This Crazy Travel Story is written by a fantastic person and a very dear friend of mine, Kjetil Bjørnhom from the blog Kjetil SouthAmerica.
Last week, I travelled to La Paz, and while I was waiting for my flight back to Cochabamba, I saw three “gringos” being denied check in on their flight to Santiago due to that they came 40 minutes before take off. The three guys were very upset, and I started to feel bad for them.
However, it made me think about Kjetil, and the time he lost his flight from Buenos Aires back to Bolivia. So I asked him to share his story here, and luckily for us he said yes to do so. So here over to the Crazy Travel Story of Kjetil:
My crazy travel story that I will share with you happened more than a year ago. Before I took my first steps on South American soil 11th of January 2014, I had never left Europe. I had never slept in a hostel, I had never travelled without friends, I had never taken a bus for more than 5 hours, and I had never had stomach issues, never got robbed nor left the coast or been higher than 1000 meters above sea level. When I left Europe with a passport clean for stamps I felt I was going for unknown territory.
But once a newbie doesn’t mean always a newbie. I made my way 2500 meters up in the Bolivian highland, far away from the ocean I always have had close to me. I managed to get friends, I managed to get some stomach issues and I managed to get my iPhone robbed, and I really had a great time! Everyone I became friends with could relate to the same things and I spent such a great time trying new and different things. During my time in Bolivia I was working as a volunteer and after some time we got a little vacation. Me and one of my best friends and colleagues at the time found some very cheap flight tickets round trip to Buenos Aires, Argentina. As we got to see the Argentinian capital and I got to sleep in a hostel for the first time of my life. It was some good days, until the very last day…
Well, it was a Friday, I remember that last day of waking up, and rushing though the last touristic sites of Palermo as the rain was pouring down in a very grey edition of the capital. 3 and a half hours before the takeoff we carried our bags through a city in rush-hour. We calculated as soon as we would get a Taxi, we would be out of here and at the airport in 45 minutes. But when the hostel told us they couldn’t call us a Taxi we understood something was wrong. We rushed out to the main avenue looking for a taxi, the raindrops got bigger, and the luggage heavier. We start to get more desperate. When we couldn`t find a Taxi in 9 de Julio, the widest avenue in the whole world, it was hard to believe that we would ever get a taxi at all in this world. Or the thing is the city was packed with cars and taxies, but they were all full. Why? Because the same week a bus driver had been killed on duty so there were no buses at all, so therefore everyone were taking taxis. The bus drivers were protesting for the lack of security while on duty, but with all the respect, why do you have to protest when I have an airplane booked back to Bolivia? God, the world really felt unfair, at least for a spoilt boy from Norway. As it was 1 hour until the takeoff we threw the towel in, I had lost my first flight.
2 hours later we find ourselves on a Mc Donalds, making our minds up, things wasn’t as bad as it first appeared to be. Because after all we were alright, in good company and we had free Wi-Fi, so how could we possibly complain? It was just a god damn flight, and we had it way more fun than we could have ever had it on that flight. The only problem was that it was already Friday night, and we had to be back on work by Monday morning. How could we ever sort that out? Alcohol.
The weather had already cleared up when we got thrown out of Mc Donalds, after all, we had no place to sleep and we were kind of “on budget” so there were no reason to stress. We went to a bar, eat a couple of Empanadas and drank a lot more than a couple of Stella Artois. With two hands on our beer and a look on our luggage every 5 minutes, we drank some more and we met some people from Brazil and a swizz guy claiming he was the brother of Rodger Federer. When we 8 in the morning got our bus booked for 3 pm, from Buenos Aires to Santa Cruz, we went from being drunk, to sober, to really hangover. We got us some breakfast at Starbucks and wasted off some time in a beautiful park made to honor the fallen ones in the Falkland war.
At 3 pm we got on the bus, our next home for the next 36 hours which turned out to be the most comfortable bus ride I have ever had! When my back hit the seat and I pulled my seat back I fall to sleep immediately. With a good sleep and some movies later we arrived to Santa Cruz at 2 am Monday morning, and made our way back to Cochabamba just in time for work at 9 o’clock, but after explaining our bosses how we lost the flight they showed the mercy and gave us the day off. Today I remember it as a good story and I would not be without it!
About the Author:
Kjetil Bjørnhom is a Norwegian guy that travelled alone to South America, only 19 years old. He have seen almost the whole continent doing backpacking and volunteering, and live at the moment in Bolivia with his girlfriend. You can read more about his adventures in his blog Kjetil SouthAmerica, where some posts are written in Norwegian and others in English.
If you would like to be a part of this “Crazy Travel Stories” series by sharing your story, please send me an email to: email@example.com