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"Ignorance must be fought"

Adventure at Auckland Airport

My South American adventure started in Peru, more precisely from Lima, its capital. I knew it would be difficult to organize travels and stuff alone, without knowing Spanish very well, but I never expected to have the first break of balls already at Auckland Airport.

Here is the latest New Zealand act:

At the time of my arrival at the bag drop desk, the hostess of Latam (Chilean flag carrier, country in which I would have made the first stop) asked me for a ticket out of Peru. I explained to her that I didn’t need it, because I did not know how many days I would have stayed in Peru or other South American countries, but she insisted. So I patiently explained that I did not need an exit ticket, nor was it requested from Latam at the time of purchase or online check-in. In addition, I asked her, “and if I rent a car and then I go to Bolivia, what would happen?”

So she calls her supervisor, who, looking at my Italian passport, confirms to me, with a perplexed expression, what her ignorant colleague has said.

“Ok, so I buy a bus ticket for Bolivia, okay?” I say.

“Is Bolivia in Peru or is it another country?”, she asks.

I stare at her for three or four seconds, and then I ask her if she’s serious, erasing the proud expression behind her glasses.

Promptly her supervisor confirms to her that this is another country, so she invites me to go to the Flightcentre shop to buy the ticket for Bolivia (all of this because my New Zealand sim data were expired, and the wi-fi in Auckland Airport is absolutely shit).

So with my trolley – I’m too old to walk around the airports with two backpacks – I go to the Flightcentre, where the kind saleswoman tells me that bus tickets can only be sold for domestic trips but not for the international trips. So I ask her how much the cheapest flight ticket from Peru to Bolivia costs, and when she tells me it would be 399 NZ$ I get up, kindly greet and go out. A guy from a bar tells me that I can use a PC at the airport phone shop, so I go there and buy the ticket.

The site with cheap tickets does not work well, so I have to buy a ticket with Bolivia Hop, which costs 59 $ and the site works very well, by randomly placing the 8th November date.

All this was happening about an hour before the boarding time.

Then, after taking a picture of the screen (I was with no internet on my phone, remember?), I went back to the bag drop desk. The incompetent first hostess was on break, so I jump the line and I go straight to the smiling bald guy who worked at the counter next to the previous one. I explain to him that I was “the guy for Bolivia”, and he  tells me “Yes, I heard that you first discussed with my colleague. Anyway, you were right, you do not need any exit ticket from the country, I do not know why she asked it”.

After ten seconds my backpack slowly disappears on the roller that takes it to the airplane, and I can finally go to the gate with my boarding pass.

Eventually, once arrived in Santiago, and then in Lima, no one ever asked me for any exit tickets from their countries or asked me any information about my next trips in America.


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