Bolivian bureaucracy!

Trip Start May 02, 2012
Trip End Jul 31, 2014

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Where I stayed
Pousada Valdeci Paes

Flag of Brazil  , State of Rondonia,
Friday, February 8, 2013

It is now  nearly 6:00 pm on 8 February and we are back here in Guajara-Mirim, Brasil.  
We left Brasil today for Bolivia.   This involved getting up early and negotiating our way around customs and emigration  with our limited Portuguese.  We then had to organise a barge from Bolivia to come and fetch us to take us, and our vehicle, across the Mamore River.  We were told that the Mamore is the 16th largest river in the world! We were rather pleased with the ease of all of this, and the officials were really helpful and friendly. When we got to Bolivia we went to the immigration place where we were told that we needed to go back to Brazil to get a visa at the Bolivian Consulate there. (We had researched this before we left, and were informed that a Bolivian visa could be bought at the border) But, no problems, we caught a ferry back to  Brasil, leaving our camper in Bolivia. The officials were as friendly as ever, and we proceeded to the Bolivian Consulate, only to discover that the Consul was away for 2 weeks, and nobody else in the office was authorised to issue visas.....!!  So, back to Bolivia where an officious little man refused to make a plan for us, and just shouted   ..."NADA...NADA...NADA"! So then back to Brazil with our vehicle on the barge.  But being Friday, and some sort of carnival, with balloons, fireworks, bands and braais, we had to hang around until 3:30... The friendly Brasilian officials were all gobsmacked when we arrived back yet again! Then we had a problem:  All our documentation from Brazil meant that we had left Brazil, but now we needed to return after officially not having been anywhere!  After great consultation and discussion, our exit stamp from Brasil has now been cover-stamped with CANCELLED and we are back in Brasil! We will have to research where to go from here tonight/ thinking of going on The Pantanal. But it being the rainy season, it might not be the right thing to do... Maybe back into Peru?
 Anyway, apart from costing rather a lot on unnecessary barge transportation,  we had an interesting day. The ports on both sides of the border are a hub of activity with a huge variety of goods being transported all day long.   Little boats pick up and drop off goods, and big trucks, plus battered bakkies, that hardly look roadworthy, back up the rutted, muddy road to the  river and take stuff away. We had almuerzo (barley soup, then rice with meatballs - luckily no chicken) in Bolivia at a little local  place in the town and then just waited.... And watched.... At least we didn't have the usual torrential tropical downpour today... It is the rainy season and the water is lying in huge pools all over. Lots of muddy streets,sidewalks, houses, and cars.Yesterday the heavens just opened and rain came through the glassless windows of our pousada (hostel). We had pools of water on the tiles in our room, but within a couple of hours, it had all dried up!  
 Had forgotten how many vultures there are here...  Lisa St Aubin de Tehran writes about her "pet"  vultures in her book, Keepers of the House, about her time, I think, in Venezuela....I had always thought that this was perhaps a bit of an exaggeration for the sake of literary drama, but now I realise that vultures are very much a part of South America. I had also forgotten the delicious breakfast cakes in Brasil..... Moist plain cakes, with no icing...SO nice.! And a fantastic canned drink called Guaranį...a fruity kind of taste... And I had forgotten the awful toilets!!    yuck..... 
 I wonder what tomorrow will bring???
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Gill on

Glad you obviously have your iPad and starting the story early this time. Have fun xx

Di on

Hi Ann - enjoy your blog so much! Are there lots of mosies?

Ann on

Thanks, Gill.
Yes, Di. Lots and lots of mosquitos - some carrying Dengue Fever!!

Donatella on

It can only get better. Ciao

siyaya on

Hi Donatella...Andy spent today under the car, with a mechanic, getting the vehicle fixed up (the part that we had temporarily fixed up in Peru + South American gas fittings). So now we are ready to leave Porto Velho tomorrow and head for the Pantanal. At least we can now make coffee in the camper - so it will get better :-)

Justine on

Whew.....what a day! Well at least you will be able to tell people that you have visited Bolivia several times!!! Thanks as always for sharing. So enjoy it.

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