The Neuquén police officer and I we’re having a hard time. Chef thought my body language and tone of voice were exacerbating the situation, so I offered an alternative solution. I am quite adept at reading and writing in Spanish even if my verbal skills were diminishing by the minute. “Let’s just write notes to each other,” I suggested to the stern officer. He agreed and left for a long time.
I called the US State Department’s American Citizen Services emergency hotline. A man I’ll call Travis because he said his name was Travis answered. I told him we were being detained and/or arrested in a less scenic part of Argentina. He said, and I am not making this up, “Let me put you on hold for a minute while I collect my thoughts.”
At this point, I explained to Jeff that I felt under confident in this particular option.
Meanwhile, Neuquén police officer returned with his note for me:
No es bueno.
This note caused me to have the bad body language again, and I tossed our tickets to Buenos Aires at him. He eyed them closely. “Today? You’re flying out today? Why didn’t you say so?” Jesucristo, I replied, and then we got our passports and car keys back and a police escort to the airport. Chef was not impressed because the police stopped at all the stop signs and didn’t put the lights on. Nonetheless, we were greatly relieved.
We arranged to leave our rental car in Neuquén for approximately a King’s ransom, and started work on the next phase of the incident that needed commanded — what to do once we got to Buenos Aires? We had 4 days until our flight home, hotels and restaurants were closed, we no longer had a car, and our sandwich meat was getting sweaty.
Join us in Buenos Aires for Episode 11.