Getting there is half the fun; arriving there is a real blast

I’ve been a road warrior long enough to know that when things start to go bad early in a travel day, they tend to get worse before they get better.

After a plume of volcanic ash settled in on Mar del Plata, Argengina, and caused the cancellation of the only flight from Buenos Aires on Monday morning, a band of 42 intrepid basketball fans — including one Express-News reporter — ponied up for a special charter bus for a five-hour trip that took more than six hours.

Dropping my bags at the hotel and hopping a cab to the arena, I discovered media credential pickup had ended and I was told to come back tomorrow to pick up my passes. Somehow, my rudimentary Spanish managed to convince the good folks at the media entrance that I hadn’t come all the way from San Antonio to miss Manu Ginobili’s first game of the tournament. They set me up with a day pass and I assured them I would legitimize myself later.

Finally, when the wireless signal in the press room at Malvinas Argentinas stadium proved to be literally an off and on proposition, I flagged a cab back to the hotel to file a report from the tournament. On its way up a fairly steep hill, the taxi sputtered and stopped running, either  out of gas altogether or in need of a fuel pump that could push the petrol uphill. So the cabbie put the taxi in neitral and backed down the hill, and never mind some fairly traffic.

I paid the meter fare and walked the final four blocks, never more thrilled to be walking into my hotel home away from home.

All things considered, I still think Argentina is an amazing, wonderful place to me hanging out for a couple of weeks of meaningful basketball.

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