Friday 23 March 2012

Wednesday 21st March - the day we leave Argentina

Words by Panda, shame by Mars

And so we wend our weary way from Argentina to Chile, leaving behind the friends we've made in Buenos Aires. There were no tears as we waved farewell to Amy and Ray - tangoist extraordinaires and our BA hosts for the Tour's first week - but the silence of the bus rolling slowly away from the Conventillo De Lujo told it's own story. We're all coming back here one day. There's very little doubt about that. Maybe not today. Maybe not tomorrow. But soon and - perhaps for some - the rest of our lives.

Hang on. Let's rewind to that "maybe not today" bit. Because - while the lure of returning to Buenos Aires at some point in the distant future seems irresistible - as we sat in traffic and composed songs which celebrate our cricketing inadequacies whilst also commenting on one particular Dor's penchant for a freshly shorn scrotum - high above us The Fates were circling, pyramiding their fingers contemplatively and conspiring to throw a spanner the size of a rib eye from La Cabrera into the works.

And slowly...

And surely...

They drew their plans against us.

Seven days earlier we'd arrived at Buenos Aires International brimful of excitement, nerves and Iberia lager. But, as Harold Wilson (or was it Larwood?) said "a week is a long time in cricket" and so it was a very different, despondent, dishevelled group of tourists that entered the terminal to find that our flight had just been reclassified on the departures board as DESCHARGO. Hurried attempts at translation proved unnecessary. The board did it for us.




Everyone panics. I don't care what your name is. But you take a few deep breaths to clear the head and then you start on a solution. Yeah, that's not the 'Dors way. Even those that left on this trip with the same flair for Spanish as a breeze block were, by this stage, versed enough in the language to understand words like "no señor," "haste impossible" and "mañana" as they wafted back over Mars' head like a flying 6 from the meat of the bat.

As we would come to discover, the timings of flights on our itinerary were a metaphorical round peg whilst those on our tickets had the look and feel of a round hole. Consequently, we had arrived somewhere in the region of the length of a Graeme Smith innings too late for our passage to Chile. Blame, of course, had to be apportioned. How else could we hope to rib and bully and generally extract urine from those deigned to be responsible? Mars didn't even need to fall on his proverbial sword. All it took was a slight lean forward towards it and the rest of the group provided the required shove to successfully skewer him.

No one really knows who started laughing first. Suspicions were later attributed to someone fitting the description of: a pasty-faced Western European man with a little sunburn around the neck area, somewhat doughy about the midsection and wearing chinos, a white shirt, blue and silver striped tie and a navy blue jacket of a material as yet unidentified by science. Finding suspects matching that description isn't going to be easy. Finding suspects matching that description laughing their monkey asses off on the concourse of Buenos Aires International Airport, however, is a very different story.

By the time we had picked ourselves up off the highly-polished floor and dabbed the tears from our eyes, we'd already been re-booked on a later flight. Like a fire immediately extinguished by the diminishing oxygen it's burning - or a middle order 'Dors batsman playing a tour game in Argentina - the problem disappeared almost as quickly as it had come.

Massive props, yet again, go to Gary Savage for his smoothness in handling the issue before it even became one. Massive fines go to Mars for... well, that seems pretty obvious, right?

So, following six or seven more hearty cries of "Alpha Whores" to accompany seemingly endless team photos taken against a giant Lego flag of the country we were on our way... if you just hurry past the 5 hour wait, the airport sandwiches that required a mortgage to purchase, a spirited game of travel Trivial Pursuits that would become strangely prophetic 24 hours later and Skip getting felt up by security staff after setting off the metal detectors and then returning to the scene of the crime to collect his misplaced phone after he'd already negotiated passport control. How he doesn't get hit by more buses is a mystery to us all.

Barbarossa was the first to his feet a millisecond after the seat belt sign blinked off following a textbook take-off from BA. None of the other tourists knew if he was planning on following Tour protocol for the flight - as had been agreed upon on the roof of the Conventillo the night before - and, frankly, none of us wanted to know either.

Two hours later, with little more than the unimaginably breathtaking sweep of the Andes out of the port window to amuse or stimulate, we were once again on terra firma and on our way to the beating heart of the Chilean capital which would become our home for the second week of Tour.

Almost incomprehensibly, Santiago might have made an even better first impression on us than Buenos Aires. Even the sight of a young Chilean lady forcibly projectile vomiting as she waited to cross the street in front of our bus only served to dampen the sidewalk rather than our spirits.

And that's where we'll leave you for another day. There'll no doubt be reams and reams of bloggish gibberish to come on our Santiagan accommodation and the city itself. But what counts is that The 'Dors are here. We're here to chew some bubblegum and play some international cricket...

...and we're all out of bubblegum.



1 comment:

  1. COTDOT!! And yes, you've got to keep your eyes on the Mallard at all times when travelling...