June 6, 2008
The Lobo volleyball team will have a different player blog each day during our trip to Argentina. Check back each day to see what we are doing. Pictures will become available as we get stronger internet access.
June 6 - Sophomore outside hitter Melissa Middleton
As our trip winds down from strenuous days of traveling, matches almost every day, and adjustments to a completely foreign culture, we began the final day of our trip with a day of shopping in Palermo.
The morning began like many others before as we packed our bags for the last time and prepared ourselves for a long day filled with bargaining, sleeping, and security (not fun).
After breakfast it was time to vamanos in those little crazy, people-holding-bugs known as taxis. After another thrilling and almost life-taking experience, the bargaining and searching began. Street vendors of all types with pieces of all the colors of the rainbow and more, were not only very talkative, but very enlightened to have twelve young women from the U.S. take interest in their precious products. I found that if a vendor takes interest in you, for whatever it may be, take advantage of the discounts you get from them. I encountered one particular vendor who insisted I come back to see him and bugged about whether or not I was single ... those might be the type to avoid if the burden becomes too heavy, luckily for me it wasn't.
From the Palermo vendors, it was off to lunch at a beautiful café, Mott. With the most comfortable seats we had sat our tired tushies in for a while, we enjoyed a fulfilling meal. Mine consisted of an entrée of the best brown rice and vegetables I think I have ever had with a great topper dessert, a fruit salad (in a martini glass nonetheless).
Returning back to hotel we said goodbye to Pichu and relaxed until our departure to the airport.
The airport ... ah, what a place of enchantment ... the working force carrying folks from great plains to greater plains, from home to where one would like home to be ... to Argentina and back in ten hours in a cramped seat D (which is not an aisle nor is it a window). The airport and plane coming to Argentina truly wasn't too much of a heartache if it was one at all, however, I think more of us were a little more than frustrated as we began our departure from the country.
We left the hotel, said goodbye to Joanna, our rep from Bring It USA, and rode on what would be the last ride on our oh-so-comfy sleeper bus. I took the front seat at the top for the second or third time (because I love roller coasters) and watched the lane-disregarding drivers fearlessly drive for the very last time. The arrival at the airport was like any other, simple and fast. Lines to check in seemed to carry the same speed as those in America, but the big difference everyone and I noticed right off of the bat was security. The most simplistic form of international security and baggage checking I have ever come upon. It actually began with an airport tax which was very random and unexpected (a bump in the road through the process of getting home). After paying the tax we headed through a very relaxed bag checkpoint. Just as you would in any airport security you set your bags on the belt and with paranoia, wait for the most anal guard to tell you something it wrong. Here, no shoes needed removal, not a word was spoken, no eyes came even close to making contact, and it was just too easy.
With shock, I proceeded my way into the line where my passport would be checked from a man in clear box (hopefully he wasn't claustrophobic) and from there I would be on my way to Puerta Numero Dos (Gate 2). Directly after stepping clear of the passport-checker I was drawn not only by the scent of perfumes, (hundreds mixed together) but by the perfume sellers. One of them put the bottle directly to my neck asked in Spanish if I would like to try it. I was sure that she was sincere because I could hear it in her voice although her actions presented an alternate feeling. I felt like she was strangling me with her weapon of choice, being a large round DKNY bottle of perfume, if I moved, if I spoke, if I blinked, she'd kill me with an overdose of what could have been a great smell. Good thing she spoke.
After the crazy perfumers, I attempted to spend the rest of my pesos at several kiosks and returned to surprisingly find everyone in another line. I saw some people sitting down so I cut through the line to ask what was going on. Apparently there was a final security search and everything was to be checked once again. I set my purchases down and stepped in line. Several people in front of me had things like water, Gatorade and the dulce de leche they just purchased on the concourse after the first security checkpoint, taken away from them. This was probably the most scandalous aspect of the airport, I figured them out. What they do is they sell you things they are more than certain you won't be able to take on board. In fact, they insist you buy those things. Once you have spent the last of your pesos they rip apart your, already checked 99 times bags, misarrange your just-arranged-again items and steal back what you just paid for. Once the day is done, the workers take those brand new (probably bought ten other times prior to you) and restock their kiosks. What a vicious circle that is.
All in all, we headed back safely, even if it was without some purchased goods.
We'll see you tomorrow!