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  • Writer's pictureKen Murray

Antarctica Trip Stage 1 - We made it to Orlando!

Neither Shelly nor I slept much last night. Excitement about the trip, concern about our flight to Orlando being cancelled due to Covid-related staff shortages, and anxiety over our Covid PCR test at 9:30am played roles in the sleeplessness. Since we were both awake early, we decided to head to our PCR test at 8:15am, just to get it over with. We're glad we did as there were dozens and dozens of others doing the same thing. The line to the test stretch hundreds of yards, and I was now concerned whether we could get the test before we had to head to the airport for our flight to Orlando. The cars just sat, only moving when some poor soul decided they'd had enough and pulled out of line. Finally after about 45 minutes, cars started to move. Another 1 1/2 hours later, we got to the test site and got our nostrils swabbed. That took all of 30 seconds. But we were done with the test and got a promise the results would be sent to us within 24 hours. That is a critical milestone as we have to present a negative PCR test to gain entry to Argentina.

We got back home around 11:00am, loaded the luggage in the SUV, said goodbye to our cats, Lennon and McCartney, and headed to our daughter's house to leave our car and Uber to Washington Dulles airport. The Uber driver flew along Rt. 28 South and along the Dulles Access Road, getting us to the airport in 10 minutes. We checked in at the United Airlines kiosk, checked one bag, and got through TSA Pre-screen in a total of 10 minutes. There were no lines at either point! Another 10 minutes or so and we were at the United Club lounge, which was devoid of people. We were the only ones there! Here's a photo of the empty lounge. Not very interesting, but we were happy that we could easily socially distance.

We had a few drinks and some snacks, pocketed a few bags of chips, and waited for our flight to board. We boarded our flight around 4:45pm and talked to a very nice woman in our row and a flight attendant about our trip. The flight was only about 2 hours, about seemed longer. We arrived in Orlando around 7:30pm, picked up our suitcase at baggage claim, and checked into the Hyatt Regency Hotel Orlando International Airport. Our hotel room is on the 9th floor and there is an outdoor pool on the 6th floor. We went to the pool, ordered a few drinks, and ate the snacks we pocketed from the United lounge. It was about 65 degrees and refreshing to be outside after being cooped up in most of the day. Here's a photo of the pool. We're going to spend some time here tomorrow morning before we checkout.

So stage 1 to Orlando is a wrap. We're counting on receiving positive news about our PCR test tomorrow morning. With that we will fill out our Argentina Health Declaration and upload our test results. That will get us into Argentina. Then we have a 3:00pm antigen test that is required to get on the charter flight to Argentina. That's another important milestone. Shelly and I have done everything right so far. We quarantined for two weeks prior to today, we're vaccinated and boosted, we've masked up with 5-layer KN95 masks, we've kept our distance as best we could, and we've washed or sanitized our hands often. So it's out of hands now, and time to go to bed. See you tomorrow!

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Dec 27, 2021

Have a great trip!

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