San Carlos de Bariloche to Buenos Aires

It begins…. Given the travel here, I am not looking forward to the journey home. I am however, looking forward to seeing my wife, H at home. We’ve been able to keep in touch via iChat and cell phone through T-Mobile. Having a truly world phone (Motorola RAZR) in such a small form factor with international service and not having to resort to bulky satellite phones and their inherent costs is a delightful convenience.

But, from a travel perspective, this trip is turning out to be quite the hassle. Travel back on Aerolineas Argentinas was decidedly not smooth out of Bariloche as our flight had been delayed by several hours which led to long waits in the airport. Of course we would have known this had we called the airport beforehand, but it was a fortunate mistake as our cab driver who picked up up at the hotel was quite knowledgeable about the region and also turned out to be a birder. So, if we ever make it back to this region, we have a birding contact who knows the area.

Sitting in the airport lounge, we contented ourselves with talk and visiting with Ann’s friend Saskia who was flying off to Peru or some place like that.

We also spent some time watching for birds around the airport. Fairly common were the Southern Lapwing (Vanellus chilensis) and off in the distance, we could see other birds such as vultures and the occasional ibis.

A bird of a different sort, a Bombardier BD-700-1A10 Global Express N502JL. More information on Wiki here. The owner of this aircraft appears to be truly an international flyer as this particular aircraft has traveled to San Diego California, Ft. Lauderdale Florida, Phoenix Arizona, Geneva Switzerland, Malaga Spain, Wroclaw Poland, Melbourne and Sydney Australia, Brazil, Christchurch New Zealand, Buenos Aires Argentina and now in Bariloche Argentina. I don’t know who the owner is per se, but it is registered to Hanover Aviation Inc. out of Las Vegas, Nevada.

Eventually our flight arrived and I was initially happy to see that it was a 737 until I saw that it was running old school engines which are reliable as can be but considerably louder than the narrow bodied MD-80 we flew out to Bariloche in. Hush kits can be purchased for many of these engines and are required for any aircraft of this type operating in North America, but the cost is prohibitive and there are not as many noise regulations in South America.

We finally made it onto the plane and the flight itself from Bariloche to Buenos Aires went smoothly through very clear and smooth skies allowing views of the Andes as we climbed out of the Bariloche area. Unfortunately, I could not request my seat assignment, so I was on the opposite side of the plane going out which meant that I was unable to get shots of greater Buenos Aires from the air. I did get a different perspective shot of the jockey club and horse tracks however.

Thankfully, our transport showed up almost on time at Jorge Newberry airport. Our transport driver was a wonderful guide and he and Ann had a wonderful time talking about the flora and fauna of Buenos Aires and I had the opportunity to shoot some images out of the window while we drove over to Ezeiza International Airport which made me wish I had more time to explore Buenos Aires on foot. The really surprising this is that while Buenos Aires is a very large city, there are still areas around town that are green space areas for soccer where any clear space would do for a pickup game, but they take soccer here seriously and maintain green space for many fields. Also we saw quite a bit of land dedicated to equestrian facilities for the admittedly wealthier citizens, polo players and policia.

Unfortunately on this trip, Robert has been sick after having gotten something from some of the meeting participants. There was something going around as many, many people were coughing, hacking and losing their voices. I am sorry to see Robert sick and have been doing everything I can to stay healthy given the cold I received two years ago in Perth however, after having spent several hours with him and Ann in a VW Gol, I worry about the possibilities….

We hung around Ezeiza International Airport and chatted with some of the security guards and other Americans before getting a passable pizza dinner before boarding the plane. Getting on the plane in Buenos Aires to Atlanta by about 9:45pm was fairly trivial and I got to sit with Tanja Diemer from David Williams lab on the flight out who made a terrific travel companion with great conversation and sharing of pictures from the meeting and excursion. This of course made sitting in coach for the extended flight (12 hours) from Buenos Aires to Atlanta more tolerable since I don’t tend to sleep much on planes.

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