Part 41

The wait overnight was bad–almost ten hours with not a lot to do stuck behind a sleepy airport gate and filled with half-started readings and fitful sleep–but the passage to Argentina went smoother, which was about the last time I could say that for the duration spent in that lovely country.

The plane ride was filled with more sleep and the giddy, super-powered dreams that come with fatigue and constant wakings. They were fearful sorts, scattered images of labs filled with test subjects rejecting the (now recovered and legitimate) cancer cure, monstrous shadow things in Australian mangroves turning into laughing, shiny-eyed gauchos whirling guns around their fingers and trick-shooting each other in the face, only to theatrically revive afterward. Somewhere in there, I think I found Ava and fell in love and found out she was only a ghost. Or a lizardperson.

So, pretty much the usual.

I stumbled out of the plane cabin and into the crush of Ministro Pistarini airport and was thankful for how dry it was, and also how much better the air-conditioning was. Felt almost like home in mid-spring.

I felt fairly cogent until I had to hop the last painful hurdle of most travel, the snaking customs line. I hinted earlier that there were parts of travel that could be dreaded but were necessary. Crossing borders is almost always the worst of that. Airports, thankfully, are a breeze compared to a road crossing somewhere by a dirt outpost and surrounded by bored guys with assault rifles (not that I go through many of those).

That’s the stereotype, anyway. A checkpoint boss with an ego and gun are easy to understand, compared to the hard-to-judge-easy-to-raise-suspicion sort of trained customs folks. And as some travelers will tell you, the most trying of all these is the return trip home; it’s like they condition those folks to be extra-wary of their own citizens.

I must have looked tired and not up to a full interrogation, so as I answered questions with as much smile as I could muster, the two agents looking me over (solo traveler on business looking for a friend is suspect, turns out) only went through one of my bags and only partially dismantled my phone and other small electronics from my carry-on.

They were refreshed to see I was Canadian and squinted close at my Brazil visa, then stamped me with my thirty days for Argentina and said to behave.

Which would have been all fine and dandy if some snootier lady from business class hadn’t thought I was trying to take her luggage off the carousel (my bags are black, yours was olive!) and raised all types of hell about it.

So, it was another few hours of questions, full luggage search, and reference checking. It was later in the day, but thank the forces that be that time zones run vertical and Canada was still very much awake. They did spare bothering my folks and went for the old friends and bosses, who I realize now probably should get some mea culpa gifts.

I still neglected to mention my ridiculous, second reason for travel.