This is an old journal, from our trip around the world in 2002, taken from the diary I wrote at the time. Apologies for the poor quality photographs, they are scans of prints taken with a compact camera and images from the scrap book I made afterwards.
04.11.2002 - 04.11.2002
We are pleased to find on check-out that they haven’t charged us for the internet usage. The £20 an hour we were quoted was obviously to discourage you from lingering.
When we asked Victor yesterday what time our airport transfer is this morning he did not know. We have been given no information about it and when Marcia tries to ring Connie, there is no reply. Marcia thinks it will be 09:15 and she is right. The airport is fairly empty and we are amongst the first again to check in. We are able to check the cases all the way through to Sydney, and although the check in staff and a couple of other travellers are urging us to do this, I feel rather reluctant to. I much prefer to carry my own through the airports, there is much less of a chance that they’d go missing then. I am finally persuaded, against my better judgement, to check the bags all the way through. I will probably live to regret this. With so many flights and numerous connections on this trip, the chances of the cases going AWOL are fairly high. We are using two different airlines between here and Sydney too, from Easter Island to Santiago it is Lan Chile, the next sector to Australia we are flying with Qantas. I know they are all one ‘Alliance’, but…
We have boarding cards to sit together on the first flight but not on the longest sector afterwards. We do like to be together, at least on such long flights. I’m sure we can arrange something once we’re in Santiago.
At Santiago customs we just flash our boarding pass to show that we have arrived from within the country and they don’t bother to check our luggage. As the Qantas check-in desk is not open yet when we arrive, we have some food while we wait. The food is quite pleasant, but I feel rather unwell afterwards. I am probably dehydrated again. We make sure we are the first in the queue for check in, but other travellers have warned us that Chileans pre-check-in several days in advance to get the seats they want. I offer the assistant my sweetest smile and say how very much we would like to sit together as it is our Silver Wedding Anniversary. Whether it is my grin, my words, her kind nature or just coincidence, she manages to rustle up two seats side by side. Good.
I do have some Chilean Pesos burning a hole in my pocket, so we go through immigration to try and spend them. Even after a bottle of Bacardi, some Swarovsky crystal, bottled water, crisps, sweets and drinks in a café, we still have some money left. We changed far too many dollars into pesos in Easter Island, thinking it to be very expensive. In fact the prices were quite reasonable, at least in the establishments we frequented. We find an e-mail café and send a few massages back home. This is the fastest connection we’ve had anywhere so far on this journey, I’m very impressed. Some of our e-mails to colleagues have been returned by the Postmaster; perhaps they have been retained by the Bristol & West Firewall.
The plane is very cramped, by far the worse one to date; it is more like a charter flight. The seats are narrow, the foot rest is in the way of my legs and there is no legroom whatsoever when I recline my seat. This is going to be a long flight. Hopefully I will be able to sleep like I normally do. I bought an English book in Santiago to read on this, the longest of all our flights on the entire journey at over thirteen hours. It is typical that this should be the most uncomfortable of them all. The cabin air is far too warm and I am unable to sleep; it feels like a sauna in a sardine tin. After several hours the air cools down and I am able to doze a little, but by this stage my back hurts. I can’t win. I finish the book, it was far too slushy for my liking, but at least it kept me busy for a few hours.
There's still a long way to go...