January 11, 2003

Canada FlagFinally it’s the day we’re leaving! Up at 4:20 in the morning to get ready. We’d packed the night before, so we didn’t have much more organizing to do. Caroline got up and drove us to the airport. This was a good thing, as it turned out, because as we were about to line up for the check-in counter, Paul noticed he didn’t have the black bag with useful papers in it. And since his passport was one of those papers, that was a problem. So he phoned Caroline—on the credit card, because we had no Canadian cash at all—and she located the bag, still on the back seat of the car.

By the time Caroline returned with the bag, we were just about the last ones to check in, but no matter. Off to Los Angeles we flew. Thanks to a strong tail wind, our flying time was only 2 hours and 15 minutes. And when we arrived there, we walked next door, to the Tom Bradley International Terminal, to check in for the Santiago flight. Here we had a stopover of an hour and a half.

In the waiting room in Bradley we sat next to a woman from Vancouver who was going to join a group climbing Aconcagua. After we compared schedules, she realized that we would not be in Santiago until the next day, so she would not need a place to stay overnight before catching her connecting flight to Mendoza.

This waiting room didn’t have a jetway for boarding the aircraft. Instead we got into shuttle buses that took us to the far end of the airport, out by the ocean. Where we waited for nearly an hour while they dealt with some baggage problem. And then, of course, we had to taxi the entire length of the runway, to take off towards the ocean.

As we flew down Baja it was clear, but then it clouded over as we flew out over the ocean. The trip to Lima was long and uninteresting; we alternated between dozing and watching movies: The Tuxedo, Sweet Home Alabama. The meals served by Lan Chile were very good. For dinner we had chicken and potatoes and later we had an omelet. It was midnight (Peruvian time) when we landed in Lima, and we were joined by a boisterous group of teenagers. But both of us managed to sleep pretty soundly through the Lima-to-Santiago leg of the flight nevertheless.

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