(Pix from before I left the US.)
The start of this week was a long one! Monday I got up at 5:30 am to go to the gym and then spent the morning cramming in as much work as I could before I had to leave to the airport at 2:30. Some last minute running around and bag packing and I was out the door.
It was a 2 hour drive to the airport. Trying to get my ticket there was a little confusion around the fact they told me I needed to pay reciprocity fee to Argentina government (which isn’t a visa and wasn’t mentioned on the sites I checked beforehand because it’s new this year) before I could fly. At first it seemed like I wasn’t going to be allowed to go. But I managed to figure out how to do it online with my phone without missing my flight. Disaster averted.
The flight was incredibly overbooked. The overhead bins filled up by the time my zone boarded so I had to check my carry-on at the gate. I was told my bag would meet me in Buenos Aires.
Flew 2.5 hours to Houston. There the next flight was delayed due to mechanical difficulties. They ended up switching planes and about an hour late we were able to board. It was a 10 1/2 hour flight from Houston to Buenos Aires. I ate dinner, watched Monsters University and then tried to sleep as best I could. (I was lucky to have the seat next to me open so I had some space.) My typical sleep pattern on long flights is to crash for about an hour in one position until some body part gets pins and needle, wake up, readjust and then fall asleep again. Repeat for many hours.
I arrived in Buenos Aires Tuesday morning but my luggage did not. It took me a little while with my poor Spanish to figure out where the airline office was located to report the missing bag. The airline rep was super helpful and spoke perfect English. Reported bag missing and found out it was still in Houston. They would put it on that evening’s flight to arrive on Wednesday mid-day. Not very helpful for my very important Wednesday morning presentation.
After making report, I went to ATM to get Pesos and the found a taxi to take me to the hotel. Dropped my laptop in my room and headed back out to find some make-up, toiletries & clothes for Wednesday at work. No way I could go into the office of important client in three day old jeans & shirt.
Walked and walked and walked around Buenos Aires near my hotel trying to find some work appropriate clothing. I was lucky to be staying right near a huge shopping area. There were tons of stores of men’s work clothes with suits & ties in the windows. But I could not for the life of me seem to locate the female equivalent. There were lots of cute clothes for women but just not the boring office kind I wanted. And my attempts to ask people were misunderstood by either my question phrasing or my interpretation of the response. I realized my clothing vocab is very limited – couldn’t seem to figure out the translation for ‘wide legged dress pants’ or ‘women’s suit’. I just wanted an easy stop at a Banana Republic or an Ann Taylor.
After hours of exploring I came across a Zara. At least it was a store I sort of know. Problem was the kinds of work clothes Zara sells are super-cool-people-fashion-type suits. Not my normal slightly-boring-take-me-serious type suit. After fumbling to ask sales girl for help – I tried on a trendy jacket and super skinny dress pants that she brought me (definitely intended for a 9 foot tall supermodel in platform heels) and looked totally ridiculous in my flats and curvy figure. And everything else I found that seemed a more flattering cut/fit was in size XS tiny human. At this point I was pretty exhausted and starting to give up hope. But on the very last rack I found a pair of wide legged pants that fit over my butt (they were way too long but I didn’t care), gabbed a plain teal top and grey cardigan and got out of there. Stopped at two more stores to buy some basic make up and basic toiletries.
Back to the hotel to take a quick (and absolutely amazing) shower. And then into my two day old clothes, brush my hair with my fingers and go meet my project team for the first time in person for dinner. They were really nice and spent a few hours discussing the project issues for work the next day. My brain was starting to leak out of my ear by this point but I did my best to pay attention.
Finally, after dinner, I went back to the hotel and 41 hours after waking up at home I laid down in bed for a real night’s sleep. Ahhh.