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To Patagonia: “The Far End Of The World” Just Got A Lot Closer Thanks To LATAM Airlines

To Patagonia: “The Far End Of The World” Just Got A Lot Closer Thanks To LATAM Airlines


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In the seminal travel memoir, In Patagonia, Bruce Chatwin christened that stretch of our planet known for its sprawling fields, majestic peaks and frigid fjords that is Patagonia, “the far end of the world.” Eurocentric though the pronouncement may be, one can imagine then that Patagonia is not the easiest place for most of us to get to. There’s good news: the pilgrimage to one of the most ineffably breathtaking places on earth just got that much easier to make. On December 6, 2016, South America’s largest airline, LATAM, launched a seasonal direct flight that departs Chile’s capital Santiago to Puerto Natales, the small town at the mouth of Chilean Patagonia.

How did one get to Patagonia, say from New York, before the launch of the direct flight? LATAM operates a route from JFK to Santiago, one on which the culinary enthusiast can be assured of a delicious voyage in the airline’s premium business class cabin. (LATAM famously celebrates the richness of the Latin American region through the careful selection and preparation of local ingredients paired with wines from the southern cone curated by their master sommelier). Then, from Santiago the journey typically involved a three-hour flight to Punta Arenas followed by a three or so more hours driving up the poetically (and quite literally) named Ruta Del Fin Del Mundo (Road to The End of The World) to Puerto Natales. With LATAM offering four weekly direct flights (operated by Airbus A320) from Santiago to Puerto Natales during the peak summer months of January and February, at least 4 hours of trip time have been shaved off. All of this is to say, there truly is no excuse not to be awed by Patagonia while the skies are likely to to be storybook blue and the air is still crisp but a tad less hawkish.


Why must you experience Patagonia? Of course because it is home to Torres Del Paine National Park, the fifth most beautiful place on earth according to National Geographic, but the real question is how must you see Patagonia? I can think of no more singular way to bask in the splendor of the region than with, well, The Singular Hotel, Patagonia. What is is singular about Patagonia is the sense of a frozen time, almost primordial, that pervades the area. The Singular Hotel preserves this feeling in its century old structure, a partially renovated and completely rustic former cold storage plant set on the banks of the Fjord of Last Hope.

The hotel offers packages that include excursions and expeditions throughout the highlights of Chilean Patagonia: The Cueva del Milodón monument (Milodon Caves), where in 1985 the skin (and other parts) of the giant ground sloth which inspired Chatwin’s sojourn to the Magellan region were first found; horse-back riding against the backdrop of the Patagonian Andes and of course, a full guided immersion into Torres del Paine National Park. Oh, the park is impressive enough, but hiking its terroir with the hotel’s sartorially-daring guide, Chinchien, in his Basque hat, totting his ever-present cup of yerba mate, is the sort of detail that makes a trip like this indelible in one’s heart.

Torres del Paine’s vast terrain ranges from the sublime Paine Massif and Las Torres mountains to the black pebble shores of Lago Grey, a rolling lake in which two artic blue mounds of glacial ice insouciantly sit. How incredible it is to see this rushing body of water beating urgently against the stony shore, juxtaposed with the two masses of frozen water which will not be moved. And, speaking of glaciers, the hotel also organizes a boat navigation tour of the fjords to the Serrano and Balmaceda glaciers, complete with warming glasses of whiskey chilled by a shard of glacier ice for the ride: another activity not to be missed!


Yet, a well-planned trip to Patagonia should involve as much inactivity as it does activity: here again is where the Singular stands apart with its offerings. In each of its rooms, the beds face an endless view of the fjords afforded by a ceiling-to-floor window that breaks the fourth wall between the indoors and untamed nature. Without doubt, my favorite thing to “do” at The Singular Patagonia was to do nothing: to lie in bed and watch that magical interregnum between night and light as the day dawned. The hotel also boasts a petite spa which houses an inside-outside pool overlooking the dock and fjords. From the inside pool one can swim beneath the glass partition to the outside and listen to the wild geese call as they scuttle about in close proximity. Yes, the experience is every bit as stereotypically idyllic as it sounds.

And then there’s the food! In the hotel’s restaurant, from the talented hands of award-winning chef Laurent Pasqualetto, one can taste Patagonia’s treasures. Chile is the second largest salmon producing country in the world and the flavor and suppleness of the tranches of cured salmon served at The Singular come only second to those which I tasted in flight on LATAM. The restaurant’s menu is expansive with dishes ranging from bounty of the land like Patagonian hare, lamb, and guanaco—an indigenous mammal similar to the llama whose meat is thick and gamey— to fruits of the sea such South-American King crab and charred octopus. Wash all of this adventurous eating down with a glass of Carménère, the full-bodied Chilean red wine that flows copiously throughout the country, or a calafate or rhubarb sour— cocktails made from two typical fruits from the region—and your gourmandise vacation will go down as one of the best you’ve ever embarked upon.


Are you are dreaming of an escape from this hemisphere’s winter that carries a bit more gravitas than beach bumming? Somewhere at the far end of the world, there is flock of flamingos peacocking by some sliver of glimmering water, patiently awaiting your eyes to confirm that our planet truly is spectacular. The journey to Chilean Patagonia is worth each and every mile. LATAM airlines just made it easier for you to live this fantasy.


Moais and Lots of other Awesome Stuff on Holiday

Have you ever seen the movie "The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel"? One of the main characters has a saying that he repeats often throughout the movie that goes something like Everything will turn out all right in the end, and if it is not all right, then it is not the end. I love that saying and have needed it on occasion for different things in my life. The latest being a rather semi-harrowing experience at the end of our holiday in South America. Yes, starting at the end just because it is the freshest in my mind at the moment and I have labeled those photos first as for some reason, I always work backwards on my photos.

My husband and I have been having a lovely holiday in Argentina and Chile and have ended up in Easter Island - one of the places we have planned to visit for a long time and this year seemed to be the time. This was a combination anniversary trip (32 years thank you - together for 38) and my birthday (and we won't mention which one). Trip has gone swimmingly and we've seen some fantastic things, had some good times and loved Easter Island, in spite of it taking about 6 hours to get to from Santiago, Chile. It is our last day, my birthday, and we are flying back to Santiago and then back to London the next day. Holiday over, time up, back to work.

Happily, we are business class. Latam is the airlines serving Easter Island and for once, they have a separate business class check in line and boarding line. this has not always been the case for them. Time to go as there is one flight a day. Flight comes in from Santiago around 1 ish, crew cleans the airplane and turns it around to go back. Yesterday's crew comes back to fly it home to Santiago. We board, we get our pisco sours and nuts and are sitting on the plane relaxing and thinking about the wonderful things we have seen.

My husband is in the window seat. I'm in the aisle. The plane is full and they are minutes or even seconds away from closing the cabin door and removing the stairs. Two flight attendants are standing next to me and doing flight attendant things when there is a very loud clang/bang. My hubby thinks it comes from underneath us. I thought behind but what we both noticed immediately is that the two flight attendants were startled! Oh, that is not a good thing.

Within seconds, the captain is on the intercom system asking all cabin crew to report to the front of the aircraft. that also does NOT sound like a good thing. we're looking out of the window and can't really see anything but as we are watching, the announcement comes over the intercom, in Spanish which we don't speak but can understand bits and pieces and some words, to "disembarque" which we have certainly translated correctly to "GET OFF THE PLANE NOW". Oh, bad.

Honestly, I know you are supposed to just move but as there are people in front of us, I took the 15 seconds to open the overhead bin and grab my purse. without it, I might end up being "unidentifiable" as I have no ID on me. And I noticed that every woman I saw getting off that plane also had her purse. And I didn't hold anyone up behind me so I didn't feel bad about it. Probably if there had been smoke or flames, I wouldn't have taken the time.

So we are not running but staff is definitely telling us to get into the terminal and away from the plane. In this terminal there is a section that is open, a little garden with sculptures, and you can stand in this garden and see the tarmac. We headed for this section and watched the rest of the flight deplane. Seemed to take a very long time to get the 300 or so people off the plane but never any panic, never any running. Last off are the crew.

Around the plane are 3 firetrucks. Firemen are also standing around the plane and on a lift towards the right rear of the plane and getting into the hold. These firemen are in full "space suit" mode - their silver fire retardant suits with helmets. So they look quite space walky from a distance. One has a hose unrolled and is aiming it at the plane but he never turns it on. The plane looks quite normal albeit abandoned as there are only these few firemen close to it and there is no smoke, no smell, no fire, no anything. just a poor forlorn plane sitting there.

A luggage container comes down on the lift from the hold and is towed to the far end of the tarmac and left there. hmmmm. we were kind of waiting to see if they were going to blow it up or something and no matter what the problem was, we knew our luggage would be in that container but it just sat there and for as far as we know, it could still be sitting there.

With nothing happening, we finally just go sit down. There is an announcement and a general groan. We wait to see if it comes in English but it doesn't so we hunt down someone who will tell us what is happening. it was a "wait until 5 p.m. and we will make another announcement". yep, groan. Plane was supposed to leave at 3:30. hmmm. we start thinking that maybe we aren't getting home tomorrow.

Easter Island is isolated, very isolated. Still not sure exactly how it became a part of Chile and one of our guides actually said it was because Chile changed the wording on the agreement between them and someone when it was being developed as a defensive area against Peru. lots of politics back then, I'm sure, but Chile ended up with it and it takes a very long time to get there as it is supposedly the most remote island in the world. It is also unique, not just for it's history but it doesn't have a reef so the ocean just pounds on its volcanic shores. Container ships cannot dock but must unload and containers taken in on barges. And it has one of the longest runways because it was built as a backup emergency landing runway for the space shuttle. just overall, the whole place is unique in so many ways but we were ready to leave so big groan until 5 p.m. now.

At 5 p.m., another Spanish announcement which basically, once we got someone to translate, tells us that we must now wait until 6 p.m. for the next announcement. Luckily, they made a decision around 5:30 that this plane was not budging and a new plane from Santiago would be sent for us BUT of course, it would not get here until tomorrow so Latam would put us all up into hotels for the night, feed us, and get us back to the airport the next morning. My hubby and I had been sitting there reading and had not noticed that people had lined up to get back onto the plane to get their cabin baggage but with this announcement, we split forces and I went out to get our luggage which all luggage for some 300 people was already being taken off the carousel and lined up for their owners and my hubby went and got into the line to get on the plane for our cabin baggage as our meds are in there and cameras, etc. etc. They were letting just about 5-8 people on the plane at one time so it was going to take him awhile.

Our checked baggage was already on the floor there so grabbed a luggage cart and got into a line that was to get our hotel. supposedly this line was for business class passengers and another line that was VERY long was for the economy passengers. Don't know if you have traveled in South America but I've noticed this frequently on this trip that any person can just walk up to the front of the line and ask the desk attendant, or flight attendant, or shop owner, or waitress or whomever, a question and that person will stop helping you (even when you have been waiting in the queue) and answer the question, no matter how long it takes, and then go back to helping you. This drives me crazy since I have waiting in the queue for this and other people have as well. But it seems to be an accepted practice in Spanish speaking countries. and a few others as well. And since I am generally not speaking the local language, can't say much about it or even know if the question was so important that this person could not possible wait their turn. I've tried doing it and it never works for me.

The lines are moving slow as everyone in front of me seems to have a problem plus there is the odd person coming to the front of the line to ask a question but I am finally the next in line and still my hubby has not shown up with our cabin luggage. At least I am in the business class side as the economy line is still ridiculously long. She writes on my boarding pass a name times 2 and says someone will be outside the luggage area to help me. But no hubby. I abandon my luggage cart as I figure in this chaos it will probably be ok for a few minutes. I figure I'll get stopped walking back into the terminal but nobody says anything. My husband has just gotten to the front of the line to go get on the plane to get our bags. wow, took him about 30 minutes to get there and took another 15 to walk out to the plane, get our bags, and get back to the luggage area.

We walk out and someone approaches us and looks at my boarding pass with a name on it and he can't read it so he walks off with it. Yikes, what if he's absconded with it! I find him and he's just verifying the hotel name. apparently Latam has put all the business class and the crew into Hanga Roa Eco lodge which is actually much nicer than the hotel we had stayed in for our holiday. Luggage is loaded into a truck and we are hauled over there. Thank goodness this is not high season. Had it been high season, I think there is a good chance we would have been sleeping in the airport but since it wasn't, the hotels had rooms, apparently already shut down for the season so it took them awhile to open up the rooms and get them ready again but at least we had a nice room to sleep. So we wait for maybe another hour and finally get a room and then are invited to dinner at the hotel as well.

Latam really did a class act for us and the other business class passengers at least. We did not have full range of the dinner menu as they chose a standard meal to feed all of us but we had wine as well and they picked up that tab too. There was a lot of confusion as to when we would be picked up the next morning but we still had a place to sleep and a meal and a shower and we weren't on a broken plane. In my opinion, always fix the plane. never put me on a plane that has problems. I'm willing to wait however long it takes.

So an extra night in Easter Island, albeit we didn't see anything more except the hotel lobby and dining room and our overnight room, became intimately acquainted with the airport restrooms, and oddly enough, a protest outside the dining room of the hotel but just a posters protest, no people marching and shouting.


Moais and Lots of other Awesome Stuff on Holiday

Have you ever seen the movie "The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel"? One of the main characters has a saying that he repeats often throughout the movie that goes something like Everything will turn out all right in the end, and if it is not all right, then it is not the end. I love that saying and have needed it on occasion for different things in my life. The latest being a rather semi-harrowing experience at the end of our holiday in South America. Yes, starting at the end just because it is the freshest in my mind at the moment and I have labeled those photos first as for some reason, I always work backwards on my photos.

My husband and I have been having a lovely holiday in Argentina and Chile and have ended up in Easter Island - one of the places we have planned to visit for a long time and this year seemed to be the time. This was a combination anniversary trip (32 years thank you - together for 38) and my birthday (and we won't mention which one). Trip has gone swimmingly and we've seen some fantastic things, had some good times and loved Easter Island, in spite of it taking about 6 hours to get to from Santiago, Chile. It is our last day, my birthday, and we are flying back to Santiago and then back to London the next day. Holiday over, time up, back to work.

Happily, we are business class. Latam is the airlines serving Easter Island and for once, they have a separate business class check in line and boarding line. this has not always been the case for them. Time to go as there is one flight a day. Flight comes in from Santiago around 1 ish, crew cleans the airplane and turns it around to go back. Yesterday's crew comes back to fly it home to Santiago. We board, we get our pisco sours and nuts and are sitting on the plane relaxing and thinking about the wonderful things we have seen.

My husband is in the window seat. I'm in the aisle. The plane is full and they are minutes or even seconds away from closing the cabin door and removing the stairs. Two flight attendants are standing next to me and doing flight attendant things when there is a very loud clang/bang. My hubby thinks it comes from underneath us. I thought behind but what we both noticed immediately is that the two flight attendants were startled! Oh, that is not a good thing.

Within seconds, the captain is on the intercom system asking all cabin crew to report to the front of the aircraft. that also does NOT sound like a good thing. we're looking out of the window and can't really see anything but as we are watching, the announcement comes over the intercom, in Spanish which we don't speak but can understand bits and pieces and some words, to "disembarque" which we have certainly translated correctly to "GET OFF THE PLANE NOW". Oh, bad.

Honestly, I know you are supposed to just move but as there are people in front of us, I took the 15 seconds to open the overhead bin and grab my purse. without it, I might end up being "unidentifiable" as I have no ID on me. And I noticed that every woman I saw getting off that plane also had her purse. And I didn't hold anyone up behind me so I didn't feel bad about it. Probably if there had been smoke or flames, I wouldn't have taken the time.

So we are not running but staff is definitely telling us to get into the terminal and away from the plane. In this terminal there is a section that is open, a little garden with sculptures, and you can stand in this garden and see the tarmac. We headed for this section and watched the rest of the flight deplane. Seemed to take a very long time to get the 300 or so people off the plane but never any panic, never any running. Last off are the crew.

Around the plane are 3 firetrucks. Firemen are also standing around the plane and on a lift towards the right rear of the plane and getting into the hold. These firemen are in full "space suit" mode - their silver fire retardant suits with helmets. So they look quite space walky from a distance. One has a hose unrolled and is aiming it at the plane but he never turns it on. The plane looks quite normal albeit abandoned as there are only these few firemen close to it and there is no smoke, no smell, no fire, no anything. just a poor forlorn plane sitting there.

A luggage container comes down on the lift from the hold and is towed to the far end of the tarmac and left there. hmmmm. we were kind of waiting to see if they were going to blow it up or something and no matter what the problem was, we knew our luggage would be in that container but it just sat there and for as far as we know, it could still be sitting there.

With nothing happening, we finally just go sit down. There is an announcement and a general groan. We wait to see if it comes in English but it doesn't so we hunt down someone who will tell us what is happening. it was a "wait until 5 p.m. and we will make another announcement". yep, groan. Plane was supposed to leave at 3:30. hmmm. we start thinking that maybe we aren't getting home tomorrow.

Easter Island is isolated, very isolated. Still not sure exactly how it became a part of Chile and one of our guides actually said it was because Chile changed the wording on the agreement between them and someone when it was being developed as a defensive area against Peru. lots of politics back then, I'm sure, but Chile ended up with it and it takes a very long time to get there as it is supposedly the most remote island in the world. It is also unique, not just for it's history but it doesn't have a reef so the ocean just pounds on its volcanic shores. Container ships cannot dock but must unload and containers taken in on barges. And it has one of the longest runways because it was built as a backup emergency landing runway for the space shuttle. just overall, the whole place is unique in so many ways but we were ready to leave so big groan until 5 p.m. now.

At 5 p.m., another Spanish announcement which basically, once we got someone to translate, tells us that we must now wait until 6 p.m. for the next announcement. Luckily, they made a decision around 5:30 that this plane was not budging and a new plane from Santiago would be sent for us BUT of course, it would not get here until tomorrow so Latam would put us all up into hotels for the night, feed us, and get us back to the airport the next morning. My hubby and I had been sitting there reading and had not noticed that people had lined up to get back onto the plane to get their cabin baggage but with this announcement, we split forces and I went out to get our luggage which all luggage for some 300 people was already being taken off the carousel and lined up for their owners and my hubby went and got into the line to get on the plane for our cabin baggage as our meds are in there and cameras, etc. etc. They were letting just about 5-8 people on the plane at one time so it was going to take him awhile.

Our checked baggage was already on the floor there so grabbed a luggage cart and got into a line that was to get our hotel. supposedly this line was for business class passengers and another line that was VERY long was for the economy passengers. Don't know if you have traveled in South America but I've noticed this frequently on this trip that any person can just walk up to the front of the line and ask the desk attendant, or flight attendant, or shop owner, or waitress or whomever, a question and that person will stop helping you (even when you have been waiting in the queue) and answer the question, no matter how long it takes, and then go back to helping you. This drives me crazy since I have waiting in the queue for this and other people have as well. But it seems to be an accepted practice in Spanish speaking countries. and a few others as well. And since I am generally not speaking the local language, can't say much about it or even know if the question was so important that this person could not possible wait their turn. I've tried doing it and it never works for me.

The lines are moving slow as everyone in front of me seems to have a problem plus there is the odd person coming to the front of the line to ask a question but I am finally the next in line and still my hubby has not shown up with our cabin luggage. At least I am in the business class side as the economy line is still ridiculously long. She writes on my boarding pass a name times 2 and says someone will be outside the luggage area to help me. But no hubby. I abandon my luggage cart as I figure in this chaos it will probably be ok for a few minutes. I figure I'll get stopped walking back into the terminal but nobody says anything. My husband has just gotten to the front of the line to go get on the plane to get our bags. wow, took him about 30 minutes to get there and took another 15 to walk out to the plane, get our bags, and get back to the luggage area.

We walk out and someone approaches us and looks at my boarding pass with a name on it and he can't read it so he walks off with it. Yikes, what if he's absconded with it! I find him and he's just verifying the hotel name. apparently Latam has put all the business class and the crew into Hanga Roa Eco lodge which is actually much nicer than the hotel we had stayed in for our holiday. Luggage is loaded into a truck and we are hauled over there. Thank goodness this is not high season. Had it been high season, I think there is a good chance we would have been sleeping in the airport but since it wasn't, the hotels had rooms, apparently already shut down for the season so it took them awhile to open up the rooms and get them ready again but at least we had a nice room to sleep. So we wait for maybe another hour and finally get a room and then are invited to dinner at the hotel as well.

Latam really did a class act for us and the other business class passengers at least. We did not have full range of the dinner menu as they chose a standard meal to feed all of us but we had wine as well and they picked up that tab too. There was a lot of confusion as to when we would be picked up the next morning but we still had a place to sleep and a meal and a shower and we weren't on a broken plane. In my opinion, always fix the plane. never put me on a plane that has problems. I'm willing to wait however long it takes.

So an extra night in Easter Island, albeit we didn't see anything more except the hotel lobby and dining room and our overnight room, became intimately acquainted with the airport restrooms, and oddly enough, a protest outside the dining room of the hotel but just a posters protest, no people marching and shouting.


Moais and Lots of other Awesome Stuff on Holiday

Have you ever seen the movie "The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel"? One of the main characters has a saying that he repeats often throughout the movie that goes something like Everything will turn out all right in the end, and if it is not all right, then it is not the end. I love that saying and have needed it on occasion for different things in my life. The latest being a rather semi-harrowing experience at the end of our holiday in South America. Yes, starting at the end just because it is the freshest in my mind at the moment and I have labeled those photos first as for some reason, I always work backwards on my photos.

My husband and I have been having a lovely holiday in Argentina and Chile and have ended up in Easter Island - one of the places we have planned to visit for a long time and this year seemed to be the time. This was a combination anniversary trip (32 years thank you - together for 38) and my birthday (and we won't mention which one). Trip has gone swimmingly and we've seen some fantastic things, had some good times and loved Easter Island, in spite of it taking about 6 hours to get to from Santiago, Chile. It is our last day, my birthday, and we are flying back to Santiago and then back to London the next day. Holiday over, time up, back to work.

Happily, we are business class. Latam is the airlines serving Easter Island and for once, they have a separate business class check in line and boarding line. this has not always been the case for them. Time to go as there is one flight a day. Flight comes in from Santiago around 1 ish, crew cleans the airplane and turns it around to go back. Yesterday's crew comes back to fly it home to Santiago. We board, we get our pisco sours and nuts and are sitting on the plane relaxing and thinking about the wonderful things we have seen.

My husband is in the window seat. I'm in the aisle. The plane is full and they are minutes or even seconds away from closing the cabin door and removing the stairs. Two flight attendants are standing next to me and doing flight attendant things when there is a very loud clang/bang. My hubby thinks it comes from underneath us. I thought behind but what we both noticed immediately is that the two flight attendants were startled! Oh, that is not a good thing.

Within seconds, the captain is on the intercom system asking all cabin crew to report to the front of the aircraft. that also does NOT sound like a good thing. we're looking out of the window and can't really see anything but as we are watching, the announcement comes over the intercom, in Spanish which we don't speak but can understand bits and pieces and some words, to "disembarque" which we have certainly translated correctly to "GET OFF THE PLANE NOW". Oh, bad.

Honestly, I know you are supposed to just move but as there are people in front of us, I took the 15 seconds to open the overhead bin and grab my purse. without it, I might end up being "unidentifiable" as I have no ID on me. And I noticed that every woman I saw getting off that plane also had her purse. And I didn't hold anyone up behind me so I didn't feel bad about it. Probably if there had been smoke or flames, I wouldn't have taken the time.

So we are not running but staff is definitely telling us to get into the terminal and away from the plane. In this terminal there is a section that is open, a little garden with sculptures, and you can stand in this garden and see the tarmac. We headed for this section and watched the rest of the flight deplane. Seemed to take a very long time to get the 300 or so people off the plane but never any panic, never any running. Last off are the crew.

Around the plane are 3 firetrucks. Firemen are also standing around the plane and on a lift towards the right rear of the plane and getting into the hold. These firemen are in full "space suit" mode - their silver fire retardant suits with helmets. So they look quite space walky from a distance. One has a hose unrolled and is aiming it at the plane but he never turns it on. The plane looks quite normal albeit abandoned as there are only these few firemen close to it and there is no smoke, no smell, no fire, no anything. just a poor forlorn plane sitting there.

A luggage container comes down on the lift from the hold and is towed to the far end of the tarmac and left there. hmmmm. we were kind of waiting to see if they were going to blow it up or something and no matter what the problem was, we knew our luggage would be in that container but it just sat there and for as far as we know, it could still be sitting there.

With nothing happening, we finally just go sit down. There is an announcement and a general groan. We wait to see if it comes in English but it doesn't so we hunt down someone who will tell us what is happening. it was a "wait until 5 p.m. and we will make another announcement". yep, groan. Plane was supposed to leave at 3:30. hmmm. we start thinking that maybe we aren't getting home tomorrow.

Easter Island is isolated, very isolated. Still not sure exactly how it became a part of Chile and one of our guides actually said it was because Chile changed the wording on the agreement between them and someone when it was being developed as a defensive area against Peru. lots of politics back then, I'm sure, but Chile ended up with it and it takes a very long time to get there as it is supposedly the most remote island in the world. It is also unique, not just for it's history but it doesn't have a reef so the ocean just pounds on its volcanic shores. Container ships cannot dock but must unload and containers taken in on barges. And it has one of the longest runways because it was built as a backup emergency landing runway for the space shuttle. just overall, the whole place is unique in so many ways but we were ready to leave so big groan until 5 p.m. now.

At 5 p.m., another Spanish announcement which basically, once we got someone to translate, tells us that we must now wait until 6 p.m. for the next announcement. Luckily, they made a decision around 5:30 that this plane was not budging and a new plane from Santiago would be sent for us BUT of course, it would not get here until tomorrow so Latam would put us all up into hotels for the night, feed us, and get us back to the airport the next morning. My hubby and I had been sitting there reading and had not noticed that people had lined up to get back onto the plane to get their cabin baggage but with this announcement, we split forces and I went out to get our luggage which all luggage for some 300 people was already being taken off the carousel and lined up for their owners and my hubby went and got into the line to get on the plane for our cabin baggage as our meds are in there and cameras, etc. etc. They were letting just about 5-8 people on the plane at one time so it was going to take him awhile.

Our checked baggage was already on the floor there so grabbed a luggage cart and got into a line that was to get our hotel. supposedly this line was for business class passengers and another line that was VERY long was for the economy passengers. Don't know if you have traveled in South America but I've noticed this frequently on this trip that any person can just walk up to the front of the line and ask the desk attendant, or flight attendant, or shop owner, or waitress or whomever, a question and that person will stop helping you (even when you have been waiting in the queue) and answer the question, no matter how long it takes, and then go back to helping you. This drives me crazy since I have waiting in the queue for this and other people have as well. But it seems to be an accepted practice in Spanish speaking countries. and a few others as well. And since I am generally not speaking the local language, can't say much about it or even know if the question was so important that this person could not possible wait their turn. I've tried doing it and it never works for me.

The lines are moving slow as everyone in front of me seems to have a problem plus there is the odd person coming to the front of the line to ask a question but I am finally the next in line and still my hubby has not shown up with our cabin luggage. At least I am in the business class side as the economy line is still ridiculously long. She writes on my boarding pass a name times 2 and says someone will be outside the luggage area to help me. But no hubby. I abandon my luggage cart as I figure in this chaos it will probably be ok for a few minutes. I figure I'll get stopped walking back into the terminal but nobody says anything. My husband has just gotten to the front of the line to go get on the plane to get our bags. wow, took him about 30 minutes to get there and took another 15 to walk out to the plane, get our bags, and get back to the luggage area.

We walk out and someone approaches us and looks at my boarding pass with a name on it and he can't read it so he walks off with it. Yikes, what if he's absconded with it! I find him and he's just verifying the hotel name. apparently Latam has put all the business class and the crew into Hanga Roa Eco lodge which is actually much nicer than the hotel we had stayed in for our holiday. Luggage is loaded into a truck and we are hauled over there. Thank goodness this is not high season. Had it been high season, I think there is a good chance we would have been sleeping in the airport but since it wasn't, the hotels had rooms, apparently already shut down for the season so it took them awhile to open up the rooms and get them ready again but at least we had a nice room to sleep. So we wait for maybe another hour and finally get a room and then are invited to dinner at the hotel as well.

Latam really did a class act for us and the other business class passengers at least. We did not have full range of the dinner menu as they chose a standard meal to feed all of us but we had wine as well and they picked up that tab too. There was a lot of confusion as to when we would be picked up the next morning but we still had a place to sleep and a meal and a shower and we weren't on a broken plane. In my opinion, always fix the plane. never put me on a plane that has problems. I'm willing to wait however long it takes.

So an extra night in Easter Island, albeit we didn't see anything more except the hotel lobby and dining room and our overnight room, became intimately acquainted with the airport restrooms, and oddly enough, a protest outside the dining room of the hotel but just a posters protest, no people marching and shouting.


Moais and Lots of other Awesome Stuff on Holiday

Have you ever seen the movie "The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel"? One of the main characters has a saying that he repeats often throughout the movie that goes something like Everything will turn out all right in the end, and if it is not all right, then it is not the end. I love that saying and have needed it on occasion for different things in my life. The latest being a rather semi-harrowing experience at the end of our holiday in South America. Yes, starting at the end just because it is the freshest in my mind at the moment and I have labeled those photos first as for some reason, I always work backwards on my photos.

My husband and I have been having a lovely holiday in Argentina and Chile and have ended up in Easter Island - one of the places we have planned to visit for a long time and this year seemed to be the time. This was a combination anniversary trip (32 years thank you - together for 38) and my birthday (and we won't mention which one). Trip has gone swimmingly and we've seen some fantastic things, had some good times and loved Easter Island, in spite of it taking about 6 hours to get to from Santiago, Chile. It is our last day, my birthday, and we are flying back to Santiago and then back to London the next day. Holiday over, time up, back to work.

Happily, we are business class. Latam is the airlines serving Easter Island and for once, they have a separate business class check in line and boarding line. this has not always been the case for them. Time to go as there is one flight a day. Flight comes in from Santiago around 1 ish, crew cleans the airplane and turns it around to go back. Yesterday's crew comes back to fly it home to Santiago. We board, we get our pisco sours and nuts and are sitting on the plane relaxing and thinking about the wonderful things we have seen.

My husband is in the window seat. I'm in the aisle. The plane is full and they are minutes or even seconds away from closing the cabin door and removing the stairs. Two flight attendants are standing next to me and doing flight attendant things when there is a very loud clang/bang. My hubby thinks it comes from underneath us. I thought behind but what we both noticed immediately is that the two flight attendants were startled! Oh, that is not a good thing.

Within seconds, the captain is on the intercom system asking all cabin crew to report to the front of the aircraft. that also does NOT sound like a good thing. we're looking out of the window and can't really see anything but as we are watching, the announcement comes over the intercom, in Spanish which we don't speak but can understand bits and pieces and some words, to "disembarque" which we have certainly translated correctly to "GET OFF THE PLANE NOW". Oh, bad.

Honestly, I know you are supposed to just move but as there are people in front of us, I took the 15 seconds to open the overhead bin and grab my purse. without it, I might end up being "unidentifiable" as I have no ID on me. And I noticed that every woman I saw getting off that plane also had her purse. And I didn't hold anyone up behind me so I didn't feel bad about it. Probably if there had been smoke or flames, I wouldn't have taken the time.

So we are not running but staff is definitely telling us to get into the terminal and away from the plane. In this terminal there is a section that is open, a little garden with sculptures, and you can stand in this garden and see the tarmac. We headed for this section and watched the rest of the flight deplane. Seemed to take a very long time to get the 300 or so people off the plane but never any panic, never any running. Last off are the crew.

Around the plane are 3 firetrucks. Firemen are also standing around the plane and on a lift towards the right rear of the plane and getting into the hold. These firemen are in full "space suit" mode - their silver fire retardant suits with helmets. So they look quite space walky from a distance. One has a hose unrolled and is aiming it at the plane but he never turns it on. The plane looks quite normal albeit abandoned as there are only these few firemen close to it and there is no smoke, no smell, no fire, no anything. just a poor forlorn plane sitting there.

A luggage container comes down on the lift from the hold and is towed to the far end of the tarmac and left there. hmmmm. we were kind of waiting to see if they were going to blow it up or something and no matter what the problem was, we knew our luggage would be in that container but it just sat there and for as far as we know, it could still be sitting there.

With nothing happening, we finally just go sit down. There is an announcement and a general groan. We wait to see if it comes in English but it doesn't so we hunt down someone who will tell us what is happening. it was a "wait until 5 p.m. and we will make another announcement". yep, groan. Plane was supposed to leave at 3:30. hmmm. we start thinking that maybe we aren't getting home tomorrow.

Easter Island is isolated, very isolated. Still not sure exactly how it became a part of Chile and one of our guides actually said it was because Chile changed the wording on the agreement between them and someone when it was being developed as a defensive area against Peru. lots of politics back then, I'm sure, but Chile ended up with it and it takes a very long time to get there as it is supposedly the most remote island in the world. It is also unique, not just for it's history but it doesn't have a reef so the ocean just pounds on its volcanic shores. Container ships cannot dock but must unload and containers taken in on barges. And it has one of the longest runways because it was built as a backup emergency landing runway for the space shuttle. just overall, the whole place is unique in so many ways but we were ready to leave so big groan until 5 p.m. now.

At 5 p.m., another Spanish announcement which basically, once we got someone to translate, tells us that we must now wait until 6 p.m. for the next announcement. Luckily, they made a decision around 5:30 that this plane was not budging and a new plane from Santiago would be sent for us BUT of course, it would not get here until tomorrow so Latam would put us all up into hotels for the night, feed us, and get us back to the airport the next morning. My hubby and I had been sitting there reading and had not noticed that people had lined up to get back onto the plane to get their cabin baggage but with this announcement, we split forces and I went out to get our luggage which all luggage for some 300 people was already being taken off the carousel and lined up for their owners and my hubby went and got into the line to get on the plane for our cabin baggage as our meds are in there and cameras, etc. etc. They were letting just about 5-8 people on the plane at one time so it was going to take him awhile.

Our checked baggage was already on the floor there so grabbed a luggage cart and got into a line that was to get our hotel. supposedly this line was for business class passengers and another line that was VERY long was for the economy passengers. Don't know if you have traveled in South America but I've noticed this frequently on this trip that any person can just walk up to the front of the line and ask the desk attendant, or flight attendant, or shop owner, or waitress or whomever, a question and that person will stop helping you (even when you have been waiting in the queue) and answer the question, no matter how long it takes, and then go back to helping you. This drives me crazy since I have waiting in the queue for this and other people have as well. But it seems to be an accepted practice in Spanish speaking countries. and a few others as well. And since I am generally not speaking the local language, can't say much about it or even know if the question was so important that this person could not possible wait their turn. I've tried doing it and it never works for me.

The lines are moving slow as everyone in front of me seems to have a problem plus there is the odd person coming to the front of the line to ask a question but I am finally the next in line and still my hubby has not shown up with our cabin luggage. At least I am in the business class side as the economy line is still ridiculously long. She writes on my boarding pass a name times 2 and says someone will be outside the luggage area to help me. But no hubby. I abandon my luggage cart as I figure in this chaos it will probably be ok for a few minutes. I figure I'll get stopped walking back into the terminal but nobody says anything. My husband has just gotten to the front of the line to go get on the plane to get our bags. wow, took him about 30 minutes to get there and took another 15 to walk out to the plane, get our bags, and get back to the luggage area.

We walk out and someone approaches us and looks at my boarding pass with a name on it and he can't read it so he walks off with it. Yikes, what if he's absconded with it! I find him and he's just verifying the hotel name. apparently Latam has put all the business class and the crew into Hanga Roa Eco lodge which is actually much nicer than the hotel we had stayed in for our holiday. Luggage is loaded into a truck and we are hauled over there. Thank goodness this is not high season. Had it been high season, I think there is a good chance we would have been sleeping in the airport but since it wasn't, the hotels had rooms, apparently already shut down for the season so it took them awhile to open up the rooms and get them ready again but at least we had a nice room to sleep. So we wait for maybe another hour and finally get a room and then are invited to dinner at the hotel as well.

Latam really did a class act for us and the other business class passengers at least. We did not have full range of the dinner menu as they chose a standard meal to feed all of us but we had wine as well and they picked up that tab too. There was a lot of confusion as to when we would be picked up the next morning but we still had a place to sleep and a meal and a shower and we weren't on a broken plane. In my opinion, always fix the plane. never put me on a plane that has problems. I'm willing to wait however long it takes.

So an extra night in Easter Island, albeit we didn't see anything more except the hotel lobby and dining room and our overnight room, became intimately acquainted with the airport restrooms, and oddly enough, a protest outside the dining room of the hotel but just a posters protest, no people marching and shouting.


Moais and Lots of other Awesome Stuff on Holiday

Have you ever seen the movie "The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel"? One of the main characters has a saying that he repeats often throughout the movie that goes something like Everything will turn out all right in the end, and if it is not all right, then it is not the end. I love that saying and have needed it on occasion for different things in my life. The latest being a rather semi-harrowing experience at the end of our holiday in South America. Yes, starting at the end just because it is the freshest in my mind at the moment and I have labeled those photos first as for some reason, I always work backwards on my photos.

My husband and I have been having a lovely holiday in Argentina and Chile and have ended up in Easter Island - one of the places we have planned to visit for a long time and this year seemed to be the time. This was a combination anniversary trip (32 years thank you - together for 38) and my birthday (and we won't mention which one). Trip has gone swimmingly and we've seen some fantastic things, had some good times and loved Easter Island, in spite of it taking about 6 hours to get to from Santiago, Chile. It is our last day, my birthday, and we are flying back to Santiago and then back to London the next day. Holiday over, time up, back to work.

Happily, we are business class. Latam is the airlines serving Easter Island and for once, they have a separate business class check in line and boarding line. this has not always been the case for them. Time to go as there is one flight a day. Flight comes in from Santiago around 1 ish, crew cleans the airplane and turns it around to go back. Yesterday's crew comes back to fly it home to Santiago. We board, we get our pisco sours and nuts and are sitting on the plane relaxing and thinking about the wonderful things we have seen.

My husband is in the window seat. I'm in the aisle. The plane is full and they are minutes or even seconds away from closing the cabin door and removing the stairs. Two flight attendants are standing next to me and doing flight attendant things when there is a very loud clang/bang. My hubby thinks it comes from underneath us. I thought behind but what we both noticed immediately is that the two flight attendants were startled! Oh, that is not a good thing.

Within seconds, the captain is on the intercom system asking all cabin crew to report to the front of the aircraft. that also does NOT sound like a good thing. we're looking out of the window and can't really see anything but as we are watching, the announcement comes over the intercom, in Spanish which we don't speak but can understand bits and pieces and some words, to "disembarque" which we have certainly translated correctly to "GET OFF THE PLANE NOW". Oh, bad.

Honestly, I know you are supposed to just move but as there are people in front of us, I took the 15 seconds to open the overhead bin and grab my purse. without it, I might end up being "unidentifiable" as I have no ID on me. And I noticed that every woman I saw getting off that plane also had her purse. And I didn't hold anyone up behind me so I didn't feel bad about it. Probably if there had been smoke or flames, I wouldn't have taken the time.

So we are not running but staff is definitely telling us to get into the terminal and away from the plane. In this terminal there is a section that is open, a little garden with sculptures, and you can stand in this garden and see the tarmac. We headed for this section and watched the rest of the flight deplane. Seemed to take a very long time to get the 300 or so people off the plane but never any panic, never any running. Last off are the crew.

Around the plane are 3 firetrucks. Firemen are also standing around the plane and on a lift towards the right rear of the plane and getting into the hold. These firemen are in full "space suit" mode - their silver fire retardant suits with helmets. So they look quite space walky from a distance. One has a hose unrolled and is aiming it at the plane but he never turns it on. The plane looks quite normal albeit abandoned as there are only these few firemen close to it and there is no smoke, no smell, no fire, no anything. just a poor forlorn plane sitting there.

A luggage container comes down on the lift from the hold and is towed to the far end of the tarmac and left there. hmmmm. we were kind of waiting to see if they were going to blow it up or something and no matter what the problem was, we knew our luggage would be in that container but it just sat there and for as far as we know, it could still be sitting there.

With nothing happening, we finally just go sit down. There is an announcement and a general groan. We wait to see if it comes in English but it doesn't so we hunt down someone who will tell us what is happening. it was a "wait until 5 p.m. and we will make another announcement". yep, groan. Plane was supposed to leave at 3:30. hmmm. we start thinking that maybe we aren't getting home tomorrow.

Easter Island is isolated, very isolated. Still not sure exactly how it became a part of Chile and one of our guides actually said it was because Chile changed the wording on the agreement between them and someone when it was being developed as a defensive area against Peru. lots of politics back then, I'm sure, but Chile ended up with it and it takes a very long time to get there as it is supposedly the most remote island in the world. It is also unique, not just for it's history but it doesn't have a reef so the ocean just pounds on its volcanic shores. Container ships cannot dock but must unload and containers taken in on barges. And it has one of the longest runways because it was built as a backup emergency landing runway for the space shuttle. just overall, the whole place is unique in so many ways but we were ready to leave so big groan until 5 p.m. now.

At 5 p.m., another Spanish announcement which basically, once we got someone to translate, tells us that we must now wait until 6 p.m. for the next announcement. Luckily, they made a decision around 5:30 that this plane was not budging and a new plane from Santiago would be sent for us BUT of course, it would not get here until tomorrow so Latam would put us all up into hotels for the night, feed us, and get us back to the airport the next morning. My hubby and I had been sitting there reading and had not noticed that people had lined up to get back onto the plane to get their cabin baggage but with this announcement, we split forces and I went out to get our luggage which all luggage for some 300 people was already being taken off the carousel and lined up for their owners and my hubby went and got into the line to get on the plane for our cabin baggage as our meds are in there and cameras, etc. etc. They were letting just about 5-8 people on the plane at one time so it was going to take him awhile.

Our checked baggage was already on the floor there so grabbed a luggage cart and got into a line that was to get our hotel. supposedly this line was for business class passengers and another line that was VERY long was for the economy passengers. Don't know if you have traveled in South America but I've noticed this frequently on this trip that any person can just walk up to the front of the line and ask the desk attendant, or flight attendant, or shop owner, or waitress or whomever, a question and that person will stop helping you (even when you have been waiting in the queue) and answer the question, no matter how long it takes, and then go back to helping you. This drives me crazy since I have waiting in the queue for this and other people have as well. But it seems to be an accepted practice in Spanish speaking countries. and a few others as well. And since I am generally not speaking the local language, can't say much about it or even know if the question was so important that this person could not possible wait their turn. I've tried doing it and it never works for me.

The lines are moving slow as everyone in front of me seems to have a problem plus there is the odd person coming to the front of the line to ask a question but I am finally the next in line and still my hubby has not shown up with our cabin luggage. At least I am in the business class side as the economy line is still ridiculously long. She writes on my boarding pass a name times 2 and says someone will be outside the luggage area to help me. But no hubby. I abandon my luggage cart as I figure in this chaos it will probably be ok for a few minutes. I figure I'll get stopped walking back into the terminal but nobody says anything. My husband has just gotten to the front of the line to go get on the plane to get our bags. wow, took him about 30 minutes to get there and took another 15 to walk out to the plane, get our bags, and get back to the luggage area.

We walk out and someone approaches us and looks at my boarding pass with a name on it and he can't read it so he walks off with it. Yikes, what if he's absconded with it! I find him and he's just verifying the hotel name. apparently Latam has put all the business class and the crew into Hanga Roa Eco lodge which is actually much nicer than the hotel we had stayed in for our holiday. Luggage is loaded into a truck and we are hauled over there. Thank goodness this is not high season. Had it been high season, I think there is a good chance we would have been sleeping in the airport but since it wasn't, the hotels had rooms, apparently already shut down for the season so it took them awhile to open up the rooms and get them ready again but at least we had a nice room to sleep. So we wait for maybe another hour and finally get a room and then are invited to dinner at the hotel as well.

Latam really did a class act for us and the other business class passengers at least. We did not have full range of the dinner menu as they chose a standard meal to feed all of us but we had wine as well and they picked up that tab too. There was a lot of confusion as to when we would be picked up the next morning but we still had a place to sleep and a meal and a shower and we weren't on a broken plane. In my opinion, always fix the plane. never put me on a plane that has problems. I'm willing to wait however long it takes.

So an extra night in Easter Island, albeit we didn't see anything more except the hotel lobby and dining room and our overnight room, became intimately acquainted with the airport restrooms, and oddly enough, a protest outside the dining room of the hotel but just a posters protest, no people marching and shouting.


Moais and Lots of other Awesome Stuff on Holiday

Have you ever seen the movie "The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel"? One of the main characters has a saying that he repeats often throughout the movie that goes something like Everything will turn out all right in the end, and if it is not all right, then it is not the end. I love that saying and have needed it on occasion for different things in my life. The latest being a rather semi-harrowing experience at the end of our holiday in South America. Yes, starting at the end just because it is the freshest in my mind at the moment and I have labeled those photos first as for some reason, I always work backwards on my photos.

My husband and I have been having a lovely holiday in Argentina and Chile and have ended up in Easter Island - one of the places we have planned to visit for a long time and this year seemed to be the time. This was a combination anniversary trip (32 years thank you - together for 38) and my birthday (and we won't mention which one). Trip has gone swimmingly and we've seen some fantastic things, had some good times and loved Easter Island, in spite of it taking about 6 hours to get to from Santiago, Chile. It is our last day, my birthday, and we are flying back to Santiago and then back to London the next day. Holiday over, time up, back to work.

Happily, we are business class. Latam is the airlines serving Easter Island and for once, they have a separate business class check in line and boarding line. this has not always been the case for them. Time to go as there is one flight a day. Flight comes in from Santiago around 1 ish, crew cleans the airplane and turns it around to go back. Yesterday's crew comes back to fly it home to Santiago. We board, we get our pisco sours and nuts and are sitting on the plane relaxing and thinking about the wonderful things we have seen.

My husband is in the window seat. I'm in the aisle. The plane is full and they are minutes or even seconds away from closing the cabin door and removing the stairs. Two flight attendants are standing next to me and doing flight attendant things when there is a very loud clang/bang. My hubby thinks it comes from underneath us. I thought behind but what we both noticed immediately is that the two flight attendants were startled! Oh, that is not a good thing.

Within seconds, the captain is on the intercom system asking all cabin crew to report to the front of the aircraft. that also does NOT sound like a good thing. we're looking out of the window and can't really see anything but as we are watching, the announcement comes over the intercom, in Spanish which we don't speak but can understand bits and pieces and some words, to "disembarque" which we have certainly translated correctly to "GET OFF THE PLANE NOW". Oh, bad.

Honestly, I know you are supposed to just move but as there are people in front of us, I took the 15 seconds to open the overhead bin and grab my purse. without it, I might end up being "unidentifiable" as I have no ID on me. And I noticed that every woman I saw getting off that plane also had her purse. And I didn't hold anyone up behind me so I didn't feel bad about it. Probably if there had been smoke or flames, I wouldn't have taken the time.

So we are not running but staff is definitely telling us to get into the terminal and away from the plane. In this terminal there is a section that is open, a little garden with sculptures, and you can stand in this garden and see the tarmac. We headed for this section and watched the rest of the flight deplane. Seemed to take a very long time to get the 300 or so people off the plane but never any panic, never any running. Last off are the crew.

Around the plane are 3 firetrucks. Firemen are also standing around the plane and on a lift towards the right rear of the plane and getting into the hold. These firemen are in full "space suit" mode - their silver fire retardant suits with helmets. So they look quite space walky from a distance. One has a hose unrolled and is aiming it at the plane but he never turns it on. The plane looks quite normal albeit abandoned as there are only these few firemen close to it and there is no smoke, no smell, no fire, no anything. just a poor forlorn plane sitting there.

A luggage container comes down on the lift from the hold and is towed to the far end of the tarmac and left there. hmmmm. we were kind of waiting to see if they were going to blow it up or something and no matter what the problem was, we knew our luggage would be in that container but it just sat there and for as far as we know, it could still be sitting there.

With nothing happening, we finally just go sit down. There is an announcement and a general groan. We wait to see if it comes in English but it doesn't so we hunt down someone who will tell us what is happening. it was a "wait until 5 p.m. and we will make another announcement". yep, groan. Plane was supposed to leave at 3:30. hmmm. we start thinking that maybe we aren't getting home tomorrow.

Easter Island is isolated, very isolated. Still not sure exactly how it became a part of Chile and one of our guides actually said it was because Chile changed the wording on the agreement between them and someone when it was being developed as a defensive area against Peru. lots of politics back then, I'm sure, but Chile ended up with it and it takes a very long time to get there as it is supposedly the most remote island in the world. It is also unique, not just for it's history but it doesn't have a reef so the ocean just pounds on its volcanic shores. Container ships cannot dock but must unload and containers taken in on barges. And it has one of the longest runways because it was built as a backup emergency landing runway for the space shuttle. just overall, the whole place is unique in so many ways but we were ready to leave so big groan until 5 p.m. now.

At 5 p.m., another Spanish announcement which basically, once we got someone to translate, tells us that we must now wait until 6 p.m. for the next announcement. Luckily, they made a decision around 5:30 that this plane was not budging and a new plane from Santiago would be sent for us BUT of course, it would not get here until tomorrow so Latam would put us all up into hotels for the night, feed us, and get us back to the airport the next morning. My hubby and I had been sitting there reading and had not noticed that people had lined up to get back onto the plane to get their cabin baggage but with this announcement, we split forces and I went out to get our luggage which all luggage for some 300 people was already being taken off the carousel and lined up for their owners and my hubby went and got into the line to get on the plane for our cabin baggage as our meds are in there and cameras, etc. etc. They were letting just about 5-8 people on the plane at one time so it was going to take him awhile.

Our checked baggage was already on the floor there so grabbed a luggage cart and got into a line that was to get our hotel. supposedly this line was for business class passengers and another line that was VERY long was for the economy passengers. Don't know if you have traveled in South America but I've noticed this frequently on this trip that any person can just walk up to the front of the line and ask the desk attendant, or flight attendant, or shop owner, or waitress or whomever, a question and that person will stop helping you (even when you have been waiting in the queue) and answer the question, no matter how long it takes, and then go back to helping you. This drives me crazy since I have waiting in the queue for this and other people have as well. But it seems to be an accepted practice in Spanish speaking countries. and a few others as well. And since I am generally not speaking the local language, can't say much about it or even know if the question was so important that this person could not possible wait their turn. I've tried doing it and it never works for me.

The lines are moving slow as everyone in front of me seems to have a problem plus there is the odd person coming to the front of the line to ask a question but I am finally the next in line and still my hubby has not shown up with our cabin luggage. At least I am in the business class side as the economy line is still ridiculously long. She writes on my boarding pass a name times 2 and says someone will be outside the luggage area to help me. But no hubby. I abandon my luggage cart as I figure in this chaos it will probably be ok for a few minutes. I figure I'll get stopped walking back into the terminal but nobody says anything. My husband has just gotten to the front of the line to go get on the plane to get our bags. wow, took him about 30 minutes to get there and took another 15 to walk out to the plane, get our bags, and get back to the luggage area.

We walk out and someone approaches us and looks at my boarding pass with a name on it and he can't read it so he walks off with it. Yikes, what if he's absconded with it! I find him and he's just verifying the hotel name. apparently Latam has put all the business class and the crew into Hanga Roa Eco lodge which is actually much nicer than the hotel we had stayed in for our holiday. Luggage is loaded into a truck and we are hauled over there. Thank goodness this is not high season. Had it been high season, I think there is a good chance we would have been sleeping in the airport but since it wasn't, the hotels had rooms, apparently already shut down for the season so it took them awhile to open up the rooms and get them ready again but at least we had a nice room to sleep. So we wait for maybe another hour and finally get a room and then are invited to dinner at the hotel as well.

Latam really did a class act for us and the other business class passengers at least. We did not have full range of the dinner menu as they chose a standard meal to feed all of us but we had wine as well and they picked up that tab too. There was a lot of confusion as to when we would be picked up the next morning but we still had a place to sleep and a meal and a shower and we weren't on a broken plane. In my opinion, always fix the plane. never put me on a plane that has problems. I'm willing to wait however long it takes.

So an extra night in Easter Island, albeit we didn't see anything more except the hotel lobby and dining room and our overnight room, became intimately acquainted with the airport restrooms, and oddly enough, a protest outside the dining room of the hotel but just a posters protest, no people marching and shouting.


Moais and Lots of other Awesome Stuff on Holiday

Have you ever seen the movie "The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel"? One of the main characters has a saying that he repeats often throughout the movie that goes something like Everything will turn out all right in the end, and if it is not all right, then it is not the end. I love that saying and have needed it on occasion for different things in my life. The latest being a rather semi-harrowing experience at the end of our holiday in South America. Yes, starting at the end just because it is the freshest in my mind at the moment and I have labeled those photos first as for some reason, I always work backwards on my photos.

My husband and I have been having a lovely holiday in Argentina and Chile and have ended up in Easter Island - one of the places we have planned to visit for a long time and this year seemed to be the time. This was a combination anniversary trip (32 years thank you - together for 38) and my birthday (and we won't mention which one). Trip has gone swimmingly and we've seen some fantastic things, had some good times and loved Easter Island, in spite of it taking about 6 hours to get to from Santiago, Chile. It is our last day, my birthday, and we are flying back to Santiago and then back to London the next day. Holiday over, time up, back to work.

Happily, we are business class. Latam is the airlines serving Easter Island and for once, they have a separate business class check in line and boarding line. this has not always been the case for them. Time to go as there is one flight a day. Flight comes in from Santiago around 1 ish, crew cleans the airplane and turns it around to go back. Yesterday's crew comes back to fly it home to Santiago. We board, we get our pisco sours and nuts and are sitting on the plane relaxing and thinking about the wonderful things we have seen.

My husband is in the window seat. I'm in the aisle. The plane is full and they are minutes or even seconds away from closing the cabin door and removing the stairs. Two flight attendants are standing next to me and doing flight attendant things when there is a very loud clang/bang. My hubby thinks it comes from underneath us. I thought behind but what we both noticed immediately is that the two flight attendants were startled! Oh, that is not a good thing.

Within seconds, the captain is on the intercom system asking all cabin crew to report to the front of the aircraft. that also does NOT sound like a good thing. we're looking out of the window and can't really see anything but as we are watching, the announcement comes over the intercom, in Spanish which we don't speak but can understand bits and pieces and some words, to "disembarque" which we have certainly translated correctly to "GET OFF THE PLANE NOW". Oh, bad.

Honestly, I know you are supposed to just move but as there are people in front of us, I took the 15 seconds to open the overhead bin and grab my purse. without it, I might end up being "unidentifiable" as I have no ID on me. And I noticed that every woman I saw getting off that plane also had her purse. And I didn't hold anyone up behind me so I didn't feel bad about it. Probably if there had been smoke or flames, I wouldn't have taken the time.

So we are not running but staff is definitely telling us to get into the terminal and away from the plane. In this terminal there is a section that is open, a little garden with sculptures, and you can stand in this garden and see the tarmac. We headed for this section and watched the rest of the flight deplane. Seemed to take a very long time to get the 300 or so people off the plane but never any panic, never any running. Last off are the crew.

Around the plane are 3 firetrucks. Firemen are also standing around the plane and on a lift towards the right rear of the plane and getting into the hold. These firemen are in full "space suit" mode - their silver fire retardant suits with helmets. So they look quite space walky from a distance. One has a hose unrolled and is aiming it at the plane but he never turns it on. The plane looks quite normal albeit abandoned as there are only these few firemen close to it and there is no smoke, no smell, no fire, no anything. just a poor forlorn plane sitting there.

A luggage container comes down on the lift from the hold and is towed to the far end of the tarmac and left there. hmmmm. we were kind of waiting to see if they were going to blow it up or something and no matter what the problem was, we knew our luggage would be in that container but it just sat there and for as far as we know, it could still be sitting there.

With nothing happening, we finally just go sit down. There is an announcement and a general groan. We wait to see if it comes in English but it doesn't so we hunt down someone who will tell us what is happening. it was a "wait until 5 p.m. and we will make another announcement". yep, groan. Plane was supposed to leave at 3:30. hmmm. we start thinking that maybe we aren't getting home tomorrow.

Easter Island is isolated, very isolated. Still not sure exactly how it became a part of Chile and one of our guides actually said it was because Chile changed the wording on the agreement between them and someone when it was being developed as a defensive area against Peru. lots of politics back then, I'm sure, but Chile ended up with it and it takes a very long time to get there as it is supposedly the most remote island in the world. It is also unique, not just for it's history but it doesn't have a reef so the ocean just pounds on its volcanic shores. Container ships cannot dock but must unload and containers taken in on barges. And it has one of the longest runways because it was built as a backup emergency landing runway for the space shuttle. just overall, the whole place is unique in so many ways but we were ready to leave so big groan until 5 p.m. now.

At 5 p.m., another Spanish announcement which basically, once we got someone to translate, tells us that we must now wait until 6 p.m. for the next announcement. Luckily, they made a decision around 5:30 that this plane was not budging and a new plane from Santiago would be sent for us BUT of course, it would not get here until tomorrow so Latam would put us all up into hotels for the night, feed us, and get us back to the airport the next morning. My hubby and I had been sitting there reading and had not noticed that people had lined up to get back onto the plane to get their cabin baggage but with this announcement, we split forces and I went out to get our luggage which all luggage for some 300 people was already being taken off the carousel and lined up for their owners and my hubby went and got into the line to get on the plane for our cabin baggage as our meds are in there and cameras, etc. etc. They were letting just about 5-8 people on the plane at one time so it was going to take him awhile.

Our checked baggage was already on the floor there so grabbed a luggage cart and got into a line that was to get our hotel. supposedly this line was for business class passengers and another line that was VERY long was for the economy passengers. Don't know if you have traveled in South America but I've noticed this frequently on this trip that any person can just walk up to the front of the line and ask the desk attendant, or flight attendant, or shop owner, or waitress or whomever, a question and that person will stop helping you (even when you have been waiting in the queue) and answer the question, no matter how long it takes, and then go back to helping you. This drives me crazy since I have waiting in the queue for this and other people have as well. But it seems to be an accepted practice in Spanish speaking countries. and a few others as well. And since I am generally not speaking the local language, can't say much about it or even know if the question was so important that this person could not possible wait their turn. I've tried doing it and it never works for me.

The lines are moving slow as everyone in front of me seems to have a problem plus there is the odd person coming to the front of the line to ask a question but I am finally the next in line and still my hubby has not shown up with our cabin luggage. At least I am in the business class side as the economy line is still ridiculously long. She writes on my boarding pass a name times 2 and says someone will be outside the luggage area to help me. But no hubby. I abandon my luggage cart as I figure in this chaos it will probably be ok for a few minutes. I figure I'll get stopped walking back into the terminal but nobody says anything. My husband has just gotten to the front of the line to go get on the plane to get our bags. wow, took him about 30 minutes to get there and took another 15 to walk out to the plane, get our bags, and get back to the luggage area.

We walk out and someone approaches us and looks at my boarding pass with a name on it and he can't read it so he walks off with it. Yikes, what if he's absconded with it! I find him and he's just verifying the hotel name. apparently Latam has put all the business class and the crew into Hanga Roa Eco lodge which is actually much nicer than the hotel we had stayed in for our holiday. Luggage is loaded into a truck and we are hauled over there. Thank goodness this is not high season. Had it been high season, I think there is a good chance we would have been sleeping in the airport but since it wasn't, the hotels had rooms, apparently already shut down for the season so it took them awhile to open up the rooms and get them ready again but at least we had a nice room to sleep. So we wait for maybe another hour and finally get a room and then are invited to dinner at the hotel as well.

Latam really did a class act for us and the other business class passengers at least. We did not have full range of the dinner menu as they chose a standard meal to feed all of us but we had wine as well and they picked up that tab too. There was a lot of confusion as to when we would be picked up the next morning but we still had a place to sleep and a meal and a shower and we weren't on a broken plane. In my opinion, always fix the plane. never put me on a plane that has problems. I'm willing to wait however long it takes.

So an extra night in Easter Island, albeit we didn't see anything more except the hotel lobby and dining room and our overnight room, became intimately acquainted with the airport restrooms, and oddly enough, a protest outside the dining room of the hotel but just a posters protest, no people marching and shouting.


Moais and Lots of other Awesome Stuff on Holiday

Have you ever seen the movie "The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel"? One of the main characters has a saying that he repeats often throughout the movie that goes something like Everything will turn out all right in the end, and if it is not all right, then it is not the end. I love that saying and have needed it on occasion for different things in my life. The latest being a rather semi-harrowing experience at the end of our holiday in South America. Yes, starting at the end just because it is the freshest in my mind at the moment and I have labeled those photos first as for some reason, I always work backwards on my photos.

My husband and I have been having a lovely holiday in Argentina and Chile and have ended up in Easter Island - one of the places we have planned to visit for a long time and this year seemed to be the time. This was a combination anniversary trip (32 years thank you - together for 38) and my birthday (and we won't mention which one). Trip has gone swimmingly and we've seen some fantastic things, had some good times and loved Easter Island, in spite of it taking about 6 hours to get to from Santiago, Chile. It is our last day, my birthday, and we are flying back to Santiago and then back to London the next day. Holiday over, time up, back to work.

Happily, we are business class. Latam is the airlines serving Easter Island and for once, they have a separate business class check in line and boarding line. this has not always been the case for them. Time to go as there is one flight a day. Flight comes in from Santiago around 1 ish, crew cleans the airplane and turns it around to go back. Yesterday's crew comes back to fly it home to Santiago. We board, we get our pisco sours and nuts and are sitting on the plane relaxing and thinking about the wonderful things we have seen.

My husband is in the window seat. I'm in the aisle. The plane is full and they are minutes or even seconds away from closing the cabin door and removing the stairs. Two flight attendants are standing next to me and doing flight attendant things when there is a very loud clang/bang. My hubby thinks it comes from underneath us. I thought behind but what we both noticed immediately is that the two flight attendants were startled! Oh, that is not a good thing.

Within seconds, the captain is on the intercom system asking all cabin crew to report to the front of the aircraft. that also does NOT sound like a good thing. we're looking out of the window and can't really see anything but as we are watching, the announcement comes over the intercom, in Spanish which we don't speak but can understand bits and pieces and some words, to "disembarque" which we have certainly translated correctly to "GET OFF THE PLANE NOW". Oh, bad.

Honestly, I know you are supposed to just move but as there are people in front of us, I took the 15 seconds to open the overhead bin and grab my purse. without it, I might end up being "unidentifiable" as I have no ID on me. And I noticed that every woman I saw getting off that plane also had her purse. And I didn't hold anyone up behind me so I didn't feel bad about it. Probably if there had been smoke or flames, I wouldn't have taken the time.

So we are not running but staff is definitely telling us to get into the terminal and away from the plane. In this terminal there is a section that is open, a little garden with sculptures, and you can stand in this garden and see the tarmac. We headed for this section and watched the rest of the flight deplane. Seemed to take a very long time to get the 300 or so people off the plane but never any panic, never any running. Last off are the crew.

Around the plane are 3 firetrucks. Firemen are also standing around the plane and on a lift towards the right rear of the plane and getting into the hold. These firemen are in full "space suit" mode - their silver fire retardant suits with helmets. So they look quite space walky from a distance. One has a hose unrolled and is aiming it at the plane but he never turns it on. The plane looks quite normal albeit abandoned as there are only these few firemen close to it and there is no smoke, no smell, no fire, no anything. just a poor forlorn plane sitting there.

A luggage container comes down on the lift from the hold and is towed to the far end of the tarmac and left there. hmmmm. we were kind of waiting to see if they were going to blow it up or something and no matter what the problem was, we knew our luggage would be in that container but it just sat there and for as far as we know, it could still be sitting there.

With nothing happening, we finally just go sit down. There is an announcement and a general groan. We wait to see if it comes in English but it doesn't so we hunt down someone who will tell us what is happening. it was a "wait until 5 p.m. and we will make another announcement". yep, groan. Plane was supposed to leave at 3:30. hmmm. we start thinking that maybe we aren't getting home tomorrow.

Easter Island is isolated, very isolated. Still not sure exactly how it became a part of Chile and one of our guides actually said it was because Chile changed the wording on the agreement between them and someone when it was being developed as a defensive area against Peru. lots of politics back then, I'm sure, but Chile ended up with it and it takes a very long time to get there as it is supposedly the most remote island in the world. It is also unique, not just for it's history but it doesn't have a reef so the ocean just pounds on its volcanic shores. Container ships cannot dock but must unload and containers taken in on barges. And it has one of the longest runways because it was built as a backup emergency landing runway for the space shuttle. just overall, the whole place is unique in so many ways but we were ready to leave so big groan until 5 p.m. now.

At 5 p.m., another Spanish announcement which basically, once we got someone to translate, tells us that we must now wait until 6 p.m. for the next announcement. Luckily, they made a decision around 5:30 that this plane was not budging and a new plane from Santiago would be sent for us BUT of course, it would not get here until tomorrow so Latam would put us all up into hotels for the night, feed us, and get us back to the airport the next morning. My hubby and I had been sitting there reading and had not noticed that people had lined up to get back onto the plane to get their cabin baggage but with this announcement, we split forces and I went out to get our luggage which all luggage for some 300 people was already being taken off the carousel and lined up for their owners and my hubby went and got into the line to get on the plane for our cabin baggage as our meds are in there and cameras, etc. etc. They were letting just about 5-8 people on the plane at one time so it was going to take him awhile.

Our checked baggage was already on the floor there so grabbed a luggage cart and got into a line that was to get our hotel. supposedly this line was for business class passengers and another line that was VERY long was for the economy passengers. Don't know if you have traveled in South America but I've noticed this frequently on this trip that any person can just walk up to the front of the line and ask the desk attendant, or flight attendant, or shop owner, or waitress or whomever, a question and that person will stop helping you (even when you have been waiting in the queue) and answer the question, no matter how long it takes, and then go back to helping you. This drives me crazy since I have waiting in the queue for this and other people have as well. But it seems to be an accepted practice in Spanish speaking countries. and a few others as well. And since I am generally not speaking the local language, can't say much about it or even know if the question was so important that this person could not possible wait their turn. I've tried doing it and it never works for me.

The lines are moving slow as everyone in front of me seems to have a problem plus there is the odd person coming to the front of the line to ask a question but I am finally the next in line and still my hubby has not shown up with our cabin luggage. At least I am in the business class side as the economy line is still ridiculously long. She writes on my boarding pass a name times 2 and says someone will be outside the luggage area to help me. But no hubby. I abandon my luggage cart as I figure in this chaos it will probably be ok for a few minutes. I figure I'll get stopped walking back into the terminal but nobody says anything. My husband has just gotten to the front of the line to go get on the plane to get our bags. wow, took him about 30 minutes to get there and took another 15 to walk out to the plane, get our bags, and get back to the luggage area.

We walk out and someone approaches us and looks at my boarding pass with a name on it and he can't read it so he walks off with it. Yikes, what if he's absconded with it! I find him and he's just verifying the hotel name. apparently Latam has put all the business class and the crew into Hanga Roa Eco lodge which is actually much nicer than the hotel we had stayed in for our holiday. Luggage is loaded into a truck and we are hauled over there. Thank goodness this is not high season. Had it been high season, I think there is a good chance we would have been sleeping in the airport but since it wasn't, the hotels had rooms, apparently already shut down for the season so it took them awhile to open up the rooms and get them ready again but at least we had a nice room to sleep. So we wait for maybe another hour and finally get a room and then are invited to dinner at the hotel as well.

Latam really did a class act for us and the other business class passengers at least. We did not have full range of the dinner menu as they chose a standard meal to feed all of us but we had wine as well and they picked up that tab too. There was a lot of confusion as to when we would be picked up the next morning but we still had a place to sleep and a meal and a shower and we weren't on a broken plane. In my opinion, always fix the plane. never put me on a plane that has problems. I'm willing to wait however long it takes.

So an extra night in Easter Island, albeit we didn't see anything more except the hotel lobby and dining room and our overnight room, became intimately acquainted with the airport restrooms, and oddly enough, a protest outside the dining room of the hotel but just a posters protest, no people marching and shouting.


Moais and Lots of other Awesome Stuff on Holiday

Have you ever seen the movie "The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel"? One of the main characters has a saying that he repeats often throughout the movie that goes something like Everything will turn out all right in the end, and if it is not all right, then it is not the end. I love that saying and have needed it on occasion for different things in my life. The latest being a rather semi-harrowing experience at the end of our holiday in South America. Yes, starting at the end just because it is the freshest in my mind at the moment and I have labeled those photos first as for some reason, I always work backwards on my photos.

My husband and I have been having a lovely holiday in Argentina and Chile and have ended up in Easter Island - one of the places we have planned to visit for a long time and this year seemed to be the time. This was a combination anniversary trip (32 years thank you - together for 38) and my birthday (and we won't mention which one). Trip has gone swimmingly and we've seen some fantastic things, had some good times and loved Easter Island, in spite of it taking about 6 hours to get to from Santiago, Chile. It is our last day, my birthday, and we are flying back to Santiago and then back to London the next day. Holiday over, time up, back to work.

Happily, we are business class. Latam is the airlines serving Easter Island and for once, they have a separate business class check in line and boarding line. this has not always been the case for them. Time to go as there is one flight a day. Flight comes in from Santiago around 1 ish, crew cleans the airplane and turns it around to go back. Yesterday's crew comes back to fly it home to Santiago. We board, we get our pisco sours and nuts and are sitting on the plane relaxing and thinking about the wonderful things we have seen.

My husband is in the window seat. I'm in the aisle. The plane is full and they are minutes or even seconds away from closing the cabin door and removing the stairs. Two flight attendants are standing next to me and doing flight attendant things when there is a very loud clang/bang. My hubby thinks it comes from underneath us. I thought behind but what we both noticed immediately is that the two flight attendants were startled! Oh, that is not a good thing.

Within seconds, the captain is on the intercom system asking all cabin crew to report to the front of the aircraft. that also does NOT sound like a good thing. we're looking out of the window and can't really see anything but as we are watching, the announcement comes over the intercom, in Spanish which we don't speak but can understand bits and pieces and some words, to "disembarque" which we have certainly translated correctly to "GET OFF THE PLANE NOW". Oh, bad.

Honestly, I know you are supposed to just move but as there are people in front of us, I took the 15 seconds to open the overhead bin and grab my purse. without it, I might end up being "unidentifiable" as I have no ID on me. And I noticed that every woman I saw getting off that plane also had her purse. And I didn't hold anyone up behind me so I didn't feel bad about it. Probably if there had been smoke or flames, I wouldn't have taken the time.

So we are not running but staff is definitely telling us to get into the terminal and away from the plane. In this terminal there is a section that is open, a little garden with sculptures, and you can stand in this garden and see the tarmac. We headed for this section and watched the rest of the flight deplane. Seemed to take a very long time to get the 300 or so people off the plane but never any panic, never any running. Last off are the crew.

Around the plane are 3 firetrucks. Firemen are also standing around the plane and on a lift towards the right rear of the plane and getting into the hold. These firemen are in full "space suit" mode - their silver fire retardant suits with helmets. So they look quite space walky from a distance. One has a hose unrolled and is aiming it at the plane but he never turns it on. The plane looks quite normal albeit abandoned as there are only these few firemen close to it and there is no smoke, no smell, no fire, no anything. just a poor forlorn plane sitting there.

A luggage container comes down on the lift from the hold and is towed to the far end of the tarmac and left there. hmmmm. we were kind of waiting to see if they were going to blow it up or something and no matter what the problem was, we knew our luggage would be in that container but it just sat there and for as far as we know, it could still be sitting there.

With nothing happening, we finally just go sit down. There is an announcement and a general groan. We wait to see if it comes in English but it doesn't so we hunt down someone who will tell us what is happening. it was a "wait until 5 p.m. and we will make another announcement". yep, groan. Plane was supposed to leave at 3:30. hmmm. we start thinking that maybe we aren't getting home tomorrow.

Easter Island is isolated, very isolated. Still not sure exactly how it became a part of Chile and one of our guides actually said it was because Chile changed the wording on the agreement between them and someone when it was being developed as a defensive area against Peru. lots of politics back then, I'm sure, but Chile ended up with it and it takes a very long time to get there as it is supposedly the most remote island in the world. It is also unique, not just for it's history but it doesn't have a reef so the ocean just pounds on its volcanic shores. Container ships cannot dock but must unload and containers taken in on barges. And it has one of the longest runways because it was built as a backup emergency landing runway for the space shuttle. just overall, the whole place is unique in so many ways but we were ready to leave so big groan until 5 p.m. now.

At 5 p.m., another Spanish announcement which basically, once we got someone to translate, tells us that we must now wait until 6 p.m. for the next announcement. Luckily, they made a decision around 5:30 that this plane was not budging and a new plane from Santiago would be sent for us BUT of course, it would not get here until tomorrow so Latam would put us all up into hotels for the night, feed us, and get us back to the airport the next morning. My hubby and I had been sitting there reading and had not noticed that people had lined up to get back onto the plane to get their cabin baggage but with this announcement, we split forces and I went out to get our luggage which all luggage for some 300 people was already being taken off the carousel and lined up for their owners and my hubby went and got into the line to get on the plane for our cabin baggage as our meds are in there and cameras, etc. etc. They were letting just about 5-8 people on the plane at one time so it was going to take him awhile.

Our checked baggage was already on the floor there so grabbed a luggage cart and got into a line that was to get our hotel. supposedly this line was for business class passengers and another line that was VERY long was for the economy passengers. Don't know if you have traveled in South America but I've noticed this frequently on this trip that any person can just walk up to the front of the line and ask the desk attendant, or flight attendant, or shop owner, or waitress or whomever, a question and that person will stop helping you (even when you have been waiting in the queue) and answer the question, no matter how long it takes, and then go back to helping you. This drives me crazy since I have waiting in the queue for this and other people have as well. But it seems to be an accepted practice in Spanish speaking countries. and a few others as well. And since I am generally not speaking the local language, can't say much about it or even know if the question was so important that this person could not possible wait their turn. I've tried doing it and it never works for me.

The lines are moving slow as everyone in front of me seems to have a problem plus there is the odd person coming to the front of the line to ask a question but I am finally the next in line and still my hubby has not shown up with our cabin luggage. At least I am in the business class side as the economy line is still ridiculously long. She writes on my boarding pass a name times 2 and says someone will be outside the luggage area to help me. But no hubby. I abandon my luggage cart as I figure in this chaos it will probably be ok for a few minutes. I figure I'll get stopped walking back into the terminal but nobody says anything. My husband has just gotten to the front of the line to go get on the plane to get our bags. wow, took him about 30 minutes to get there and took another 15 to walk out to the plane, get our bags, and get back to the luggage area.

We walk out and someone approaches us and looks at my boarding pass with a name on it and he can't read it so he walks off with it. Yikes, what if he's absconded with it! I find him and he's just verifying the hotel name. apparently Latam has put all the business class and the crew into Hanga Roa Eco lodge which is actually much nicer than the hotel we had stayed in for our holiday. Luggage is loaded into a truck and we are hauled over there. Thank goodness this is not high season. Had it been high season, I think there is a good chance we would have been sleeping in the airport but since it wasn't, the hotels had rooms, apparently already shut down for the season so it took them awhile to open up the rooms and get them ready again but at least we had a nice room to sleep. So we wait for maybe another hour and finally get a room and then are invited to dinner at the hotel as well.

Latam really did a class act for us and the other business class passengers at least. We did not have full range of the dinner menu as they chose a standard meal to feed all of us but we had wine as well and they picked up that tab too. There was a lot of confusion as to when we would be picked up the next morning but we still had a place to sleep and a meal and a shower and we weren't on a broken plane. In my opinion, always fix the plane. never put me on a plane that has problems. I'm willing to wait however long it takes.

So an extra night in Easter Island, albeit we didn't see anything more except the hotel lobby and dining room and our overnight room, became intimately acquainted with the airport restrooms, and oddly enough, a protest outside the dining room of the hotel but just a posters protest, no people marching and shouting.


Moais and Lots of other Awesome Stuff on Holiday

Have you ever seen the movie "The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel"? One of the main characters has a saying that he repeats often throughout the movie that goes something like Everything will turn out all right in the end, and if it is not all right, then it is not the end. I love that saying and have needed it on occasion for different things in my life. The latest being a rather semi-harrowing experience at the end of our holiday in South America. Yes, starting at the end just because it is the freshest in my mind at the moment and I have labeled those photos first as for some reason, I always work backwards on my photos.

My husband and I have been having a lovely holiday in Argentina and Chile and have ended up in Easter Island - one of the places we have planned to visit for a long time and this year seemed to be the time. This was a combination anniversary trip (32 years thank you - together for 38) and my birthday (and we won't mention which one). Trip has gone swimmingly and we've seen some fantastic things, had some good times and loved Easter Island, in spite of it taking about 6 hours to get to from Santiago, Chile. It is our last day, my birthday, and we are flying back to Santiago and then back to London the next day. Holiday over, time up, back to work.

Happily, we are business class. Latam is the airlines serving Easter Island and for once, they have a separate business class check in line and boarding line. this has not always been the case for them. Time to go as there is one flight a day. Flight comes in from Santiago around 1 ish, crew cleans the airplane and turns it around to go back. Yesterday's crew comes back to fly it home to Santiago. We board, we get our pisco sours and nuts and are sitting on the plane relaxing and thinking about the wonderful things we have seen.

My husband is in the window seat. I'm in the aisle. The plane is full and they are minutes or even seconds away from closing the cabin door and removing the stairs. Two flight attendants are standing next to me and doing flight attendant things when there is a very loud clang/bang. My hubby thinks it comes from underneath us. I thought behind but what we both noticed immediately is that the two flight attendants were startled! Oh, that is not a good thing.

Within seconds, the captain is on the intercom system asking all cabin crew to report to the front of the aircraft. that also does NOT sound like a good thing. we're looking out of the window and can't really see anything but as we are watching, the announcement comes over the intercom, in Spanish which we don't speak but can understand bits and pieces and some words, to "disembarque" which we have certainly translated correctly to "GET OFF THE PLANE NOW". Oh, bad.

Honestly, I know you are supposed to just move but as there are people in front of us, I took the 15 seconds to open the overhead bin and grab my purse. without it, I might end up being "unidentifiable" as I have no ID on me. And I noticed that every woman I saw getting off that plane also had her purse. And I didn't hold anyone up behind me so I didn't feel bad about it. Probably if there had been smoke or flames, I wouldn't have taken the time.

So we are not running but staff is definitely telling us to get into the terminal and away from the plane. In this terminal there is a section that is open, a little garden with sculptures, and you can stand in this garden and see the tarmac. We headed for this section and watched the rest of the flight deplane. Seemed to take a very long time to get the 300 or so people off the plane but never any panic, never any running. Last off are the crew.

Around the plane are 3 firetrucks. Firemen are also standing around the plane and on a lift towards the right rear of the plane and getting into the hold. These firemen are in full "space suit" mode - their silver fire retardant suits with helmets. So they look quite space walky from a distance. One has a hose unrolled and is aiming it at the plane but he never turns it on. The plane looks quite normal albeit abandoned as there are only these few firemen close to it and there is no smoke, no smell, no fire, no anything. just a poor forlorn plane sitting there.

A luggage container comes down on the lift from the hold and is towed to the far end of the tarmac and left there. hmmmm. we were kind of waiting to see if they were going to blow it up or something and no matter what the problem was, we knew our luggage would be in that container but it just sat there and for as far as we know, it could still be sitting there.

With nothing happening, we finally just go sit down. There is an announcement and a general groan. We wait to see if it comes in English but it doesn't so we hunt down someone who will tell us what is happening. it was a "wait until 5 p.m. and we will make another announcement". yep, groan. Plane was supposed to leave at 3:30. hmmm. we start thinking that maybe we aren't getting home tomorrow.

Easter Island is isolated, very isolated. Still not sure exactly how it became a part of Chile and one of our guides actually said it was because Chile changed the wording on the agreement between them and someone when it was being developed as a defensive area against Peru. lots of politics back then, I'm sure, but Chile ended up with it and it takes a very long time to get there as it is supposedly the most remote island in the world. It is also unique, not just for it's history but it doesn't have a reef so the ocean just pounds on its volcanic shores. Container ships cannot dock but must unload and containers taken in on barges. And it has one of the longest runways because it was built as a backup emergency landing runway for the space shuttle. just overall, the whole place is unique in so many ways but we were ready to leave so big groan until 5 p.m. now.

At 5 p.m., another Spanish announcement which basically, once we got someone to translate, tells us that we must now wait until 6 p.m. for the next announcement. Luckily, they made a decision around 5:30 that this plane was not budging and a new plane from Santiago would be sent for us BUT of course, it would not get here until tomorrow so Latam would put us all up into hotels for the night, feed us, and get us back to the airport the next morning. My hubby and I had been sitting there reading and had not noticed that people had lined up to get back onto the plane to get their cabin baggage but with this announcement, we split forces and I went out to get our luggage which all luggage for some 300 people was already being taken off the carousel and lined up for their owners and my hubby went and got into the line to get on the plane for our cabin baggage as our meds are in there and cameras, etc. etc. They were letting just about 5-8 people on the plane at one time so it was going to take him awhile.

Our checked baggage was already on the floor there so grabbed a luggage cart and got into a line that was to get our hotel. supposedly this line was for business class passengers and another line that was VERY long was for the economy passengers. Don't know if you have traveled in South America but I've noticed this frequently on this trip that any person can just walk up to the front of the line and ask the desk attendant, or flight attendant, or shop owner, or waitress or whomever, a question and that person will stop helping you (even when you have been waiting in the queue) and answer the question, no matter how long it takes, and then go back to helping you. This drives me crazy since I have waiting in the queue for this and other people have as well. But it seems to be an accepted practice in Spanish speaking countries. and a few others as well. And since I am generally not speaking the local language, can't say much about it or even know if the question was so important that this person could not possible wait their turn. I've tried doing it and it never works for me.

The lines are moving slow as everyone in front of me seems to have a problem plus there is the odd person coming to the front of the line to ask a question but I am finally the next in line and still my hubby has not shown up with our cabin luggage. At least I am in the business class side as the economy line is still ridiculously long. She writes on my boarding pass a name times 2 and says someone will be outside the luggage area to help me. But no hubby. I abandon my luggage cart as I figure in this chaos it will probably be ok for a few minutes. I figure I'll get stopped walking back into the terminal but nobody says anything. My husband has just gotten to the front of the line to go get on the plane to get our bags. wow, took him about 30 minutes to get there and took another 15 to walk out to the plane, get our bags, and get back to the luggage area.

We walk out and someone approaches us and looks at my boarding pass with a name on it and he can't read it so he walks off with it. Yikes, what if he's absconded with it! I find him and he's just verifying the hotel name. apparently Latam has put all the business class and the crew into Hanga Roa Eco lodge which is actually much nicer than the hotel we had stayed in for our holiday. Luggage is loaded into a truck and we are hauled over there. Thank goodness this is not high season. Had it been high season, I think there is a good chance we would have been sleeping in the airport but since it wasn't, the hotels had rooms, apparently already shut down for the season so it took them awhile to open up the rooms and get them ready again but at least we had a nice room to sleep. So we wait for maybe another hour and finally get a room and then are invited to dinner at the hotel as well.

Latam really did a class act for us and the other business class passengers at least. We did not have full range of the dinner menu as they chose a standard meal to feed all of us but we had wine as well and they picked up that tab too. There was a lot of confusion as to when we would be picked up the next morning but we still had a place to sleep and a meal and a shower and we weren't on a broken plane. In my opinion, always fix the plane. never put me on a plane that has problems. I'm willing to wait however long it takes.

So an extra night in Easter Island, albeit we didn't see anything more except the hotel lobby and dining room and our overnight room, became intimately acquainted with the airport restrooms, and oddly enough, a protest outside the dining room of the hotel but just a posters protest, no people marching and shouting.



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