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  • Writer's pictureTim and Lindsey

The TSA says NO - Day 445

I didn’t think there would be anything much to write about today. Well, that was until we found out that the TSA says NO!

We walked into town, a good hour’s stroll, which gave us an opportunity to see the residential streets and be barked at by a multitude of dogs. Once in town, we did do the touristy thing and got our passports stamped to show that we’d been to “the end of the world” (Don’t get me started – it’s not).

We walked through a small market for local artisans where there was some beautiful jewellery and felt clothing, but our money stayed firmly in our pocket. No extra wares for us. I did think that a lady spoke to me in English, funny how we can hear, and see for that matter, something entirely different. She didn’t and didn’t know a word of English; needless to say our conversation was a bit bizarre.

After a very long lunch, we picked up our bags and got to the airport. This is where I said to Tim that today’s muses would be added to another day….wrong! #grownuptravellers strike again!

As we were putting our bags through the x-ray machine, Tim’s bag got stopped. “Knife?” the security guard asked. Tim got out the small Swiss Army knife that I have had since I went travelling in my late 20s. “No, this cannot go through” the man announced. Tim tried to tell him that the blade is less than the 4cm, which means, according to what we have read on customs controls, is fine. The penknife has also been checked at another airport since being in South America and passed with flying colours. No, he would not allow it.

I have since checked the website and the answer is “Carry On Bags: No, Checked Bags: Yes” I have also seen that hiking poles are not allowed on carry-on either, despite me holding these when we flew from Buenos Aires to Ushuaia! Plus, I was holding a bottle of water which we forgot to empty and nobody said a dickie bird about that!

Tim had to go back to check-in. Now, he had already checked in his small case as the carry-on limit here is a mere 5kg. We travel light, but not that light, so thought he’d be able to get the luggage attendant to slip the penknife in. No, the bag was on the plane already.

Meanwhile, everyone else was getting onto the plane, even though we had another 50 minutes to take-off. Shall I join them or wait for Tim? I decided to join them. Hey, if Tim missed the flight, not that I thought he would, at least that’s only 1 extra flight we’d have to pay for rather than 2.

Tim was the last person to get on the flight, but where was his rucksack? He had to check this in so that he could put the penknife in it. He then realised that the bag had his trusted mobile and my laptop in it, and it had no lock. Whaa… Oh well, there really is nothing we can do, we are both OK, that’s the main thing. Bless him, I think Tim thought I was sentimental about the penknife. I am not, cannot even remember who gave it to me 30 years ago. I had suggested that he left the knife, oh well, he meant well.

The flight from Ushuaia to El Calafate in Patagonia was amazing, Such a bright cloudless day so we could see the landscape clearly down below. The colour of some of the lakes up in the mountains was incredible, and later we could see from the dried up riverbeds and sparse population that this is a harsh environment. The course grassland plains went on for miles and miles.

We arrived at El Calafate Airport, and as soon as the bag was retrieved, Tim checked that his mobile and laptop were in working order. Yes. Thank goodness for that. We exited the airport to catch a taxi. Ars900 one way? Crikey, that’s a bit steep. I then remembered that our Airbnb host had mentioned a bus service. We found the ticket office, Ars900 for two tickets return. Fabulous – half price; a saving of more than £18. So, if you ever come to El Calafate, remember this.

Our host, Josephina was waiting for us in her garden outside her small wooden chalet with her sister, who speaks some English. We were greeted so warmly with hugs and kisses all round and stood to chat for some time. I have a feeling we’re going to have a great time here.

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