Our job today was to get from frigid Wisconsin to balmy Santiago and it was accomplished without any major excitement.
Our friends, Lois and Fred Wessel, ferried us to the Green Bay airport for our late morning departure to Santiago via Chicago and Miami. The American aircraft to ORD was late in arriving in GRB so we left about 20 minutes later than the ETD. An equipment change (from Boeing 757 to 767) in Chicago necessitated new seating assignments for everyone thus delaying our takeoff by about an hour. We now had about an hour cushion in MIA to catch the LAN flight to Santiago--not a lot of time considering we would have to walk nearly the length of the airport to get to our departure gate. We were pleasantly surprised to see a man with a small hand held sign with our name on it standing on the concourse when we deplaned. He was there to ferry us in his electric cart about two-thirds of the way through the airport to our departure terminal. American and LAN are partners in the One World Alliance and someone saw fit to make the transfer arrangements. Thank you One World--the airlines were certainly treating us better than last year when we had cancelled flights and lost reservations.
We had to go through security again, so by the time we reached the departure gate we were able to get in line and board immediately: without Camacho and his wheels it would have a very tight connection.
The LAN 767 was much newer and much nicer than the tired old beast from American. We specifically asked to be booked on LAN due to our good experiences with them on our SAm2012 trip. Newer equipment, better food, and better service! The inflight entertainment systems on the new airplanes are getting very sophisticated--no more fumbling with controls in your armrest that you cannot see to operate, but a larget touch screen in the seat back in front of you with controls for lighting, service call, music, movies, games, flight show etc. There was even a USB port for charging your mobile device!
The departure from the airport was quite painless and only took a few minutes because we had paid our Visa Reciprocity Fee ($160/) last year and did not have to wait for checked luggage. What's with them x-raying our bags in customs before leaving? Fruit smugglers? The Hostal Rio Amazonas had arranged transportation into town and we arrived at the hostal about 0800 (19 1/2 hours door to door). Our room was ready and soon we were napping after a night that afforded little sleep.
We are getting ready to head out to find some pesos in an ATM and then wander around an area of Barrio Bellavista that has a ton of restaurants. No big dinner tonight, just something to tide us over until the good breakfast in he morning here at the hostal.
We have a few things we want to see in the next two days before flying north to the Atacama Desert--it will busy time for us here.