My last night in BA I went out on the town with my friend Robin, the Sea Captain I had met. He bought me a great steak
Without question, the best meal I had in SA
We had a few beers and even a few shooters
The next day I ran around BA getting ready to go and I saw a couple cool bikes on the street including this Royal Enfield
The woman that cleans at the Colonial Hostel had her little daughter with her and as I packed I had a helper. My God! She was so cute, I wanted to take her with me.
I said goodbye to my new friend, Lucas, the manager of the Colonial. He's a great guy. He sure made me feel at home for the five days I spent there. He was sorry to see me go.
So after saying goodbye. I began the epic flight(s) home or at least home to Miami. I saved a couple hundred bucks by taking one with two stops, and a 7 hour layover in Lima. Not sure I would do that again.
My friend Marduly, that I had met months before through Sebastian the manager of Houlihans in Lima came to the airport in Lima to see me and to break up the 7 hour wait. When we first met, months before, she was less than impressed by my trip or just didn't understand because of the language barrier. I'm not sure. It seemed though that once she understood the scope of the trip she became a fan of sorts. She and her friend Paula met me and we had a lunch and a couple drinks. That was nice and broke up the long airport wait.
From what I can understand Marduly manages a professional dance group, and Paula is a singer for the group. In any case, it is hard to really have a conversation but it was nice to see them and we still managed to have a few jokes and laughs and between my little bit of Spanish and their tiny bit of English we talked as best we could. It broke up the wait and i'm glad they took the time to come see me. They are both real outgoing characters and a lot of fun.
In any case, the girls left and I checked back in to take my next flight to El Salvador. That's when I tried to pay a $31 airport fee. I knew I would have to pay it because I left the secure area. I would have left the secure area even if I wasn't meeting my friends because I had such a long wait and I had no problem with the associated fee but all i had was Argentine Pesos. What a cluster! No Currency Exchange in the Lima Airport would change them. The Lima airport has several ATM's but they are all the same brand, I think it's called GlobalNet and it would not work with my card. In, short I could not get back into the secure area because i could not pay the fee. WTF!
The girls were long gone or I likely could have borrowed some Peru Soles from them so I was really stuck. I had about 2 and a half hours before my flight was going to leave without me.
I asked Taka Airlines for help. I suggested to their station manager that they might give me a cash advance on my Mastercard. NFW. Or simply bill me for the fee and pay it. NFW They were so unhelpful it wasn't funny.
I didn't know what to do. I sure didn't want to miss the flight with the associated costs and delays and I would have been stuck at the airport in any case because I couldn't even get a cab to a bank, with no Peru Money and no USA money. WAPITA. In hindsight Peru may have a law against taking ARG money and I was in more of a jam than I even imagined at the time. Just when you think your "going home" another challenge presents itself.
I started asking fellows travelers if they would be willing to exchange just $40 for me. One couple from the USA turned me down. Then, I explained my plight to some young guys from Chile who were backpackers. They understood the ARG money difficulties and very generously agreed to change some money for me. Saved!
I was in such a panic to make my flight I never even thought to get their names. But this is the young man that helped a fellow traveler out of a jam. When I told them about my ride report, they suggested this great picture of me and him with the much needed $40. and his new ARG pesos
I got my flight, with little time to spare.
In four hours I was flying over the beach at El Salvador
The El Salvador Airport. It was funny to be there, about 30 miles from Playa del Tunco where I had met Steph and Wilson so many months before.
A change of planes there and three hours later I was in Miami, where this morning I am up early, as always, waiting to see what today brings when I try, first to find my bike, and second, retrieve it.
Wish me luck.
I talked to Angele last night and the excitement in her voice was absolutely palpable, now that I was back in the USA, 5 months after beginning this awesome adventure.
We are both looking forward to seeing a lot of friends at the welcome home party. The response has been absolutely overwhelming. We have had to rent the Club BoisHebert in downtown Shediac to accommodate the anticipated crowd.
Hope to see you all there.