Saturday, April 19, 2008 (and Sunday, April 20, 2008)
We woke up early again, since we had gone to sleep so early. This meant we could leisurely pack, since Vinny wasn't coming until 11. We tried to put everything together in a manner where stuff was least likely to bend, break, etc. - this is a lot easier when most of the clothes are dirty and can just be shoved in the duffel bag. We had our last breakfast - the view was great, making us not want to leave, except for the fact the dogs were (hopefully) missing us.
Vinny called at 11 to tell us he would be a different car, and we should just get in the car with the driver and he would follow us. On the drive to the airport we passed through a couple of really long tunnels - well over a mile or two. They had large fans in there, presumably to keep the air from getting too stagnant. The airport left a lot to be desired; it must be very old, or it has no excuse. It is very dark, very small, with no restaurants and very few shops. There are no easily discernable plugs around the seating areas either. So we just sat there - forced to read (sigh) - for a couple hours waiting for them to call our flight.
On our reservation it said Rio to Santiago, and didn't mention anything about stopping in Sao Paulo, but that's what we did, with roughly a 90 minute stopover, which seemed exceedingly long for just picking up passengers. Anyway, we got to Santiago about 7:30 local time, with a little over three hours until our departure to LAX. The first part of the layover we actually had something to do, since for whatever reason the people in Rio could not (or would not) check our bags through. We made our reservations for the LAX-SCL roundtrip with American Airlines, who has a codeshare on the flight, but it is operated by LAN. We made our reservations for GIG-SCL with LAN, because there was no codeshare. Supposedly the people in Rio couldn't see our reservations with American.
The long and the short of it was that we had to go through customs and immigration in Santiago, pick up our bags, and then go right back through immigration. It didn't take too long, though, and we got two more stamps. Justin's passport is almost out of pages - he will probably have to order more before our trips to Antarctica and Australia in 2008 and 2009, respectively. By the way, as a point of trivia, the three places where you can go where you get to go to a new continent without going to a new country are Russia (Europe and Asia), Turkey (ditto), and Antarctica (either Argentina, South Africa, or Australia, plus the Antarctic continent).
After getting into the gate, we ate again at Ruby Tuesday's the one restaurant on the cool (literal, not figurative) side of the terminal. It's an L-shape, and for whatever reason one side has air conditioning and the other either does not or it doesn't work nearly as well. We boarded the plane and immediately tried to go to sleep, somewhat successfully. We were both up by 8am Rio time, which was 4am California time. The flight back was thankfully uneventful, as was our drive back to San Diego. The dogs were all doing well, as were the house and the plants.
All in all, another great trip. Vacation rules.