Journey Within a Journey

Wow…what a trip, and it’s only been a few days. I’ve quickly realized that the most difficult part of keeping this blog is going to be choosing which adventures, revelations, worries, problems, and solutions to include. To capture them all I would have to keep a constant feed; I guess that is Twitter is for, but those of you who know me at all will know how I feel about the overly-stimulated world of 140 character updates.

Since Twitter is very much out the question, I think the next best thing will be to simply select some of my favorite (or least favorite) experiences from the trip and describe them as best I can. I will absolutely not be able to do them justice, but rest assured that I will try.

For starters, I ask you to imagine a bustling airport in Newark, NJ. Thousands of people, hundreds of flights, and dozens of nationalities. Insert a 20-year old boy from the great state of Maine. He has all the travel experience of a 10-year old, with trips to Florida, Utah, and Canada being the extent of his adventures. He has lived in the same house on Pine Hill Rd. for his entire life, and recently chose to extend his academic career at St. Michael’s College in Burlington, VT. Consequently, everything he knows come from the small bubble of Northern New England. Despite this inexperience, he navigates the shifting crowd with a set determination, weighed down with bags, but buoyed with the excitement that beginnings always bring.

That traveler is, of course, yours truly. I like to think I was doing pretty well too, until a simple announcement stopped me in my tracks:

“Attention all passengers, flight _ _ _ to Buenos Aires has been cancelled. Please see the nearest customer service desk for more information.”

Only two sentences, but they set a pretty heavy weight on my already baggage-laden shoulders. I think I must have been slightly in shock, because instead of freaking out or breaking down, I calmly proceeded to my nearest customer service desk to await instructions. While in the back of a 100-person line, I searched for what could serve as the comfiest spot to bed down for the night. It was in this same line that I met Allen, a 31-year old grad student who could talk more quickly than I could think. After 10 minutes, Allen and I were led to different line, where we received vouchers for meals and a hotel room, as well as a boarding pass for 12:30pm the next day. With nothing else to do, I packed into a shuttle outside the airport and was whisked to the Ramada Hotel. In the hotel restaurant I reunited with Allen, his newfound friend Samuel, and two fellow API students, Matt and Sarah. We shared dinner and agreed to meet the next morning for a bus to the airport and our revised flight.

Luckily, the remainder of the journey down South went rather smoothly. Matt, Sarah, and I stuck together through breakfast, boarding, landing, customs, and security to find ourselves breathing crisp Argentine air and loading into a taxi destined for Hotel de las Americas at 1:00am. I sat up front, and was treated to my first real chance to speak Spanish with an Argentine. Lucky for me, the driver spoke slowly, and I was able to chat with him about Argentina’s politicians, economy, and people. All in all, I’d say my tired brain did pretty well. At least it got us safely to the hotel, where Matt and I checked into a shared room and found a place in a warm bed by 4:00.

To be cliché: The journey was over, but the trip is just beginning.

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