A Day at Aeroparque Jorge Newbery, June 11, 2013


Sometimes your itinerary says you’re flying from Buenos Aires to Salta, but instead you spend the day at Aeroparque Jorge Newbery airport with a swarm of frantic, caffeinated Argentinians waving their arms and yelling.

Unbeknownst to all of us, the airport had, in fact, closed. Closing the airport involves putting up new times for all the flights about every 30 minutes, just to keep the dream alive. There’s no public address system, so sometimes a flight status changes from “delayed” to “see agent,” at which point a sacrificial agent is deployed from behind the safety of the ticket counter to answer the questions of whoever shouts the loudest.

By this point in the trip, we could say things in Spanish, like “please bring the check” and “where is the bathroom?” We could not say things like “what are the chances we’ll get out of here today?” and “please print documentation for our travel insurance.”

Sometimes, you meet a kind stranger — an American expat who lives in Salta and speaks wonderful Spanish. She braved the crowd surrounding the sacrificial agent and reported the following conversation:

“What time is the flight to Salta?”


“What time is the flight to Cordoba?”


“How about Mendoza?”


This conversation, she explained, translates to “there is no information.”

So, instead of flying to Salta, you end up back in downtown Buenos Aires, drinking beer, watching football, and swapping stories with one of those kindred spirits you meet on the road from time to time.