So I started writing this in Panera Bread in Vorhees, but they have limited their internet access to 30 minutes during the lunch hours. I didn't get to finish let alone post this when I was there so I'm now awake at 2:40 AM at home, monitoring the weather to be sure I make it out on time due to a few feet of snow in Detroit where my flight originates. I'm finding it hard to believe that it was a year ago that I started my adventures and that I will once again return to Chile in (hopefully) two days.
Even though I may not show it, it's a stressful time for me as I prepare to return to Santiago. My time has been busy with saying goodbyes to family and friends, buying anything I would possibly need and not have readily available in Santiago, changing over currency to have Argentinean and Uruguayan pesos, and preparing my dad for his visit. I've been putting off packing due to laziness and unwillingness to create a detailed packing list of each piece of luggage, but I know that it is the best thing to do to prevent things from getting stolen from my luggage.
Written on Monday afternoon at Panera:
The weather forecast has had me nervous too, but it looks like it will be fine in the end. Snow (we're expecting a few inches) is forecast for Tuesday, which will then change over to sleet/freezing rain and then rain on Wednesday. By the time I fly on Thursday morning everything should be fine, so that's a relief.
I'm also doing research for my trip to Montevideo, Buenos Aires, and Iguazu Falls, as I will be traveling there for 9 days before work starts up again in early March. Wikitravel is a good (and free!) source of information, and after googling "iguazu falls hostel" I was surprised to see that there are hostels there. I wil be staying with a friend from my exchange year in Germany who lives in Buenos Aires, so it will be great to catch up with him and have a bit of a personal tour guide while I am there.
Written at 2:40 AM Wednesday morning:
My dad woke me up a little after 1 AM, telling me that my flight Thursday morning from Philadelphia to Fort Lauderdale originates in Detroit, which is currently under a few feet of snow. Basically that flight will inevitably get cancelled, so I've started doing research on changing my ticket. US Airways is awesome in that they waive all change fees in the case of a flight advisory (which this situation is), just like what I had to do last week when coming back from Los Angeles. But the problem is that I got my ticket through cheaptickets.com The US Airways rep on the phone told me I'd have to go through them to make changes. So what does cheaptickets.com charge to change my ticket? 225 bucks. Yeah.
Plan B? Let's call up Avianca, who has the authority to change my ticket since 2 of the 3 flight segments are through them. So how much do they want to get me on a flight from Philadelphia to Fort Lauderdale 2 hours earlier that originates in Philadelphia? 843 bucks. Hmmm.
Plan C? Call a friend who works for US Airways. Apparently if I go to the airport in person I might be able to get on the flight originating in Philadelphia a few hours earlier.
Plan D? I could fly out at 8:40 PM tonight (what a way to spend the night of my birthday) and then spend the night in the airport until my flight at 1 PM.
On a happier and less anxious note, I got to see Linkin Park in concert last night. It was quite a different venue than where I normally see them in a few different ways:
1. It was winter.
2. It was an inside venue.
3. We had assigned seats.
Prior to this I had always seen them in summer or spring, and with the exception of Las Vegas it was always an outdoor venue. Dana and I arrived plenty early since we weren't sure what to expect with traffic and parking.
This was my first time to the Wells Fargo Center, and it was huge. There were 3 huge tiers of seating and then standing room for VIP ticketholders. We got Wawa sandwiches to eat in the car and just got funnel cake before the concert started.
We ended up sitting behind a group of guys speaking Spanish, and after striking up a conversation with them I found out that they were from Peru, with one guy from Mexico City. It was cool talking with them about areas of Peru I had been to, and the guy from Mexico City knew Tepoztlan (a town outside of Mexico City where I took language classes for 2 weeks back in 2008). We talked after the concert too, and it was cool getting to talk to them.
The concert was great, as I expected. I wasn't anywhere near as close to the stage as I was in Santiago or Las Vegas, but I didn't mind. I didn't even recognize the first cover band and only a few songs of the second one, but when Linkin Park took the stage the place exploded. They played pretty much all of the same songs that I heard in Santiago.
Now that I can't sleep, I have a good reason to finish my packing and packing lists and finishing up the mundane details I've been putting off. The weather will certainly make my last 24 hours or so at home(and my birthday) more adventurous than I was expecting.
Hopefully my next update will be from the Fort Lauderdale airport or Santiago. Everyone reading please wish me luck!