Our flight from Atlanta to Saõ Paulo, Brazil, was actually the third flight we had taken during this travel day, already having flown from Seattle to Atlanta via Charlotte, North Carolina. I detail this to say that this was perhaps the most exhausting 24 hours of the entire trip.
And, although we had steeled our for it, Angela and I were flagging by the time we endured the long layover in Saõ Paulo and boarded our fourth and final flight to Buenos Aires, Argentina. We were so tired, in fact, that both of us fell asleep during takeoff and, with our ears plugged, stayed asleep throughout some pretty intense turbulence.
We woke as the plane began its descent, surprised at how quickly the time had passed. I looked out the window and remarked to Angela that Buenos Aires was much more mountainous than I expected. One of the other passengers overheard and corrected me, saying that I was looking at Saõ Paulo, not Buenos Aires. Our airplane had experienced a malfunction, and we had been forced to return to our departure airport.
We were on a Boeing 737 MAX 8.
The turbulence had been the pilots wrestling with the airplane. It was five days before the Ethiopian MAX 8 crash would occur.
No one complained about travel delays when we landed safely and were transferred to another airplane that, thankfully, wasn’t a MAX 8.
For Angela and I, a day of four flights turned into a day of five. And we were grateful for it.
But we were exhausted, so we spent the first two days in Buenos Aires sleeping and counting our blessings. After that, however, we roused ourselves to walk all around the city, finding some incredible art and a vibrant political scene.
Angela and I took the ferry across the Rio de la Plata for an extended day trip to Colonia del Sacramento, Uruguay. And we whiled away the hours strolling along the cobblestone streets and tasting some excellent beers.
From Buenos Aires, we flew to Ushuaia, the southernmost city in the world and the departure point from Tierra del Fuego to Antarctica.
Although the trip had thus far been one incredible experience after another, we both felt the anticipation building for our cruise to the seventh continent. It would be an eleven-day excursion aboard G Adventure’s G Expedition research vessel. We sailed from Ushuaia through the Drake Passage and on to the South Shetland Islands before arriving at the Antarctic Peninsula.
With six landings, numerous Zodiac excursions, a polar plunge, and shots of homemade vodka at the world’s southernmost bar, this was a legendary adventure and one that made a profound impact on us both.
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