Wednesday, March 30, 2011

A Terrorist Attack In Buenos Aires

It was Monday March 21 in Buenos Aires. I was at the Aero Parque Airport getting ready to Board Lan Argentina flight number 4544 to Sao Paulo. I was looking forward toa rriving and going to my daughter's apartment. It was going to be a nice evening and final time together before I flew back to the US the following day.

I heard that an Aerolinas Argentina flight going to Santiago had been cancelled. My flight kept getting delayed. Then there was an announcement that all flights in the Buenos Aires area had been delayed due to problems with the air traffic control system. I ate a late lunch and was sure that we would start flying again. Then the awful news came that all flights had been cancelled. We were told to recover our luggage.

I did so. I saw a huge line forming for the airlines counters. I declined to get involved with this madness. I heard aBuenos Aires radio commentator comment tha tit would take 72 hours to get flights back to normal. I caught a taxi and went back to the Bohemia Buenos Aires Hotel. When I arrived I was thankful that they had a room for me.

The next morning the television news and newspapers gave the chilling news that sabotage was suspected in the crash of the air traffic control system for a city of 16 million people. Perhaps it was some disgruntled union people demanding a 25% raise to cover the ravages of inflation. Perhaps iot was some terrorist group trying out a new tool.

If you have been a pilot or a passenger for many years you get very frightened when you hear about an air traffic control system crashing. If you are up there in the air, you know where your plane is. But you do not know what is going on around you. There could have been quite a number of midair collissions during that failure. Hundreds or thousands of people could have been killed. God knows what the property losses could have been!

The next morning I went to the LAN Argentina office. I got the oggod news that I could fly out Wednesday March 23 to Sao Paulo and then connect with flights back to the USA.

It was a rainy and cool Wednesday when I arrived again at Aero Parque Airport full of hope tha tI would make it out of Buenos Aires. I got my bag checked and passed through security and immigration. I went back to gates 13-14 to wait. We boarded the flight late. We sat on the ground for a couple of hours.  We saw people getting off other flights. Our captain announced that baggage handlers at the airport had staged a wildcat strike and no luggage was being loaded on aircraft. Somehow we got our luggage loaded and began the long taxi in the rain and cold. Our plane lifted off into zero visibility weather. We bounced for the first hour. I was in dread. I was sure that any moment we would collide with another plane hidden in the clouds. I wondered if any one was in air traffic control.

We got through the zero visibility and climbed above the clouds. We made it to Sao Paulo. Iw as rushed on a flight to Lima and connected with a flight to LosANgles. I was releived to be still alive.

Monday, March 14, 2011

In South America

In South America

Mon 14 Mar 2011, 14:21        0  Comment(s)     Email article
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I am still in Bariloche, Argentina. If you die and go to heaven this must be what it is like. Last week I explored the city. I joined with Alicia Basualdo of Van Ditmar Properties to look at several properties. I found the 2 bedroom apartment that is the property of my dreams. I have made a tentative offer and am hoping for the best.

I had some wonderful meals and discovered that the people here are very friendly and courteous. There is little or no street crime. Saturday I rode a city bus oput to a place called Llao Llao. It is the site of an incredible 5-star hotel truly for the rich and famous. I climbed a steep hill to get to another hotel in the area. I ate lunch in its dining room. My table was right by the balcony with the most fabulous view of a lake that I have seen in my life. If that was my moment to die, I would die happy.

My wife Elena also returned to our home in Pacifica. our dear sick dog Eloisa is still alive and holding on. I pray that she makes it.

Now I am off to explore the small city.

Monday, March 7, 2011

In South America

I have been in South America since 22 February. I started in Sao Paulo with 3 wonderful days with my daughter Anna in Sao Paulo. It was hot and humid. Cab fares were awful. I saw an economy booming! I went up to San Jose dos Campos and saw an incredible booming city with all sors of green and bio tech industries going in. I then flew to Rio de Janeiro and landed at Santos Dumont Airport. I marveled at a harbor full of off shore oil rigs, freighters, and tug boats. Rio is booming!!!!! I got a cab to the Acapulco Hotel. It has been my hangout in Rio since 1975. I got checked in and walked around Copacabana and Ipanema beaches. It was such a nostalgic moment. I was also surprised to see that street crime had gone down and one could walk safely along the beaches. The following day I took a cab drive over to Niteroi across the big bridge to go and see my dear friends Fabiano and Fabiane Vieiera. Their new apartment was spectacular. We went out to lunch and I got to know their two sons better. They took me on a tour of Niteroi afterwards including the beach area and Nedemeyer Museum. I was sad when the wonderful day ended. The following day I flew from Santos Dumont Airport to Campinas. I then flew to Goiania. This is a small and provincial city near Brasilia. I was met by Joao and Djenane. We had lunch with a poor and humble family. It was a wonderful meal. We then went to their apartment. I unloaded the things I had brought for them. I also got to meet my 22 month old grand daughter Bianca. She is addorable. I spent two days with them and flew back to Campinas and caught a bus to Sao Paulo. I stayed in my daughters apartment one night and took a long taxi ride to the Sao Paulo internationl aiport. I caught a flight to Rio de Janeiro and landed at the Aero Parque Airport. I was able to use my Argentina DNI to enter and saved a $132 fee. Poor Elena and Patricia had gone to the international airport to meet me. THey then went to the airport where I landed. They missed me. They found me at the Bohemia Buenos Aires Hotel. We went to Federale and had a great lunch. We had two good days of exploring Buenos Aires. We had a wonderful evening with Elenas brother Miguel.Then we got the shocking news that our dog Eloisa is terminally ill. It was a giant crisis. On Sunday morning I flew to Bariloche in the Andes Mountains I will be here two weeks. I hope to find some peace and rest.