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Wednesday, August 20, 2014

From Okotoks to Mendoza

Friday August 15, 2014, the day start very early around 3:45am at our friends place in Okotoks where we stayed the last 7 weeks after moving out of our condo, they were amazing to have us living with them.
We took the cab to Calgary airport at about 8am, our cab driver is a great guy he has been driving us the past 10 years, he knows all about us, he is a good friend, and he helped us with our luggage when we arrived at the airport, many huge suitcases hard to manage.

Getting to Air Canada counter with all our stuff was not an easy task, we had to ask an agent where we can get help for over size and over load luggage travelling with an handicap “my husband Marc”, she indicated a faraway counter, Air Canada Customer Care, that’s where we had the pleasure to meet Mike, what a great guy, he took all the pressure out of me, his first words to me were, don’t worry I will take care of you guys, and he did, he took care of all our check in luggage, one regular suitcase and 3 huge ones including one overload, prepared all the paper work, told me that next time we will see our luggage it will be in Mendoza, after what he put my husband in a wheel chair and push us though the security, up to Bubble one of the best bar at Calgary Airport, a great place to sit and relax before your flight, Mike came back before we boarded to check if everything was fine with us, the best customer service I ever encounter.

That first flight Calgary - Toronto was ok a lot of turbulence very shaky, it took 2h for the service to start. We arrived at Toronto got the wheel chair and an agent to push my husband, I was carrying my equipment in a backpack and one side bag, plus my computer bag and one carry on, it was impossible for me to push the wheel chair, at one point they change from the wheel chair to the golf cart, no space for me this time, and the driver was rude he told me just follow me, I had to run with all my stuff to keep up with him, my husband had to ask him to stop, and his answer was “she’ll find you” after few requests from Marc the driver agreed to stop.  Another agent came with a wheel chair up to the gate.

We were waiting having a beer at a cafĂ© in front of the gate, kind of strange nobody was around, the flight between Toronto and Santiago is always full, nobody means wrong door, in fact it was the wrong door and when we found out, we had no time to spare, no agent around to help, I began to push Marc wheel chair with one hand and start running, he used his cane to open the way, I am sure we look like crazy people, but we got to our door in time. The plane was delayed cause by problem with catering but Air Canada agents were very nice, cracking joke to help relax the atmosphere, we embarked 1/2h late, and the flight was very smooth, we drank few bottles of wine had diner and movies, my favorite one was The Angriest Man in Brooklyn with Robin Williams, if you like Robin Williams don’t listen to the bad critics, and watch it!  We probably sleep 3h during the flight, wake up got breakfast, and landed in Santiago, perfect flight, 11h without any turbulence, baby crying, just perfect all the way.

An agent was waiting for us with a wheel chair outside the plane, she was able to speak some English, she was so nice and relax, hey this is the way in South America, she bring us to Lan Chile, Lan is one of Air Canada Partner, they check our papers, and we were on our way to the gate, we asked Marisa to bring us to the best bar, and she found one close to our gate. Before boarding the attendant called us and change our seat, because Marc is handicap they put us in row one, at boarding they help Marc and also help me carrying my stuff, great service. As soon as we sat the agent came to us and asked Marc how she can assist him if the plane crash, his response was take my arm and run, she found that very funny!

What a beautiful flight this time we flew at a higher altitude over the Andes, because the flight is so short about 25min, you cannot use the washroom, you have to sit all the way, without using electronics, being in row one is great, but it is also difficult to use my big camera without being seen by the agents, at one point I couldn’t wait any longer took my camera out, took some great shots, and quietly put it back in the bag.  " All shots were done with my Canon 5D Markiii, Canon 24-105"

We landed in Mendoza,  they carried Marc down the stairs with their new elevator system, got into the airport, very small airport, the guy that was pushing Marc wheel chair didn’t spoke any English, he pushed us through the immigration picked up all our luggage asked one of his body to help him to get a cart, these 2 guys managed to put all of our luggage on one cart, pushed us through security, carried all the luggage back into the cart, walked us to the waiting area, we gave them a very good tip, we were out in less than 10 minutes. Few minutes later our friend arrived carried all our luggage in his truck, drove us to our house carried all the luggage in, drove us to our hotel and left. We are planning to go out with him and his partner for diner at one of Mendoza best restaurant this Friday. After he left we did some grocery shopping, drank some wine, got to bed around midnight, it was a very long 48h but a very smooth one, my biggest concern was the luggage, knowing how smooth it went I would of add one suitcase!!!

My next post will be about Mendoza, and as soon as we are installed and connected to the internet, I will work on some vlog, to show you my neighborhood.

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