2019 - South America - Travel Day
"The Captain's Log - Star Date 20190107 - The voyage to a new continent never visited".
Well the problem actually started about 10 days before Christmas when I first noticed a small blister on my right leg on the shin bone. I couldn’t recollect what I might have done to cause it. This is nothing new as I have little surface feeling on the majority of my legs I am accustomed to taking my trousers off to be faced with lots of cuts and knocks that I know nothing about. The next day the blister was larger and it continued to grow as the days passed. There was no pain or inflammation or discomfort. My inclination with all blisters are to burst them but this seemed different so I consulted Nurse Karen (aka Nurse Hitler) who told me to leave it alone which I did. Then just before Christmas it burst overnight of its own accord and I was pleased as I thought it would now heal.
As far as my legs are concerned I am a slow healer due to their very poor circulation. The wound however just seemed to be weeping constantly and started to stain my trousers. Between Christmas and the New Year, Karen thought I should get it checked out by a Doctor but I said I would give it a few more days. On the 2nd Jan as it hadn’t healed I got an urgent appointment at the medical practice. I hate bothering them unnecessarily and apologised profusely as I thought I would be wasting their time. Now normally I don’t argue with the medical experts but when the Doctor said immediately that it was Cellulitus I begged to differ. As I had suffered from this on many previous occasions I didn’t have any of the other symptoms that I normally have and so had dismissed this. I explained this to him but he just repeated even more firmly his diagnosis and told me that I had to get 2 lots of antibiotics into me immediately. I explained our imminent trip and he said that providing the tablets had made some impact in the next 48 hours I could travel otherwise I should make another emergency appointment to assess the situation.
This put the jitters up me good and proper. I know how serious Cellulitus can be and how close I have been in the past to having to be admitted to hospital to have the drugs put into me intravenously and that for some people when that hasn’t worked then they have have ultimately lost their limbs. The prospect of having to travel to South American destinations with this hanging over me scared me somewhat.
48 hours later and there had been no improvement so back I went. The Nurse Practitioner I saw initially was not 100% sure what I should do and then got another GP to take a look. Their conclusion was that I ‘should be OK’ which I didn’t find entirely convincing, providing that I kept it dressed. Now I know my legs heal better and quicker if I keep them open but they were concerned about what ever bugs may be lurking in South America.
Then the fun really started as I could not find a Pharmacy which stocked the particular dressing they wanted me to use. After visiting 5 different ones who all said they could get them ‘next week’, at 5pm I went back to the Doctors to seek more help and guidance. They didn’t want to definitively say I shouldn’t travel and suggested I try to get the dressings in a different size. They gave me 3 to be going on with which was all they could spare but said the decision was mine.
On the travel day I was in a real tizzy as to what to do. Those who are regular readers will know that on the day of travel I get apprehensive about the travel as it is. This just amplified the situation. I tried 4 more pharmacies in the morning all to no avail.
Karen was in her usual pre departure stress (having moved on from her Christmas stress) and just said it was my decision (which it was), but that it was all my fault whatever. Neil grunted the same and so I loaded the car. We had agreed we would drop some things in at Barry’s en route to the airport and to say goodbye to him and Ellie. Just before arriving at Barry's Karen suggested I run into the Pharmacy at Waitrose and amazingly the Pharmacist there saved the day by finding me 13 dressings of the wrong size but right type. Thank goodness for that, so that removed that excuse for not travelling.
At Barry’s we were even more impressed at how the pair of them have turned the house to a lovely cosy comfortable home. It was also lovely having a cup of tea made for us which we cannot recall ever happening before! Barry just said we should go for it and so after all too quickly we said goodbye to them both (and the cats) and we were on the way to the airport. I was reasonably comfortable with the decision but still apprehensive.
Now I know the way to the airport but we always use the Sat Nav to guide us round any hold ups. I do find it strange that it never directs me the same way each time taking me somewhere different. Todays route was through London Colney, but it got us there at there at the predicted time.
We met our friend Sunny outside T5 and handed him our car key. After a quick chat about football (he’s a QPR fan) and where we were going he went off with our car to park it in his drive. He offers such a great personalised service that I would recommend to everyone.
The T5 bag drop is all now self service and there was no queue. We printed our baggage labels and headed to security where again there was no queue. So in less than 15 minutes from pulling up outside the terminal we were heading toward Wetherspoons for our usual pre flight Eggs Benedict. I was now more or less comfortable with the decision to make the trip and tried not to think on the dangers or negatives.
My positivity somewhat faded when we boarded and found ourselves on probably the oldest plane in the BA fleet. It reminded me of an old Spratts coach we used to go to London on some 40 years ago. The TV’s were small and the choice of films tiny. However we were delighted that we again ended up with no one sitting next to us in the 3-3-3 configuration of economy so as soon as the doors were closed I moved across to have a spare seat in-between us. There were only 3 spare seats on the whole plane so we were very lucky. When this happens we feel it is much better than even sitting in either of the 2 classes above as we have so much extra space to utilise and can even spread our legs across.
We both sat and watched ‘The Guernesey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society’ which was really rather good. As ever the BA food was rubbish even if the service itself was excellent. Although I have to admit the full English Breakfast that came later wasn’t too bad.
It was a long long flight, over 13 ½ hours, but we were both surprised by the amount of sleep we both got even if it was in fits and starts. We both put this down to the extra space.
Immigration took just over an hour to get through but was relatively simple. Our bags were still on the carousel waiting for us although Karen managed to not see hers go sailing past her.
I had pre booked a cab from the airport to the Hotel and the driver was waiting for us outside MacDonalds as arranged. He spoke no English and us no Spanish which meant for a quiet drive. He kept to the speed limits and the only concern was his ritual of crossing himself and kissing his rosary beads every time we went past a church, this being a good catholic country seemed to be very few hundred yards It was about a 30 unite drive to the Hotel.
We were pleased that we were able to access our room immediately despite it being before 11.30am although we felt the 5 star rating somewhat oversold the Hotel itself. Still it was clean and felt safe however Karen bemoaned the lack of drink making facilities. After unpacking a few items Karen decided to have a doze for an hour before we ventured out to seek caffeine to make her human again. In the lift down to the lobby some Germans got in on their way to check out. I had a chat with them and asked them for any close recommendations for a coffee. They suggested Cafe Tortino which was close by. We set out to find it. Unbeknown to us this is the oldest and most famous cafe in Buenos Aires. We had to queue outside for about 20 minutes to get in but it was worth the wait (even though it was actually half empty when we got in - the queue is there just to make it draw in more customers!). It was very quaint and reminded us of somewhere like Betty's We had late afternoon tea which was enormous consisting of toasted sandwiches, 2 lots of cake, loads of toast, croissants. Jam and lots more. The tea was most peculiar and strong. It lacked the roundness of a good cup of Tetleys. Neverless for about £8 at one other top spots in the capital city we were impressed.
After this we wandered down Avenue Mayo and by accident came across the Pink Palace which is the seat of Government and also the building with the balcony where Eva Peron made her speech stating she would not stand to be Vice President. We then went into the cathedral on the same plaza which is where the current Pope was the archbishop before being announced as the supreme pontiff by the white smoke.
A short walk took us back to the Hotel where we had a quick shower before finding our first Argentine Steakhouse called La Estencia. This was a meat lovers nirvana. I could not believe the mounds of meat being pilled onto plates for those having various platters. I settled for just a Sirloin Steak whilst Karen when for Chicken. They were both fabulous meals that we both devoured. I had a lovely glass of Malbec as well which cost less than £2. We paid by card but left a tip in dollars as we still did not have any Peso’s.
After this we headed back to the Hotel via a Starbucks that was closing and where they would only take cash as they had closed down the tills meaning we had to miss out. We are in bed by 10pm and both sound asleep by 10.10pm.