Miami to Santiago, in a sardine can. My kingdom for a bed!

I was so looking forward to the overnight flight to Santiago. “Why?” you may ask. Well, I guess it’s because I thought an overnight flight would provide a little more leg room. I guess I was thinking about my last overnight flight to London. I guess I was looking forward to an airline giving me free food and wine. I guess I forgot about the flight we took to Amsterdam many years ago where I felt like one of those chickens. You know, the ones that aren’t “happy hens” or free range or “free to nest”; the ones that are crammed together and force-fed?

I didn’t feel quite like that on our flight to Santiago. After all, I had an aisle seat and the only person next to me was my husband. He slept the entire flight, except for the meals. He had space under the seat in front of him because he doesn’t carry a “small personal item”, in my case, a purse. He also didn’t have a huge metal box under the seat in front of him. I did. I had a purse and a metal box of unknown purpose  (although I’m sure someone knows the purpose) firmly attached to the bottom of the seat, leaving me with a few inches of space overlapping into my husband’s foot space. Or, I could have tripped people in the aisle.

On the positive side, the jack-in-the-box in front of me, who seemed to be someone known and revered by the flight crew, was able to change her seat to join her travel companions near the back. The fact that they didn’t have seats booked together and that the flight attendants were fawning over her suggests to me that she probably didn’t have to pay for her seat. (I digress.) We still don’t know who she was.

When a late arrival, a very tall man, took her place, I was sure he’d put his seat back into my lap as soon as he was allowed. I was wrong. He was very considerate, especially considering that his knees were probably pressed up against the seat in front of him.

On the other hand, for all the stretch-out room my husband had under the seat, he also felt as if he and the woman ahead of him were sleeping together.

I also appreciated the free food and wine. The E terminal of the Miami airport is a sad place for a hungry traveller. We were very hungry!

Fortunately, the flight to Santiago was only about 8 hours.

We’d booked a special pre-cruise package with our friends for the 3 days in Santiago. This began with a transfer from the airport to our lovely boutique hotel. On the ride to the hotel, our guide gave us very interesting insights into the modern history of Chile, as well as some useful tips about being tourists in Santiago.

Our hotel was lovely. We were the first of our party to arrive. It was especially fortunate that they had a spacious lobby, a good restaurant where we could get breakfast, and bathrooms we could use while we waited for our rooms. It was fortunate because we waited for our rooms for over 8 hours. We were told that check in time was 3. Our rooms would be ready at 3, unless we wanted a room with twin beds. We’d booked a room with a queen sized bed, so we said we’d wait.  The first couple arrived, close to noon. They were told the same thing. We’d already had breakfast but we walked with them to an area we’d been to earlier and had lunch. We waited a little longer. The rest of our group arrived about 3:30. The rooms weren’t ready. “Five minutes, ” we were told. There was a shift change at the desk.

Finally, our friend who had booked the package approached the desk and firmly asked about the rooms. He was given a vague answer about the rooms not being ready. He got out his phone and started to call the travel agent.  We were almost immediately called up to the desk. There was a problem with the double rooms. Would we take a suite for the same price? That was a no-brainer. We all checked in and discovered that 2 out of the 4 couples had a suite. Score!  We agreed to meet for a drink later in the bar by the pool.

It seems that one of our group later overheard a very angry Englishman complaining that he had booked a suite and didn’t get one. Sir, if I was in your suite, I apologize for the inconvenience, but seriously, I was just happy to get a room!

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