all the usual questions, passed as always with many a“si” we got to the final one “how many bags are you checking in”, “three” we said. Our check in operator then said “Your ticket only allows for two”, “we brought three out with us”, “your ticket only allows for two”. We just stared at him, “what were we supposed to do with our case, just leave it at the airport?”
He said we could take it as cabin baggage, but there was no way we wanted to take it through Paris and struggle taking it on and off two planes, after all we already had enough cabin baggage. I had my travel bag and my computer. Viv had her travel bag and Comme il Faut’s, no it was not going to happen.
The guy said we must then pay fifty dollars excess baggage, so frustrated, and realising we could not win, I got out my credit card. He said “not here” and proceeded to lead us across the airport to the main Air France desk. There was now an irate queue, wondering where these stupid people who do not read instructions were taking the check in operator.
He left us there with a docket, in yet another queue. When the girl got to us she said “would you prefer to speak English” as this could get complex, I said “yes thanks”
Again we went through the, your tickets state only two bags, but we came with three routine. Viv said “but we are still underweight, what is the problem” The girl said “this has been the rule since March” shame nobody told us “the only exception is if you have a Flying Blue silver or gold card”. So I whipped out my silver card and, surprised, she proceeded to start typing my number and other details into her terminal. For a while I was worried as, I think my Silver status has now expired. Then, eventually she said “Sorry for the mistake” and handed me back the docket and we left without having to pay the charge.
On our flight, joining us on our row of three seats was a Romanian girl who had been on a South American tour. Seating her with us was not wise, as she was terrified and the fact that it was raining scared her even more. We did our best to reassure her but little that we said helped, and the fact that Viv is a poor flyer herself is something she cannot hide.
The plane took off as normal and started to turn to get on track, and then suddenly, about thirty seconds into our flight it dropped. I don’t know how far or how long, but now we were in no position to reassure anyone, because now I was quaking as well. On top of my terror I now had Viv’s nails buried in my arm.
We had no more fight problems even the intercontinental convergence zone was quiet tonight; although we did have some turbulence there, it was a lot less than we usually get.
I saw a funny thing at Paris DeGaulle airport; they were selling souvenir Iffel Towers in union flag colours, I cannot think how many levels this is wrong on, and to sell them in the place that is named after the very man who said “non” to a common market application by Britain, well, it surprises me that they did not have pickets outside threatening to burn them along with our sheep.
After nearly four weeks away The Manchester terminal looked different to us, we could not work out how but it seemed smaller. Then I remembered that Air France had changed their terminal building while we were away. So instead of coming in at Terminal two as we usually did, now we had arrived at Terminal three.
I stood outside, in the rain, to call our taxi and, shivering, I realised that in less than twenty four hours we had been transported from spring to winter. Then I heard our driver tell us he did not expect us home until the eleventh. How this could have happened I do not know, but it meant he would not be able to get here for an hour and after nearly twenty four hours travel we did not need this. We retired back into the lounge for a coffee.
After about ten minutes we got a call back, seems our driver had a friend who was already out this way, so we were fortunately saved from further delay.
We finally arrived home at Three o’clock Thursday exactly the same time we had left our apartment on Wednesday. (Only twenty one hours actual journey time because of the three hour time difference)
I finished our two day adventure with a curry from the local take away; it was the perfect antidote to our vegetarian tenador libre.