Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Back to the Real World!

They could’ve, at least, taken us off the ship in the zodiacs, that would’ve been appropriate… Instead, we walked off the gangway onto the pavement, spent some five rather boring hours in Ushuaia, and went off to the airport. The Ushuaia taxi to the airport was no different than the other taxis in the town (sorry, city!), except that the trunk opens with a little piece of wire of wire strung through what used to be the lock, and the driver’s side passenger door is hanging a little crooked, so can really only be opened from the outside … by a professional (in our case, the driver).

At the airport, LADE remains the bastard stepchild without its own dedicated check-in counter and widespread confusion at the gate, which finally received an agent about five minutes before our scheduled departure time – we’d leave twenty minutes late. The plane says something like Fuerza Aerlinges Argentinians (sure to be spelling that wrong), I had noticed it on the inbound flight too, but still had no idea what it meant – just found it noteworthy that it said this instead of, say, LADE. Well, I’ve since figured it out (I think): Argentinean Air Force. Boo-yah!

As for military precision… well, that’s not in such high demand for the Fuerza Argentinian… as we left twenty minutes late, and then seemingly made a stop to pick up every hitch hiker along the way to Buenos Aires that wanted a ride (Ok, we made two stops, but at the departure gate, nobody had a clue what the number would be, I just knew that I’d had one stop on the way down). To be honest, I kinda like LADE’s pragmatism – they don’t pretend to be a discount airline (we got two food services on the way down and two more on the way up). They simply don’t bother issuing boarding passes or assigning seats because they don’t need to. And they don’t care what you think or what all those other airlines do. They also fly little Fokker F-27 jets, with overhead luggage bins that are just a shelf (much better than what Air Kras operates anyway!). And, finally, when they are going from Point A to Point B and Point C is on the way, and somebody wants to get on/off at Point C, well, we’ll just have to stop there. You know you’re not flying LADE to get there quickly. And, they get you there cheaply!

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