Trip Start Sep 01, 2005
97Trip End Jul 21, 2006
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My entry into Argentina was not so smooth and I have awarded them the title of ´Slowest passport control´ beating India by over an hour. I waited for nearly three hours for my entry stamp and there were only about 30 people ahead of me in the queue. Part of what took so long was that all the bags were x-rayed and then searched by the Argentine police. They were looking not just for drugs but consumer goods which the whiley Bolivians might buy cheap and sell over the border without paying import tax. When I was finally through I headed to Pocitos bus terminal. During the first couple of hours the bus stopped at 4 different police checkpoints. At each one all passengers had to exit the bus for a bag search and documents check. Most of the time when they saw my British passport the guards would only do a half hearted search of my bags but one guy checked everything. He made me turn out my pockets and money belt, take off my boots and even looked down my trousers. I could tell he was looking for an excuse to fine me so I kept my mouth shut even when he was holding up my money 'checking if it was genuine'. I think it was his revenge for the Falklands. My Spanish wasn´t good enough to explain that we suffered enough when the Falklands victory swept Thatcher to power for a second term.
I had heard good things about the buses in Argentina but I was disappointed. The seats were comfy enough but the TV didn´t work and there was no music and no food which I had been told to expect. The journey lasted 29 hours during which time there were only 2 stops to buy food. Luckily there was a toilet on board. I passed the time talking to a Bolivian guy and reading my Clancy.
What destination would make me want to endure such a journey? One of the world´s great cities - a place I´ve always wanted to visit. 43 hours after leaving Santa Cruz I arrived in Buenos Aires.