We woke up a little earlier today, 11 instead of noon. We packed in relatively short order, after we realized our flight to El Calafate was at 15:00, not 16:00. We got a move on, headed downstairs, and ordered a cab. We were told there was some sort of strike going on, so we had to wait for a cab. During the wait, Justin ran to the nearby ATM, since we needed pesos. It was sunny and warm today, which was nice, but wasn't so great in the cab where it was hot and stuffy. Crystal was not feeling well in the taxi, and thankfully between rolling down the windows and getting the tollway just in time, disaster was averted.

It was about 50 minutes to EZE, and complete disarray at the airport. Apparently there had been a strike in the morning, going from midnight until noon. Because of this, dozens of flights were trying to check in, and people just went wherever, with no attention paid to the "correct" lines. We were already checked in (for whatever reason, they checked us in for this flight in LAX almost 48 hours prior), and all we needed to do was leave our bags, but the "bag check" line was being used for cheking people in. While waiting in the morass, we ran into some folks also headed to El Calafate. One couple was from DC, the other from Melbourne. The DC couple had tried to fly out the day before, unsuccessfully, and had been at the airport since 6am. They seemed far more composed than we (particularly Justin) would have been.

After 90 minutes of standing essentially stationary, the Melbourne couple waved frantically, as they'd found out that despite every other flight being delayed by hours, ours apparently was on time, and was due to depart in 30 minutes. We were whisked to the front of the line, and checked our bags in rapid fashion. Then we had to run to our gate, only it wasn't that easy. There was confusion over where to board, since there weremultiple Gate 27s, one in the building we were in, and another in a different building. As it was, we had to run over to Terminal C in the heat, avoiding cars and other tourists.

We made it through security in record time, and got to the gate just before it was set to depart. Only there was no one at the gate. The board said the flight was on time, but there was no gate agent. We took advantage of the brief respite to grab a Quilmes. Oh, and breathe, we did that too. After exhaling a bit, we saw the board had been updated from "on time" to "Ask Agent," whatever that meant. The flight wasn't delayed, wasn't cancelled, and certainly wasn't on time - we weren't sure what to make of that. We would have loved to have asked an agent, only there still was no gate agent. We wondered when we'd actually leave. At about this time, we had a big adrenaline crash.

At 16:55, the board said we'd leave at 17:00 - we were extremely dubious. We actually boarded around 17:30, taking a couple buses from the gate to the plane. Once on the plane, nothing was happening. It seemed like we were waiting for someone, perhaps someone was late. We were in the front of the plane, right near the stairwell, and could see everything. It was a bit like the end of the movie Argo, where everyone was super nervous and hoping for the flight to finally get off the ground. Finally, we saw a bus coming, with what we assumed were the final passengers.

But the bus was empty. And then came another empty bus. A sick feeling came over us - it was obvious we were going to deplane. An employee got on the microphone and spoke in Spanish first - the groaning confirmed our thoughts. In English, they told us we needed to deplane because of strike - that was it. There was an uproar from the passengers, many of whom had been at airport even longer than us. We got off the bus in area where no one else was. About 30 cops came in, which did not give us a warm fuzzy. No one had any real information, there was no explanation of why, there was no explanation of any rebooking, hotel, food, vouchers, transportation, etc. Instead, there was mass confusion.

Nigel, a British tourist, was eventually was the "mic," as the were no speakers in the room. Sadly, Nigel had no new information for us. At this point, we knew we weren't going to Perito Moreno tomorrow, and had moved past that - now we were worried about missing Explora altogether. There was supposedly a new flight the next day from the other airport, but it wasn't clear if we were automatically rebooked yet. We were concerned there was no way they could take all of us and get us all on that flight, so we decided to just purchase new tickets for the flight tomorrow, to assure us a spot. Meanwhile, none of us could leave the room, and none of us had our bags. We waited for our bags for almost two hours. All the while, we still had no concrete information on buses or hotels.

Eventually we gave up on them, and just got a room at BoBo, since we knew the hotel and knew it was close to the other airport, AEP. Shortly after we got our bags, one of the other passengers told us we had been rebooked (they found out by checking their confirmation code on LATAM website - there was no email). We found out we had been rebooked as well after searching the LATAM website. So now we had multiple tickets for the same flight the next day. As to that problem, we figured we'd work it out the next day. We took a taxi back to town, and got to the BoBo around 22:30, over 10 hours after we first left. The front desk simply said "Welcome back."

For dinner - we hadn't eaten all day - we tried to go to Don Julio, but it was full, as 22:30 is prime dinner time. So instead we went to La Popular, across the street. The food was pretty good, and if nothing else much cheaper. Justin tried to order some empanadas as well as some sausages, and the waitress told him no, that was too much. So he just ordered the empanadas. When he finished those, he ordered a sausage. ;-) After dinner, we went to the ATM again, as we now needed more Argentine pesos, and we grabbed some water on the walk back. We got back to the hotel a little after midnight, and set our alarm for 8.

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