13 October 2012

Traveling to Buenos Aires: Success!

Hola from Buenos Aires! After all the planning and the research and the waiting and waiting, Sandro and I are finally here.

The trip down was mildly insane. The all-day trek from Philadelphia to JFK airport in New York was treacherous, but saved us about $400 total in the end, so worth it. The first leg of the flight was a red eye from JFK to Sao Paolo. I had the pleasure of sitting next to an older, saucy Brazilian woman who had enjoyed her share of scotch on the rocks at the airport bar. I learned all about her boyfriend back in NY, her squelched millions, and the 'family business' she was attending to back in her home country. Needless to say, I didn't sleep much.

A long day of traveling. Guarulhos International Airport, Sao Paolo, Brazil.

HOWEVER...let me give a shout out to TAM Airlines. Talk about classic airline service, the kind you just don't get anymore. We received candy, water, and a pouch containing necessary toiletries and socks the minute we boarded the plane. After take off began dinner service. The pasta and meat were not bad, and I couldn't possibly complain about the cheesecake. In the morning we had a breakfast of medialunas, fruit, and coffee. The second leg of our flight, from Sao Paolo to Buenos Aires, was only 2.5 hours long, but TAM provided lunch! Beef with rice and vegetables and a dulce de leche cake hit the spot. The flight attendants were patient with my lack of Portuguese and were very kind and available. The only downside is that TAM's international planes do not provide any more leg or luggage room than any other domestic plane. It was pretty cramped, but that's Economy Class. We were able to check one large bag each for no additional cost and could bring two carry ons. Overall, I would definitely recommend flying with TAM if you can find a good deal. The perks are worth it!

Another word to those coming down: there are many options for transportation from the airports into the city. I have only used the remises, or radiotaxis, so I can't speak for the buses and other options. However, I believe the price for a private, licensed, clean and courteous private taxi is worth it. When you exit customs, you'll see kiosks offering various types of transportation from various companies. The remises will usually all charge the same, so choose one. Be prepared with the address where you are going and either pesos or dollars in cash. But be aware, you won't get a better rate when paying in dollars. The clerk will lead you outside where your driver will assist in loading your luggage into the car. It is a courtesy to tip the driver 10% at the end of the trip. From Ezeiza Aeropuerto, we paid approximately $35 USD ($160 ARS) and from Aeroparque only $25 USD ($100 ARS). After 30 total hours of traveling, it was a great deal to be whisked away and dropped off at our doorstep!

So an altogether safe and successful trip. More interesting and Buenos Aires-centric details to come!

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