Review of Sky Airline flight Mendoza Santiago in Economy

Airline Sky Airline
Flight H2 522
Class Economy
Seat 24A
Aircraft Airbus A319
Flight time 00:40
Take-off 24 Jan 19, 19:30
Arrival at 24 Jan 19, 20:10
H2   #54 out of 142 Airlines A minimum of 20 Flight-Reports is required in order to appear in the rankings. 36 reviews
Pilpintu
By SILVER 497
Published on 2nd April 2019
I'm suffering during my holidays. Very much.

I can't stand hot weather, and this summer in Mendoza was marked by what a taxi driver called un calor de mierda.

That means "very hot". XD

Now that my visit has come to an end, I'm going home with mixed feelings.

On one hand, I'm happy that I won't be languishing under a ceiling fan anymore.

On the other hand… my cellphone was stolen!! .·´¯`(>▂<)´¯`·.

It was a horrendous, unspeakable tragedy because the thief was the adult grandson of the very nice and honest old lady I was staying with (an airbnb host), but he denied it to the very end, even though it was something obvious. She felt guilty because she allowed him into her house even though he had stolen things before, so she insisted on paying me back most of the price of the phone. Accepting the money from this old retired lady who struggles to make ends meet turned this into a double tragedy for me and I couldn't stop crying for her and with her. All this the day before the flight.

So the day after I'm in pieces, completely destroyed.

Thank goodness I still have my camera with me, but the cellphone made much better photos in low light. (Sigh) I'll do the best I can.

I also have the photos I took on a tour to the "Christ the Redeemer", a statue that sits on the top of a mountain, right on the Chile - Argentina border. The views of the mountains are breathtaking.

Have a look at them in this…




Pre-Flight Bonus - The Mountains


This tour takes us west of Mendoza…

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…across the green valley of Uspallata…

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…which reminds me a lot of the Chilean Central Valley.

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As we climb slowly along the course of the river Mendoza…

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…the rocky landscape becomes more and more arid (drier).

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We'll go along the international road that connects Mendoza and Santiago…

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…admiring the contrasting colors of the mountains.

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One would say that rocks are simply rocks…

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…but the infinite number…

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…of colors and shapes…

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…create a caleidoscopic landcape…

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…that changes at every bend of the road.

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I came to Mendoza by bus…

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…with my family (not in the photo)…

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…back in the late 1980s…

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…but I think that…

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…my main concern in those years…

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…was not the landscape, but listening to Madonna on my Walkman. XD

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The Santiago - Mendoza route…

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…is one of the routes with the highest demand…

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…among airlines flying between Chile and Argentina…

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…besides the Santiago - Buenos Aires route.

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In fact, it's covered by the three main Chilean airlines…

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…even though two of them -Sky and JetSmart-…

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…recently dropped other routes like Santiago - Córdoba. The plane below must be either LATAM or Sky.

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Sky even stopped flying…

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…to Montevideo, Uruguay…

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…in favor of developing their new Peruvian domestic market (or so they say)…

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…but they won't let go of the Santiago - Mendoza route.

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The reason for this must be that Mendoza…

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…is closer to Santiago than to Buenos Aires…

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…and the Chilean beaches are very popular among Argentines…

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…so much so that JetSmart even started a seasonal Mendoza - La Serena flight…

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…which is one of just two or three point to point international flights in Chile.

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The trip by car or bus…

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…can take 6 to 8 hours…

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…depending on the traffic…

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…which is very heavy in summer…

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…and depending on the weather in winter…

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…because the Paso Los Libertadores

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…is usually closed because of the snow. Here below is the roadside restaurant where we had lunch on our way back. Not included in the price of the tour, but nothing is too expensive for a buffet of milanesas!!

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Some of the tourists stay at the restaurant…

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…because the height is making them sick.

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The rest of us keep going up.

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We will get to 3832 m.a.s.l., which is not that much, I think.

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On the way we can see the tip of the highest peak in America - Mount Aconcagua, which is 6960 meters high.

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Many Chileans mistakenly believe…

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…that the west half of this mount is in Chilean territory…

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…because we are taught at school that the border with Argentina runs…

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…over the highest peaks of the Andes.

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But the border in this area was set before that arrangement.

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In fact, Mount Aconcagua is about 15km from the border with Chile. It's completely Argentine.

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A few minutes later…

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…we turn off the main road into a dirt road…

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…that climbs steeply…

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The modern road to Chile is on the left. The old road -where we are going now- on the right. All those are vans carrying tourists to the Christ Redeemer.

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We have to get up there. Can you see the white van?

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And can you see the plane? That one is clearly a LATAM flight on its way to Santiago.

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It looks like we are going to grasp the clouds.

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We zigzag our way up, up, up…

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…while I scrunch my toes in my shoes when I look for the edge of the road… but I can't see it!! .·´¯`(>▂<)´¯`·.

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Well, in the photo below you can see that it's not that dangerous. The road is wide…

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…but if only we stopped climbing!!!

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That's the road behind us.

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And at long last, we reach the top.

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It's cold and windy up here, so bring a wind cutter…

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…even if it's hot in Santiago or Mendoza.

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On our way back we see some arrieros

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…and stop at a little place called Puente del Inca.

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Puente del Inca used to be an important spa, but an earthquake destroyed much of the hotel.

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Instead of rebuilding it, some government decided that it would be better to keep the water freely available for everyone.

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So for years, you could cross the natural bridge leading to the pools, but then they saw that it was in danger of collapsing…

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…so the facilities were closed altogether. Nowadays, only the local artisans are allowed to cross the bridge in order to produce clay pots that they leave in the water for a month until the minerals turn them yellow like the rock walls here.

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When it comes to beautiful landscapes, you usually think of far, hidden places.

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That's why it's hard to believe that a road as ordinary as the Santiago - Mendoza road…

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…can have such natural beauty.



As for the city itself, Mendoza is a large city that's worth visiting in any season but summer. Here are some tips on what you can do on your visit.

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Unfortunately, most of my photos of the city were on my stolen cellphone. But I have this one that I took with my camera from a hill.

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Zero, Plus and Full



Sky Airline has had an enormous impact on my country's commercial aviation, which used to be dominated by our former flag carrier LAN, now LATAM.

After a difficult start, these days Sky is almost on par with LATAM in number of domestic flights in Chile, and is in the middle of an expansion plan into neighboring Peru.

After a period of implementation of their LCC business model, they eventually introduced three different fares - Zero, Plus, and Full.

photo fares

We could say that Sky brought LATAM to its knees, forcing them to come up with their own three different fares. Their monopoly is tumbling down.

So we Chilean air travellers owe a lot to Sky Airline, and I really like flying with them, especially considering that their service is as good as -and in some aspects better than- LATAM's.

This flight is supposed to take me back to Chile after four days in Mendoza, on January 27. I pay 67,157 CLP (98 USD)

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I could pay an additional 7990 CLP (12 USD) for carrying extra cabin luggage, but the included baggage will do for a pair of T-shirts and shorts. BTW, it's amazing how rolling your clothes can save you space. I didn't believe it until I tried it!

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A big advantage of Sky over LATAM is the max weight allowed for your paid cabin baggage - 20kg!! With LATAM it's only 8kg.

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>
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I will pick a seat in my beloved row 24 for 2990 CLP (4 USD)

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Sky summarizes your options in case you have forgotten something.

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Time to squeeze the juice from my battered credit card (70,147 CLP = 102 USD)…

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…and I'm listo!

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LATAM's prices for the same route on the same date, checked on the same day of my Sky purchase:

photo precio latam




The little feather duster


A taxi takes me from downtown Mendoza to El Plumerillo airport (MDZ)…

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…for less than 200 ARS (4 USD)

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MDZ's official name…

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…is Governor Francisco Gabrielli…

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…but, like many other airports…

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…it is better known by the name of the area…

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…where it's located.

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MDZ is near the town of El Plumerillo, which took its name from a plant (Calliandra tweediei) whose flowers look like little plumeros (feather dusters), from pluma (feather) + -illo (a diminutive) That's how we have words like mantequilla (butter), from manteca (fat) + illa = little fat, or anillo (ring, as in wedding ring) from ano (anus) + illo = little anus. So if you marry, you will get a little anus around your finger. Who am I to judge! XD

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I know what uncle George Takei would say. XD

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How can my mind wander so wildly. :O Where were we? Ah! El Plumerillo.

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Let's see if I can stand being outside for a minute and look around.

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I can't figure out where those taxi drivers get the superhuman powers needed to bear this calor de mierda

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…because it's nearing 40°C in the shade…

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…and I can't breathe!

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According to Wikipedia, MDZ was renovated in the 1990s…

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…and again in 2014.

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That's it. I can't bear it a second longer.

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Aahhh… Life-saving air conditioned. Right in front of the entrance, next to the exit from the baggage claim area…

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…is this shop, aka drugstore. Well, I think I can see some shampoo bottles and tissue packs over there, but it looks more like a magazine shop to me, which is the main meaning of kiosco in Chile.

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Energy-craving Argentines assault a charging station.

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The middle of the main hall…

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…houses the check-in counters…

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…where foreign airlines like LATAM, Norwegian…

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…and Sky Airline, among others, make up about half the traffic for the day.

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There's a cafeteria above the domestic arrivals area.

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Still more than two hours for my flight. I like to have plenty of time.

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Over there, at the bottom, there's a white car in exhibition.

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International arrivals! I don't remember seeing another small airport where domestic and international arrivals were segregated.

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I can see that the concept of "travelling light" has not settled among Argentines yet.

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What do we have around here? A shop…

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…a strangely deserted charging station, restrooms…

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…drinking fountains. I have not seen them in Chilean airports, and I doubt they would become popular there. Tap water is safe in Chile, but drinking from a tap where strangers drink?? I guess it's a cultural issue. We prefer bottled water.

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Banks and car rental companies also have their offices here. Funny translation for Information Desk. When I think of informes I think of written reports. Otherwise its just "mesón de informaciones."

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My boarding pass and my constancia de ingreso, a document you're given as you enter Argentine territory. You must produce it on exit, or face a fine.

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I kill some time working on my computer -the airport's free wifi works perfectly- and watching this video loop playing in a tourist information office.

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Rather than tourism, the video is about the pride of being born in Argentina, though they say "at the foot of the Andes", not "in Argentina.". An ugly guy plays the role of José de San Martín fighting for the freedom of South American nations.

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The yellow icons show that the access to the área de embarque is on the right…

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…next to the exit…

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…up the escalator.

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You arrive next to the cafeteria…

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>
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…with a view of the check-in counters below.

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And this is all the second floor landside. The access for domestic and international departures are together.

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Er… no. I don't like it.

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Name of the work: A heart beats, let it beat. I must be pretty insensitive today, because I have no idea what Martha Zullo is trying to express with this ugly heart.

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Some more photos around the second floor, like the office of the Civil Registry…

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…the escalator…

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…and two more…

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…of the main hall…

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…and we are ready to go airside.

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I had an awkward feeling here. It was like there was a lack of staff. Nobody was controlling the flow of people to the checkpoints, so we sort of had to organize ourselves and guess where to go. I mean, there's usually someone saying "Go ahead" "Wait" "Come this way" etc. This was not the case here. Or maybe I came in at the precise moment when the guards where busy. You can see one of them turning their back on us while we wait. I don't know what was happening over there.

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But everything is OK after a minute…

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…except that Josefina doesn't want to have her photo taken and makes a tantrum.

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The we make our way through a small duty free shop…

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…and emerge…

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…at the international boarding room.

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To the right, gates 1 and 2, and what seems to be the domestic boarding room.

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Not a large room, but I find it more comfortable that AEP.

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And the cafeteria is good. It has a selection of yummy sandwiches, not very expensive…

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…and my favorite Argentine juice, Citric, (it has real fruit) is at the same price as in a supermarket.

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You're right. MDZ would be very spotter friendly if it weren't for those blinds that ruin the view.

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In 30 minutes…

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…boarding will start. Yes, the flight is on time.

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In a corner of the room there's this funny space that's the only place with a view of the apron.

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Too bad it's on the side of the room…

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…and the view is not the best, unless you're intersted in radars…

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…stairs…

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…or meeting points.

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At least there's this LATAM plane being maintained.

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As more people gather…

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…I see what looks like…

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…yes! JetSmart started its domestic flights in Argentina some months ago.

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Seeing the apron is challenging…

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…but not impossible.

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Look at that!

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Norwegian started fying between Buenos Aires and Mendoza in October 2018. Here's the report of a local newspaper.

photo norwegian mendoza

They say that the airline started with four planes in Argentina, and that they have free wifi onboard.

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Norwegian is one of the airlines that turned their attention to the Argentine market…

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…after president Macri eliminated the "fare floor" that prevented airlines to charge less than AR.

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Funny livery.

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Not ugly, just so…

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…what could I call it?

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"Circumcised"?

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LV-ISQ is former EI-FVT, "Bobby Moore."

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Still some minutes until CC-AIY makes it to MDZ. It won't take long. It's just crossed the Andes.

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In the meantime, I'm having lots of fun.

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>
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Poor thing. He must be feeling exactly like a pollo allo spiedo.

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CC-AIY will be here any time.

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There it is!

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Fifteen-year-old CC-AIY…

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…is in Sky's new livery.

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It's worked for EasyJet, Sky Express…

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…and Kuban Airlines, which is not Cuban, but Russian.

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Today's flight…

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…is a bit different…

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…because we won't have un capitán

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…but una capitana! She realizes that I'm taking photos and waves at me, but I don't have the time to react and take a photo. :(

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How embarrasing! I blush because I was caught! How could she see through the blinds?!

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We all flock to the gate.

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The "de Chile" after Santiago is necessary because the Spanish conquistadors were not very creative and gave the same name to many towns. Nowadays, some important Santiagos are Santiago del Estero, Argentina, Santiago de Compostela, Spain, and Santiago de Cuba. FYI, Santiago = Sant (Saint) Jago (Jakobus; Jacob)

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Boarding


We're boarding in no time.

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The jetbridges at MDZ are the kind…

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…with great views on the tarmac.

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Over there, the corner where my previous flight ended…

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…and Norwegian waiting to go back to Buenos Aires.

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Will this jetbridge ever end?

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Some small-scale spotting on the go.

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Are we being welcomed with a kiss?! Make way, please. XD

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In spite of their unatractive mouse-grey color…

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…Sky's seats are quite comfortable for an LCC cabin.

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Of course, you learn to appreciate things only when you lose them. I have read…

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…that Sky is renewing their fleet and their new A320 Neo (of which CC-AZC is the first one) will have the now traditional LCC unreclinable ironing-boards, as shown in this article. :(

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Cough, cough, cough. We could use a little feather duster around here, hm?

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This button is becoming more and more scarce.

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Great legroom for me. In the seatback pocket…

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…we find the not-so-bad inflight magazine -always featuring some star of the Chilean showbiz on the cover- along with the safety card, the sickness bag ("Look at the horizon and you'll soon be better")

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Inside the magazine, Sky's route map. Florianópolis, Brazil is a seasonal destination. Rio is finally a permanent destination after several years as a seasonal one. The last flight to Montevideo, Uruguay will be on April 21. :( Nothing is as innacurate as an airline route map. Buenos Aires in the middle of Argentina?

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The onboard menu also announces…

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…that you can move to a different seat for a small amount (24 USD)

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The prices are much better than JetSmart's, and similar to LATAM's Mercado Latam.



Maybe the new seats…

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…are not such a bad idea after all.

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The Flight


A little additional information about this flight.

photo route

Pushback.

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A private Bombardier Global 6000.



American Jet was one of the airlines interested in serving a potential route between Temuco, Chile, and Neuquén, Argentina.
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But it didn't work.

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Next to it…

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…is LV-GUD.

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…an Embraer EMB 500.

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All the greenery you have seen…

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…in the bonus and around the airport…

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…is a sort of giant oasis…

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…supported (and improved) since times before the Spanish colony.

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The Mendoza Province is mostly a desert area…

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…but the hot, humid air coming south from the tropics helps to make this corner greener than the rest…

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…and suffocatingly hot and humid in summer. Emergency vehicles there.

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Up we go.

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Only three jetways?!

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I thought it was bigger.

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We take off towards the north…

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…but instead of turning west towards the mountains…

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…our capitana takes us east…

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…in a loop as we ascend…

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…above the semi-arid pampas…

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…covered by vineyards…

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…in order to gain the necessary height…

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…to confront the towering Andes. Up, up, up…

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…and here we are.

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The clouds break…

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…over the north of Mendoza…

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…and in a matter of minutes (perhaps seconds)…

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…we meet the snowy mountains.

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I'm impressed that they…

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…still have some snow…

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…in the height of this hot summer.

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Even a glacier survives the heat! This is a miracle.

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The clouds also contribute…

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…to the beauty of the Andean landscape.

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During this 30-minute flight…

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…there will be no BOB service.

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Not only because of the little time…

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…but because the Chilean aviation authority…

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…requires that all passengers and crew…

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…remain seated and with their seatbelts fastened…

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…while flying above the mountains.

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Good thing, because it can get really bumpy.

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After about 15 minutes…

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…the snow is gone and the mountains get lower…

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…and we emerge above a little valley…

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…north of Santiago. We turn south…

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…and descend into…

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…the thick cloud of smog…

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…covering the valley of Santiago..

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I feel relieved, though…

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…that the heat is much more bearable…

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…down there than in Mendoza.

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I'm back home!



A lonely Am… yikes! Never say "American" in Chile for somebody/something from the US. The word is estadounidense. See the reason here.

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Welcome to "Saint Jacob."

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Oh, I almost forgot…

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…that this will be my first arrival…

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…at the recently opened new premises.

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Looking good, huh?

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This is one…

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…of the four new piers…

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…that will be destined…

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…to international flights.

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This flight was so short…

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…that I even forgot…

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…that it was an international flight! XD

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And we come to a stop.

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I had to ask for help regarding this guy's job.

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Admin Kévin tells me he might be an operations agent.

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The thing is, we are told by our capitana that we'll have to wait some minutes for the jetbride to come…

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…but our poor ops agent seems to be in a hurry.

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He has no alternative but to go for a walk, actually.



At long last!

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Sky has a cruel way to bid me farewell. My baby was a Huawei, too. Boo - hoooo. .·´¯`(>▂<)´¯`·.

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And this is how, for the first time in its history…

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…SCL has become one of those airports…

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…where you better arrive early…

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…or you might not have the time to get to your gate…

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…because of the long distance…

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…that you will have to walk.

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Thank goodness for mechanical walkways.

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That's the point where you take the bus downtown, and where this short trip comes to an end.

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Thanks for reading! :)
See more

Verdict

Sky Airline

8.5/10
Cabin8.0
Cabin crew10.0
Entertainment/wifi7.0
Meal/catering9.0

Mendoza - MDZ

9.0/10
Efficiency10.0
Access9.0
Services7.0
Cleanliness10.0

Santiago - SCL

9.8/10
Efficiency10.0
Access9.0
Services10.0
Cleanliness10.0

Conclusion

Punctuality and efficiency have become the trademark of this LCC whose service is on par with major airlines like LATAM. This 30-minute flight is one of the last ones in the old Sky Airlines cabins, before they renew their fleet with the new A320 Neo.

Related

6 Comments

  • Comment 495775 by
    ThomasDutch GOLD 457 Comments

    Are we being welcomed with a kiss?! Make way, please. XD

    Were you successful haha?
    Thank goodness for mechanical walkways.

    It only works if people actually let you pass... So many people are always blocking them :p

    Anyway I'm surprised you didn't even order your typical Chilean sandwich? And no busride this report? I'm surprised! Thanks for sharing though!

    • Comment 495813 by
      Pilpintu SILVER AUTHOR 707 Comments

      Were you successful haha?

      No, I wasn't .·´¯`(>▂<)´¯`·.

      So many people are always blocking them

      There should be signs asking people to stand on their right if they're not in a hurry in order to let others walk past. I'm gonna write SCL about it.

      you didn't even order your typical Chilean sandwich?

      No BOB service on this flight over the mountains. Everybody had to remain seated all the time. In fact, a lady had the bad idea of leaving her seat to get something from the luggage bin above her, and the staff started reminding everyone about legal requirements and stuff like that over the PA system, sort of putting psychological pressure on the poor lady who was being watched and frowned upon by everyone. XDDD

      Thanks for commenting! :D

  • Comment 495999 by
    loukas SILVER 341 Comments

    Hi Nechus! Thanks for another amusing report. "Calor de mierda", "little anus" and circumsized Norwegian make a perfect trio! :) I really like Norwegian and if you have a possibility, try it because it is a very decent LCC with good complimentary WI-FI. Your mountain shots are simply fantastic both from the ground and from the air and these amazing colors of Puente del Inca - I wonder how these pots look like.

    • Comment 496567 by
      Pilpintu SILVER AUTHOR 707 Comments

      if you have a possibility, try it

      I'm really eager to, but it will be impossible within this year, I'm afraid.

      I wonder how these pots look like

      They are yellowish and rough. Not particularly attractive.

      Thanks for reading, Lukasz!

  • Comment 496357 by
    KévinDC TEAM SILVER 5256 Comments

    Oh good, here you are back on an airline with a good safety record, I'm relieved 😆

    Sorry to hear about your phone 😕 I'm glad all of my pics from my phone go to my Amazon Photos cloud so that even if I lose my phone, I don't lose my pics.

    "Circumcised"?

    LMAO, I've always thought that, but have never said it out loud, hahahaha

    The new Terminal in SCL looks good! Nice to finally see it in a report

    Punctuality and efficiency have become the trademark of this LCC whose service is on par with major airlines like LATAM.

    True...or have LATAM and other carriers lowered their service standards to LCC levels? A bit of both

    I hope you enjoyed a good Mendoza Malbec while you were there, a grape that comes from my part of France.

    Thanks for sharing and glad you survived the calor de mierda! LOL

    • Comment 496570 by
      Pilpintu SILVER AUTHOR 707 Comments

      I'm glad all of my pics from my phone go to my Amazon Photos cloud

      Boo - hoo. I always upload them to a mega.nz account as soon as I finish a trip or a flight, but this is not automatic so I had to pay the price this time. :(

      I've always thought that, but have never said it out loud

      That's a big problem that I have -an inability to keep some things to myself- and it will get me into trouble one of these days. My mother has told me many times!

      or have LATAM and other carriers lowered their service standards to LCC levels?

      Yeah, as you say, a bit of both. But I still appreciate Sky's cabin baggage policy, which is better than Latam's and waaay better than Jetsmart's. Besides, even before the LCC times latam's onboard service was already lousy. They didn't have to lower their standards ostensibly to compete with LCCs! XD

      I hope you enjoyed a good Mendoza Malbec while you were there

      Oops. I'm sorry. I don't like wine. Chile is also a wine producer and it's a sort of national drink here, so I always get looks of disbelief when I tell my friends I don't like wine or beer. I like sweet alcoholic drinks, though. There's a popular drink in Chile called "jote" (vulture) which is Coca Cola with some red wine added to it. One day my former school principal brought a very expensive wine to a party and gave me some. I made myself a jote with it and he wanted to kill me! He put me on his list of "unrefined people" ever since. XD

      Thanks for stopping by, Kevin!

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