Sunday, 31-08-2014. Day 12
Reciprocity and Hot Nuts
This is going to be short. We didn't really do much today, other than fly.
Our driver (again, from the fantastic Panama Roadrunner) arrived early and got us to the airport in with plenty of time to spare. Clearing the security line was a lot like clearing in the U.S.A. Laptops out, shoes off, but no pornoscanner. We grabbed some expensive breakfast at a place that boasted Fresh N' Fast. No comment on this.
The flight, which was on Copa Airlines was uneventful, and by uneventful, I mean it was pretty fantastic. On-time departure, great flight attendants, and it was only half-full (I can't remember the last time that happened to me in the U.S.). They offered a huge selection of movies (something like 120), and they were all free. Same goes for the in-flight games: huge selection, no cost. And TV shows. There was USB charging in each seat. And in-flight booze was free.
The food was pretty good, too. They even gave you a real, metal knife.
I'm now a pro at filling out these customs and immigration forms.
Five hours later, we landed, deplaned (what a great word), and went through immigration. Chile recently (back in February, 2014) removed the Reciprocity Fee for U.S. citizens entering the country. This is a good thing for us, as it saved us $640 ($160 per person), which we would have had to otherwise pay just for setting foot on Chilean soil.
After we left immigration, everyone had to walk through the duty-free shop to get to the baggage claim. This was a huge store, and well-lit. It felt like we were walking into a department store.
We got our bags and cleared customs with no hassles, then picked up our free shuttle from TransVIP. These people were super-organized.
As we waited for our shuttle in the cold air (it's wintertime in Chile), the tantalizing smell of roasting peanuts was too much to pass up, so we bought a bag of hot nuts for 1,500 chilean pesos (about $2.75) from the nearby Nuts 4 Nuts stand.
We got to our hotel and saw the flight attendants and pilots of our flight who checking in to our hotel. They were very friendly, waving and saying hello when they saw us.
After we got settled, we went down to the restaurant to eat a meal that was pretty expensive (the pitfalls of staying near the airport; we didn't really have any other option), then off to bed. We had to do that all over again the next day.
- Hours flying: 5
- Shuttle vans taken: 2
- Bags of nuts eaten: 1