Way Down South Day 1

Dawn Near Lima, Peru 25,000 feet up

Dawn Near Lima, Peru 25,000 feet up

Where to begin, if to begin.  Stressed.  Tired.  Cranky and disoriented at Terminal 8 at JFK International in search of a flight out to Santiago, Chile after missing our flight.  We had an overly ambitious travel plan to drive from Boston to NY at 12:30 pm and catch an 8 pm international flight.  There would be no room for error, or delays.  And delays were all we encountered from Bridgeport, CT to the Bronx. Traffic, accidents, construction, slow cars, hidden cops and a few unplanned stops.  But I was hungry and the self-designated driver!!! What should have taken only 4 and one half hours, took nearly 7.  We arrived at the car rental return place finally and Frazier, the friendly return clerk and World Cup enthusiast, rushed us to Terminal 8 in record time weaving in and out of traffic like a expert taxi driver.  Despite his Mario Andretti like effort, we were late nonetheless, by two minutes, and our seats were given to folks on standby.  After much pleading in Spanish with the mostly helpful and sympathetic LAN Chile staff, we were put on standby for the next flight out to Santiago via Lima and we did get on that flight in the end which left about 2 and a half hours later than our original flight, which would have put us in Santiago at 6 am. As happened, we made it to Santiago by noon.  It could have been worse…a lot worse.

If you happen to get stranded at JFK, hope that it’s not in Terminal 8, which reminds me of the REM song, “Driver 8”. But if you are stranded there, here’s a tip:  shuttle over to another terminal before all the “restaurants” close.  If you don’t, you’ll have to make do with the Juan Valdez Cafe that serves over-priced chocolate muffins, pre-made sandwiches and salads intended for the carnivorous traveler.  Drink the coffee if adventurous, that is to say if you are addicted to Starbucks or, as in my case, Dunkin Donuts.  If you happen to be traveling on Lan Chile Airlines, go ahead and starve yourself and wait for the meal on the plane which is is sure to be decent as food goes 8 miles high.  I had the merken spiced chicken with crunchy green beans and a curiously spongy brownie. LAN serves free booze, good for the nervous flyer, and I’d recommend the Sauvignon Blanc which will be re-filled upon request.  For the beer drinker, enjoy a free Heineken or two, if you like GMO free brew – but you’ll have to request it – the flight attendants’ carts only display wine.

We landed in Lima around 8 am with a two hour layover and boarded a 787 Dreamliner bound for Santiago.  The Dreamliner.  It had been a dream deferred for me and for the troubled Boeing model too, but now all battery systems seem to be in order and the plane truly flies smooth as a dream and reliably it seems for Lan Airlines.  The wingspan of this luxury liner is truly something to behold.  It’s like the length of a football field and one would think the thing would be awfully difficult to fly, but it glides as agile and elegant as a butterfly in flight. And the entertainment system is second to none.  I listened to Radiohead’s, Kings of Limb, and could have watched any current movie or TV series I could have imagined, from VEEP to House of Cards.  Instead, I played Who Wants to Be a Millionaire (the British version) and I might have become one, had it not been for the fact that I did not know the expression “Down in the Mouth”.

Los Andes

Los Andes over Chile from 787 Dreamliner window seat 32C

And so it goes or went as it were and I’m no British millionaire but I safely arrived with family in Santiago, Chile and have enjoyed visiting with our friends and family.  We’ll leave for Montevideo on Tuesday for a week and then fly to Rio for 3 and back to Chile for another 2 weeks.  Our adventures have only just begun.  Stay tuned for more posts.  If you’d like to see photos and more stuff from our trip, follow our exploits on twitter #cazuelangrits.