But hey, you get what you pay for. Besides, it’s all about the destination (is what I kept telling myself whilst trying to get some kip alternately on a cold marble floor and across a row of seats whose armrests plainly say “we are not for sleeping on”). I got a good solid half-hour shut eye before deciding it wasn’t worth the effort and voting in favour of the staring blankly at the grey speckled walls and wandering around aimlessly as a way to pass the time. I must say that airports are very boring between the hours of 12 and 5am; no people to watch, no games of “guess the nationality” to play (it was too easy to guess that the cleaning staff in Madrid airport were going to be Spanish).
Had I not already spent 12 hours waiting around for my connecting flight I should think the 11 and a half hour flight would have been more bearable – but on the plus side I did catch up on some sleep and at least I didn’t have to go through security again or pick up my baggage (previously having been clueless as to how it worked with non-direct flights). I don’t really feel like I have the right to complain about the lack of inbuilt TVs when personally I’m still pretty amazed by how aeroplanes stay up. It was quite dull though – the monotony was occasionally broken by the arrival of food (I really enjoy the fact that transatlantic flights are obliged to provide food) or the renewed squawkings of the child a couple of rows down; nothing like a 3-year-old going “deedleedleeedleeedleeedleeedleeedle” to keep you entertained.
The food provided its own source of entertainment: at least 30 minutes of distraction spent in attempting to navigate my way through a meal balanced on a tiny tiny tray table without elbowing my fellow passenger or throwing it all over myself. Mission accomplished.
About 8 years later we landed and faced the joy of immigration (I literally don’t think I’ve ever been in a longer queue, and the guy behind me kept muttering angry things in multiple different languages, very strange). Spent ages waiting for my bag because I was at the wrong place (doh) so ended up getting out a lot later than I’d expected and the poor taxi guy had had to wait for like 2 hours but hey ho.
Got to the hostel fine and its a shame I’m only staying one night because the people here are all lovely and it’s really chilled; spent a bit of time chatting last night and am very reassured about the whole trip: there’s loads of solo travellers and they all love South America. Good sign!
Hopefully going to get the bus to my next destination soon, bit scared I may miss it but we shall see!