August 07 2011 - The Longest Day

The biggest day is the one that gets you rolling. It starts early and bends time until at the very last you need to re-acclimate to a new time code. All times listed are local time.

Sunday 05:45 Sydney

Alarm (sweet jazz so as not to startle too much after the 3 ½ 4 hours of sleep), then shower, then hugs farewell to awesome friends.

06:15 Sydney

A quick stroll to the tram-line to reverse the journey of yesterday. The sun rises early with the suburbs filled with light. The trams run every 15 minutes from 06:00 but with a note saying to expect delays at the start of the day. The tram arrives (AU$4.40) and it's quick into Central, to catch the airport train (AU$15) out to the International terminal.

06:50 Sydney

The train from Central arrives. There's quite a few people making their way out for mid morning flights the check in, customs check and wait. 07:15 Sydney International Airport Stand in line and await your turn to check-in. Slowly making your way through the line to the counter. Checking in is easy, you hand over your e-ticket, place your bag on the luggage rack and make the request that your luggage get shifted to the next Airline after the flight.

07:30 Sydney International Airport

You wander around the terminal looking at Duty Free and make the last call in Australia for a while. The call is to your companion who more often than not travels with you. You chat and it's almost as if you are close by. 

08:15 Customs

It's a strange formality where you check your boarding pass, they scan your passport and make sure that you're not trying to take anything out of the country you shouldn't. Smiles are given and cheery banter follows.

08:30 Duty Free

Past Customs is a warehouse of duty free. It's everywhere, filling your every sight and sound. Here, most everything is for sale without the import duty. Although if you are looking for cigarettes you need to go to the blank white wall and follow it through to the hidden area beyond. Cigarettes are apparently the ultimate in social Fubars and as such the purchases cannot be witnessed by the masses.

09:00 Sydney International Concourse

Board LAN Chile flight to Auckland.

09:25 LAN Airbus A340

LAN is a pretty clean airline and the food is not too bad, although it does seem that the pilot likes to talk, as several times throughout the trip he cut through the intercom to wish us a good trip. 3 ½ hours later...

14:40 Auckland International Airport

I'm supposed to transfer here from LAN to Aerolineas Argentinas for the flight to Buenos Aires. I flow through customs and head to International transfer services who tell me that my luggage is has been put into the domestic terminal. So, I head back through international transfer customs and down the duty free hall (how much of this stuff do they want you to buy anyway?) to Domestic Customs. I fill out the paperwork, present my Passport and the customs officer asks:

How long are you planning to stay in New Zealand?

Probably about an hour. I just have to get my luggage and check in on my next flight.

She looked at me slightly wary LAN flight from Sydney?


You're not the first, welcome to New Zealand.

I collected my bag, and made my way through the second customs check, told my story again and they laughed, made my way down the hall and approached the airline counter for Aerolineas Argentinas. It wasn't open, and wouldn't be until 3:45. So, what's a traveller to do? I made my way to a bar and ordered a pint of MAC's. I sat and drank, biding my time, then went to check in.

15:45 Auckland International Airport

The line up at Aerolineas was long. It looked as though a New Zealand sports team was heading out today as well and they constituted half of the line, the other half were tourists or people returning home. I scanned the crowd with their luggage trolleys and surmised that the average number of bags was three. It was amazing. One of the people in front of me had six very large bags.

16:50 Auckland customs Again, but the other side

Where are you travelling today Mr Eglinton?

Argentina, then onto Peru

Have you enjoyed your time in New Zealand?

The hour and a half was good. MAC's is a pretty decent beer.

A sidelong look, LAN or Jetstar out of Sydney?


Seems there were quite a few of you today.

It's not so bad, I love New Zealand. Normally I'd spend a week or two out of the airport though.

A quick laugh and I'm through. Another Metal Detector and into another giant Duty Free. I find a quiet spot to wait the hour and ten until boarding my next flight.

18:00 Auckland International Airport

I make my way to gate 1, where the plane should be boarding. The area is full. People occupy every seat, some are curled in corners napping, others against the window looking skyward. I find a spot to perch and wait and meet Isaac, a GIS researcher from Ghana on his way to Brazil for eight days. We chat a while and wait. This is my waiting room friend.

19:00 Auckland International Airport

We board, an hour late, but still we are boarding. I'm thankful for the layover on the Argentinean end of the journey otherwise I might have been in trouble. I find my seat and stow my carry on. I've an aisle seat.

19:20 Aerolineas Argentinas A340

We take off into the great beyond for an 11:50 flight, but I'm in luck, the only other seat in my aisle is a guy at the other end which means no cramped flight. There's a slight hitch with this trip though, it seems the entertainment system is broken in my area, so no movie, no music. I meditate a while, then sleep an hour before dinner arrives, small portion but tasty. I sleep some more, wake up, wander the aisles, do some push ups, squats, sit-ups to get the blood flowing. Go to the toilet and spray saline solution into my nostrils clearing the flight congestion, then go back to sleep again. When I wake up, the three seats beside me are filled by a woman curled up and sleeping. The man has vacated his seat and moved across the other aisle. Strange, I relax and try to sleep again. Failing that I control my breathing and clear my mind, rinse repeat. Hours later we approach Buenos Aires, and the woman has awoken. Her name is Maritza, she's from Sydney but only for 5 months, she's originally Peruvian and on her way home to see her parents. This is my second one-time friend. We chat until we land in BA.

16:35 Buenos Aires Ministro Pistarini

The hour delay in Auckland means there is only a 2 hour layover here. The first thing I do is go and check with the International transfers people that my luggage has been put on the flight to Lima, for while I am returning to Buenos Aires in a month, I'd rather not have to pay the entry fee, collect my luggage and check in again. Thankfully it's all OK. With time to spare, I wander the airport meeting with Maritza again and some friends of hers from Lima. I wander through yet another duty free. Buenos Aires airport is half old and half new and it's huge. One thing I notice is that this duty free has Scotch for the same price (if not more) than what I pay for it back home in a bottle shop. The wing for my departure is all new but you have to walk unfinished corridors to get there. There are two duty free sections, one in each direction from International Transit. Thankfully the new wing of the airport is decked out with very comfortable chairs in a wide open space. A nice place to chill out, relax and use the free wi-fi.

18:30 Buenos Aires Ministro Pistarini

Board the flight to Lima. The plane is old. It's like the ones I used to catch in the 80's. There is no in-flight entertainment system. I hope I haven't slept too much already.

19:00 Aerolineas Argentinas Boeing 737

We take off. I'm sitting in the middle seat on the right hand of the plane over the wing, a little girl on my right and her mother to my left. The mother only speaks Portuguese and everyone else seems only to speak Spanish. I'm pretty sure I'm not the only English speaker here, but it sure feels like it. I decide to sleep but failing that, meditate again. This is going to be a long flight. Dinner came and it was most disappointing: A ham & cheese sandwich with a chocolate cookie with caramel filling (quite possibly the most artificial thing I have eaten in years). So, to occupy myself on this entertainmentless flight, I pulled out he laptop and started to read an ebook, then an hour and half before the end of the flight I ran out of power. Loss, horror shock. Oh well, Rinse repeat, it's almost over. 05:25 hours in the air.

22:30 Lima

We land at Lima. Everyone jumps up and starts grabbing their things even though we are still taxiing to the dock. I wait it out until it's easy to move freely. Out the aeroplane, down the hall, a very long hall at that, cutting across passengers boarding other flights until we get to the end, make our way through customs (no-one speaks English at customs) then through another Duty Free. I make my way through into the melee that is customs, with 10 planes of passengers all trying to get out at once. Then comes the explosive compression of the airport hundreds of taxi drivers and chauffeurs with name cards trying to get their fares.

23:30 Lima

I find my driver, and we make our way into Miraflores. It takes me five minutes on the road to decide that I would not drive in this city. The roads are well marked but it seems more of a suggestion than a rule as to where you need to be, roads change from bi-directional to one-way repeatedly, and horns are the language of choice.

00:00 Che Lagarto, Lima

I make it to my Hostel. Drop my bags, shower and change. What a day. Time to have a beer (or a few), send a few emails and Skype to let people know I'm OK, then get to know the locals.

 Bed at Che Lagarto

Other Peru Articles:


Joomla! Debug Console


Profile Information

Memory Usage

Database Queries