SA 0: Pearson Airport

So a couple of “housekeeping” things to note before starting up here.

First, for whoever followed last year’s Facebook adventures through Eastern Europe, I’m moving away from posting on Facebook for one big reason; Mom and Dad couldn’t follow and, therefore, Baba couldn’t either. Apparently Facebook is some kind of devil for them. I’ll still be posting the pics on FB in their various albums, but look here for the travel updates. Subscribe to this thing if you’d like – pretty sure there’s a button or the like.

Secondly, for anybody who’s not sure, SA stands for South America. Still with me? Good.

Third, don’t count on daily blogging, as we will be hitting up some places that probably don’t have Internet there. If we’re exhausted, we’re taking the day off.

Fourth, if there’s a mistake in spelling or punctuation, Daina wrote it. =0)

So the itinerary for this trip is a massive one. We’re headed to three different countries as a pair and I’m adding an extra on the end of things.

First stop is Peru, where we land in Lima, take a flight over the lines at Nazca and hike the Inca Trail. There may be a stop in Arequipa and probably will be a stop in Puno to see Lake Titicaca now that the roadblocks are down.

Next, we cross into Bolivia, either through the Titicaca crossing or by flying from Cusco to La Paz (likely the former). We’ll be spending some time in Copacabana and La Paz before taking a three-day jeep excursion through the Uyuni Salt Flats.

Our final leg as a pair will be into Chile, crossing the Bolivian border into San Pedro de Atacama in the north to check out the crazy desert environments there. Then a flight down to Santiago to check it out, a day trip to Valparaiso and a final stop on Easter Island to see the Moai statues!

Once D goes home, I’m going to stick around for a week and bus on over to Buenos Aires in Argentina, see what I can see along the way.

Should be epic. And an epic trip deserves an epic start.

We woke up this morning at about 4 o’clock so we could get to Pearson nice and early, avoiding as much of the holiday weekend rush as possible. Met possibly the nicest customs agent EVER (first good sign) who kinda grilled us on our trip but in a way where we actually felt good about ourselves and being able to take a massive vacation like this. Next, a quick and courteous trip through security!

Yeah, I know, pleasant US customs agents and problem free security at Pearson Terminal 3. I’m as shocked as you.

So we get to our boarding gate, wait around for a while, wander the terminal a bit and I wander off for a quick break. I come back to the boarding area and Daina is standing up next to my backpack, looking anxious but with a massive smile on his face. With no idea what’s happening, I go up to him and get the lowdown: the flight has been oversold and they’re looking for two passengers to take a late flight to Miami and offering some pretty nice travel vouchers. So instead of waiting seven hours in the Miami airport, we’d be waiting for seven hours in Pearson. Having been to both, Miami is definitely a nicer airport. Problem is, it’s full of cruise ship passengers. You can only take so many bedazzled hats and custom made “Bobby Jo’s 80th birthday” lime green T-shirts in one place before you want to hurt somebody.

So we get to the front of the line, ask logical questions (changeover time, will the luggage make it to Lima) and the lady at the desk also lets us know that we will be UPGRADED to BUSINESS CLASS!!!

So….

  1. Avoiding hanging around Miami International during the double long weekend = Win
  2. Travel vouchers for future flights = Extra Win
  3. Upgrade to Business Class = Huge seat with a menu selection WIN!!!

Long story made longer, we’re still in Pearson, flying out at 3pm! SWEET!!!

The best part is that, after we accepted the offer, they realized they had some no-shows and said we could get on to the plane if we wanted to. Daina quickly asks “But then we lose our vouchers, right?” The lady gave a sad nod and we said “No thank you”. So here we are.

So we’ll have an hour between connections in Miami (which is nothing) and a nice seat to nap in on the way down. Plus, our taking the later flight actually helped a guy get home to see his kids. Everything is coming up Kirk and Daina (and, to a greater or lesser extent, that guy).

Lima, here we come!

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