In this journal:
- I get slapped by a ladyboy at 2am
- Argentinean voting system
- 19 hours on the same plane’s business class
The landing was rough, as the thunderstorm had shaken us all about. A large traffic jam was also formed at Ezeiza airport, so we had to sit on the tarmac for over 40 minutes to wait for a gate. We eventually arrived 1.5 hours later than scheduled, so I sat in this 777-200LR for an astounding 22 hours.
I dashed out of the plane as I have taken enough plane rides this time, and proceeded through immigration. Ezeiza airport was in complete chaos after the thunderstorm, but I got out of the terminal in one piece.
My local Argentina contact is my dear friend Leonardo. He picked me up and we were off to his home. I desperately needed an actual bed at the moment. So upon arriving home, I passed out on my bed, after making sure it was perfectly flat.
I woke up to realize I had never been to Leonardo’s home, as I usually take hostels instead in Buenos Aires. To cut my cost down on this trip I had to resort to annoying my friends. The view from his apartment is otherworldly. This 24-story building is literally 500m from AEP airport, so I got to see planes landing all day long, and a view into Rio de la Plata was not shabby as well.
I will not ramble on my days in Buenos Aires too much. I spent most of my days watching Aerolineas Argentina B737 landing, with the sporadic LAN coming in as well. I did something else, as one night Leonardo showed me the strange lady-boys in Palermo parks.
Trust me, they are legit guys, with your ding dongs and what not. These strange people stood in the dark streets in the parks dressed like girls, and was supposed to be prostitutes. I have no idea how it works, but the only thing I know is that they hit me quite hard through the car window when they realized I was taking pictures. Ugh the things I do to get the attention of cute girls on my blog…(not these lady boys!)
I will not cover my days in Buenos Aires in much detail, as I have done everything that a tourist should do last time I was here, so if you are interested, please check the link out.
I also got a chance to see the important elections for the local government on 13th of August. I went to a voting station with Leonardo as he had to vote: it is mandatory in Argentina.
But everything fun had to end, unfortunately, and Leonardo started our drive back to Ezeiza airport. I shook hos hand, and alas, became a loner yet again. Upon entry into the terminal, a scenery of chaos unfolded before my eyes.
I intentionally arrived at 8pm for my check-in, as I wanted to look at both lounges here in the terminal. But as I approached the Qatar Airways check in counter, I was put in awe. Long lines had already been formed at the economy line, with people holding onto their 17th duffel bag piled on a cart. The flight departs at 11:10pm, more than 3 hours later, and some airlines barely open their counters at that time!
Thank god I did not have to join the party, and I came to a lady standing by the entrance which held a sign for premium check in. She checked my passport against the roster, and waved me in to priority lane. In 10 minutes I got my boarding passes, but before I left, the hostess begged me: please, please go upstairs to clear security now. I would soon know why.
A bad design of the lounge invitation is that it is wider than the boarding pass packet, so you have to hold it separately. This is likely the most first world of the problems I have encountered.
I climbed upstairs to realize the line for security was longer than my list of complaints for this flight. After a few twists and turns, coupled with lack of fast track security, I was neck deep in this Satan’s dance party. 3 hours early of check in ahead and hostess begging me to immediately go through security, that is a first.
I finally made it through after about an hour of ball-foundling. The security was very strict, asking for shoes to be taken off just like USA. The first lounge in this journal will be American’s Admiral’s Club, and surprisingly this one was not trash. Still, not something to praise for, but better than its US counterparts. (better than their homebases, ironic, eh?)
I entered the lounge and was quickly cleared, and I found this lounge to be very well lit. Pros include good ambiance and great selection, as there were some local food selections such as 3 flavors of empanadas as well as a Freddo ice cream collection, which I think was the most delicious part of the lounge food.
Cons include the fact that there is no sitting variance, as all seats were flimsy like Ryanair plastic chairs, with just a few lounging chairs available. Also there were no privacy whatsoever, because there were no partitions or private pods.
Then I checked out the LATAM business lounge, which Qatar also gave me a lounge pass for. This lounge was the same size as Admiral’s Club, and had a more grandiose entry.
The food selection was just cold sandwiches and cold cuts, as Admiral’s Club had at least hot mashed potatoes and chicken. The wine selction was more diverse, and the drink selection even included my favorite Argentinean junk drink Levite, which was basically tasty artificial juice. This lounge also had a Freddo fridge, one of the best amenities they could have.
The sitting area was much more diverse. There was a few dining tables, a lot of lounging chairs, and seating for groups. One of the best touches was also the beautiful working area, completed with power ports and bright lighting.
However, the workstations needed special passwords to log in, which I always find strange. I did not have time to analyze the details, as the flight was about to board. Gate 1 through 7 were in the hideous old terminal, while all the others leave from the beautiful new one, which was directly connected with the old terminal. QR774 was at gate 3, so I had to endure the cramped old terminal.
The boarding was well underway by the time I arrived. Strangely, there was no priority lane, as there were 3 agents scanning boarding passes for a clusterfuck of people. As a privelidged kid, I cut the line from the left (does it count as cutting the line if there was no line to begin with?) and boarded through gate L2.
This kind of review gets boring quite fast, so I will spare you the details of my return trip. Everything was the same as my inbound, shitty seat, good service, great food. I chose seat 5K this time because I wanted to see if the bulkhead sacrifice of space was worth it. (spoiler:it is not)
A girl seemed to have been flirting with a dude sitting at seat 6F before boarding, and then realized the dude was actually in Business Class (to Sao Paolo though). She stayed by his side, flirting extra hard during the entire boarding process. Seriously, I think she would do it right there on the seat with him if it was allowed. I have flown Business for a few years now, why was no girl that eager to jump in bed with me?
We pulled back right on time, passed an Air New Zealand A330, an AeroMexico plane type “I do not remember”(probably B787?), and a Turkish B777, and took off into the darkness.
Next was standard procedure. FOOD. AND MORE FOOD.
The crew was eager to take the menu off my hand and I did not have time to take pictures. The other main option was the ravioli I tried on my way there, so you do not miss too much.
2 hours quickly passed by and we landed at Sao Paolo airport right on time. Same spring cleaning happened, and I got a new set of menus to munch on.
Something delayed our pushback way past 3am, and as usual almost all passengers swapped out, making me suspect if Qatar added Buenos Aires just to earn money from the leg between EZE and GRU.
Business class was 70% full, while economy was about 60%. I fully enjoyed the onboard everything as I barely managed to sleep 3 hours in the angled seats.
The breakfast was served right after take off at 4am, which I gratefully declined. When you can order anything anytime, you can say no. The breakfast smoothie was again, heavenly.
We took a different route back to Doha, going through north Africa and Turkey, instead of through Ethiopia like last time.
Upon landing, I rushed through the transit security to visit the beautiful Al Mourjan lounge, just to see it again. It was so beautiful that any business passenger should visit, even on 90 minute transit like mine.
After chowing down the final piece of the sandwich in my favorite area, the Deli, I continued to the gate for Ho Chi Minh City flight. The same plane tags on to Phnom Penh, so it would only stay in Saigon for a little while.
Qatar’s fine logistics forced our A330 into a remote stand just for laughs, and this time there was not even a premium bus. I was hauled to my seat 4K, and was handed the usual peasant-proof gears.
I opted out of the midnight meal service, and went straight to sleep. The seat on the A333 was lie flat, but it was also extremely tight, with about 18″ of width, so about an Economy seat’s. As a result, my shoulders hurt like hell for the rest of my journey. The 2-2-2 configuration was not even necessary, as the cabin was barely half full!
The food was high quality as usual, and the breakfast smoothie was also heavenly, again. The rest was just self-explanatory.
A little bit of rain came up on the approach, making the window view particularly poetic.
What a great ride! Now, we continue to actually somewhere new, a place that I had to explore myself: Vietnam.
-=ForeverYoung|Qatari Hop 2017=-