I cannot believe that it is only the first day and already friendships are being formed and memories are being made. There was a very funny story that happened this morning when I got into the Buenos Aires airport and a friend was suppose to pick me up. My friend's name is Diana and she is a girl from Peru who I connect really well with. For the past few weeks, we had been making plans to meet up at the airport. Many times I told her that I could just take a taxi straight from the airport but she was insistent that she wanted to meet me. She kept telling me to phone her when I got to the airport and that she would leave to come get me. I thought that the plan sounded kind of strange because it would really be faster for me to grab a taxi as soon as I got in. But if it meant something to her, then I would be willing to do it.
So my plane arrives in the airport and after clearing customs, I get into the arrival area. She is nowhere to be seen. Eventually I find some public telephones and attempt to get into contact with her. It was quite a hassle to figure out how to make a call because when I put the coins in, sometimes the coins didn't register with the machine. And also the phone numbers that I had to call were like 12 digits long and consisted of the area code, city code, and actual phone number. I had no idea what I was supposed to press or not to press to get through. And I kept getting an automated voice telling me in spanish that my phone call had not gone through. Eventually I ended up getting some assistance from the information desk and they told me how to dial Buenos Aires.
I tried both her home line and her cell phone and at first there was no answer. I wondered if she was on her way to the airport and that is why she wasn't answering. I kept going back into the holding area for the arrivals to see if she was around. This went on for about 90 mins the joy of touching down in Buenos Aires was quickly turning into frustration over having to deal with a foreign culture. But finally around 11:30 am she picked up her line and I was able to get through.
From her voice it sounded like I had woken her up and indeed she was still in bed. After a brief conversation in spanish, we both agreed that I should just go ahead and take a taxi to the hostel. At this point I was feeling frustrated that I waited for my friend to find out she was still in bed and I could have taken a taxi the moment I landed and have checked in to the hostel by now. But alas, there was nothing I could do and I proceeded to hail a cab.
150 pesos later, I found myself checking into the elefante rosa hostel in Boedo. I'll write another blog to give you more details on the hostel itself but for now, I'll skip out on those details and just talk about what happened between me and my friend. Once I was checked in, I got connected to the internet and several friends of mine in Argentina were online. They gave me a heartfelt welcome and were so eager to connect with me that I had barely time to get on with my day and get some errands out of the way so I could actually make a real connection by paying a visit to someone......and that someone was going to be Diana.
She and I connected through windows live messenger and we talked about the mixup at the airport. She kept saying that she thought I was going to notify her of my landing. I had already told her in the previous weeks that my plane lands at 9:25. And I couldn't figure out why she couldn't just catch a cab and be there waiting at the airport already. I still had no clue where we had gone wrong in our plans.
It was only later that nite when we had our heartfelt reunion that I figured out what exactly happened. And my detective work involved one very simple question "Diana....have you ever used an airline before?" She answered "no". It was then that I learned that she didn't know that when I am on an aircraft there is no way I can communicate whatsoever. In her mind I was supposed to contact her a few hours before I got into the airport to let her know I'm coming and that would have given her ample time to take the bus to the airport (which would never have worked because there is no way that you can fetch someone using the bus who has 4 massive suitcases)
The mixup that happened this morning was initially very frustrating but now she and I laugh about it and it opened my eyes to another persons world and realized that an experience that we think would be the norm in one culture may be totally foreign to another person. But it has been a total blast hanging with "Princess Di" and we are already planning more great adventures in this grand city together so stay tuned.....
Spare Rooms BA