Day 88: Corumba, Brazil –> Bolivia (sorta)
Another boring day for posting. We got our stamps and papers in order for the border crossing into Bolivia. Doing a lot of post writing today at a gas station/convenience store/church/internet cafe (no joke, all lumped into one enterprise!). Ran into one of the guys from the Blue Cave tour we did a couple days ago in Bonito while we were doing some website work. This afternoon we left Brazil but we arrived at the border during the 2 hour lunch break. With no other real option but to stay there, we decided to head across the border anyway (it`s not like anyone was going to stop us–they were at lunch!) and buy our train tickets in case the border visa took a while.
Thinking the train station couldn`t be too far, we starting walking through the mud, rain, and growing water puddles until we finally found out that the station was 15 minutes away by car. When we arrived by taxi, we discovered that they too were taking a 2 hour lunch. Now we were really stuck and had to wait and hour and a half for the train ticket office to open back up. Finally taking care of that mess, we taxi`d back to the border where we began filling our form after form for the visa (US citizens need visa for Bolivia–reciprocal behavior between these 2 countries). After filling out forms in tripilcate and answering some questions, we were informed we had to pay the $135 fee only in US dollars. What?! Ok, so we had to find an ATM but it wasn`t working and we were directed by the security guard to the other ATM in town a few blocks away. It wasn`t working either. We had no choice but to head back to the border to pay in Bolivanos. Luckily, on the way, we ran into one of the many guys who change money (just some guy in a lawn chair by the road–there`s a long line of them yelling “Cambio“ as you walk through the border) who ended up giving us a better rate than our bank! Whew, now we could pay our fee and hopefully be on our way. When we got into the border office, who did we see but that German guy from the cave tour and the internet cafe from yesterday! Turns out we were all taking the “death train“ to Santa Cruz but were seated in different train cars. FYI, the “death train“ isn`t named so because it`s dangerous. Instead it was used to carry Yellow Fever victims out of town into a quaratine area. It`s a really slow, rocky ride where the train sways so hard from side to side on the tracks, you will swear time after time that it`s surely going to tip over. Very, very slow overnight train with lame Chinese movies and an overdubbed American movie without English subtitles.
No pictures because there is nothing to see…just mud, lots and lots of mud.