Monday July 8: Starting Back
We're sitting here in Santiago with about 3 hours to wait until our overnight flight. We're sitting down to a late lunch because we're hungry, and because we have lots of time to kill.
We left the hotel this morning at 11:40, so we had a very slow morning. We got up, had our usual breakfast, and went back to the room. None of us had any great interest in wandering around town some more. I lay in bed for a while, then got up, took a shower, changed into my last pair of clean clothes, and then packed up my stuff.
This time, I'm using my backpack as my "personal item". I couldn't fit the big lens, camera, and laptop in it, so I put the big lens in the carry on bag, and the camera and laptop in the backpack. This time I was more prepared for my carry on to be checked.
Amy did a little bird watching, but by the time she decided to do so, she only had about 10 minutes to do it in.
During the drive out, I asked our driver about the canal where we had been bird watching the previous day. He said that they take water from the river, run it through town through several canals, and then dump it back in the river. That is why the river was so tiny where I was taking the star pictures. Most of the water is going through the canals. I think it is used for irrigation and perhaps other purposes.
The drive to Calama and the airport was uneventful. When we went to check in, they had us weigh the carry-on bags. Only Sam's was light enough. The others were considered too heavy, so they checked them, fortunately without additional fees.
Our guide suggested that we try to check our bags through to Boston. I didn't think it was possible, because the two segments were made separately on different airlines. Also, I didn't want to overly complicate matters. So I figured that it would be better to get our luggage at Santiago and then check in from scratch. That was I think the right thing anyways, as we managed to get our carry-on bags through this time, so my big lens isn't going through the bowels of multiple airports.
We got some snacks at Calama, as we would not be eating "lunch" until late. The flight was uneventful, and this time we got our free glass of water.
We arrived in Santiago uneventfully and found our way to the luggage carousel. We retrieved all of our bags and then made our way up to the departure area. We needed to use the kiosks to check in. Unfortunately there were not too many of the kiosks, and when we got in line for one of them, the people in front of us proved to be clueless and took forever to get their boarding passes. When it was our turn, particularly as I had spent an eternity entering data the previous night, we went through very quickly.
We had paid extra for premium economy, and among other perks, it got us a shorter line for check-in. We checked our three bags, and this time (at least so far) I've been able to keep my carry-on bag.
The big question was whether we should eat on the outside of security or after we pass through security. We opted for going through security first, and then looking for food. It ended up sort of being darned if you and darned if you don't. Airport food is never that great.
It took us a while to figure out where to go. We ended up being in the right spot once, but then we turned around and went looking elsewhere.
I thought that we would have to go through enhanced security, as we were flying to the US, but we just went through normal security. We didn't have to take off our shoes, and I even brought a half-filled water bottle with me.
We didn't care much for the restaurants we passed by, and after a long walk arrived at our concourse. There were fairly slim pickings there, but we settled on the least of the evils. So I think todays "dinner" will be more expensive than last night's, and a heck of a lot worse.
We managed to kill a fair amount of time, however, and we should be boarding in about an hour.
On one hand, we have "premium economy" seating. On the other hand, I'm stuck in the very middle of the plane; i.e. a middle seat in the middle section, surrounded by two strangers. Amy and Sam have a middle and aisle seat immediately behind me (I think).
Hopefully we will be able to sleep on this flight.