As the truck was a bit fragile after we took a longer, less mountainous route to the Argentinian border. 14 hours of driving in total then the oddest border crossing yet.
We rocked up at 10:10pm to find that the 24 hour border actually closed at 10pm. Bolivia were typically relaxed about it and would let us out, but Argentina were sticking to the rules and wouldn’t let us in. And our beds for the night were 2km down the road – in Argentina.
Stuck in the wrong country we went with Plan B: drive around the deadly quiet town trying to find a hotel with 23 beds. Katie hopped out to knock on doors but strangely enough, everyone was suddenly fully booked when faced with a truck load of gringos. It was looking like we’d be sleeping on the bus that night.
Time to come up with a Plan C: go back to the border and try and bargain with the officers. We put on our best puppy-dog eyes and after a spot of grovelling, Argentina agreed to illegally let us cross the border providing we left all our belongings in Bolivia and ‘promised’ we’d come back the next day to show passports and go through immigration.
So we scampered across the border in darkness as the officials pretended to look the other way.
There was one lonely taxi in the rank, so this little Ford Fiesta made 6 trips to ferry us to our hostel.
We thought we were being had when the cab pulled to a halt outside a deserted building – then we realised this sheet of corrugated iron graffitied with ‘Copacabana’ was our bed for the night.
They ushered us through this building site:
And into a chapel (?!)
We lost an hour (on argentinian time now!) and rolled out of bed fully dressed to continue the adventure.
Our pre-booked taxis didn’t show, so we walked to the border.
Argentina conveniently forgot last night’s deal and refused to let us leave so that we could leave Bolivia and re-enter legally.
The American girls hadn’t paid an entrance tax, that can only be paid in advance online, so had to go in search of an Internet cafe and printer (not easy at 7am).
Eventually they were so sick of the sight of us that they skipped the customs searches, doused the truck in disinfectant and hastily waved us on.
Welcome to Argentina!