It is not that I have anything against the back row of aeroplanes. We have spent a lot of time in them. I accept that everyone should take their turn in the cheap seats. The problem is; David and I have had far too many turns. We have done our time and paid our dues. Let somebody else sit in the crappy seats for a while.
We checked-in for our LAN flight a full five hours before it left Santiago – see yesterday's post. Nobody can tell me we were among the last to check-in. How is it then that we were given seats in the absolute back row – again? What are we doing wrong!
Being in the back row we are close to last off the plane when it lands in Córdoba. Last in the extraordinarily long, slow queue through immigration and last to collect our bags. Except, of course, our bags are not there.
"Are you Mr Lindfield ?" asks the young woman from LAN ,"Your bags were not on the flight".
She speaks reassuringly excellent English and tells us that our bags will be on the first flight tomorrow morning and will be sent to our hotel. We want to believe her but we have trusted a long line of airline staff to get to this luggage-less point and so far our trust has not been re-paid.
The quarantine officers are searching everyone's bags. Their suspicions are aroused by our lack of luggage.
"How long are you staying in Argentina?" They say.
"Two weeks." – we reply
"You have two laptops and one small backpack?"
"Our bags are lost."
They smile and sympathise. Their suspicions disappear.
It is getting late when we finally leave the airport. The man from the car rental company is waiting for us. We explain why we are so late. He laughs and tells us the bags will turn up because we flew LAN. If it was Aerolineas Argentinas (the Argentine National Airline) we would not see them again.
The paperwork to rent our car takes forever. I am nervous. Córdoba is the second largest city in Argentina and our hotel is in the centre. I do not want to have to find it in the dark. This is not our first visit to Córdoba. I know that driving here is difficult and chaotic. David was stung by a bee the night before we left Sydney. One eye is swollen and his vision is limited. Wisely, he doesn't tell me how limited until we are safely cocooned in our hotel room. We make it with 10 minutes of daylight to spare.
We are tired, stressed and strung-out. We will deal with the problem of our lost luggage tomorrow. For now we are ecstatic to have a hot shower and order room service. I go to bed wishing I had never left home.