Dear Soleil – Your 3rd Country – Bolivia

My dear little Soleil,

You’re now a whopping 6 months old and you’ve just entered your 3rd country, Bolivia. (Technically this is your 4th country. They stamped you into Chile, but then wouldn’t let us proceed becasue of Kiki, remember here)

Anyway, congratulations my little nomad.

So far life on the road with you has been just great. It’s everything your Mama and I expected, and more. Some of the things we thought were going to be challenging have turned out to be easy, like going to Machu Picchu. On the other hand, there are challenges that we didn’t anticipate, like the fact that after about 3 hours, you HATE your car seat and aren’t shy about letting us know. In an effort to distract you, I’ve had to listen to your Mama sing everything from Twinkle Twinkle Little Star in spanish to entire Depeche Mode albums acapella.  But overall, things are great for Sprinter Life on the road.


Let me tell you about the day you crossed into Bolivia. Your Mama and I were both pretty excited to leave Peru and head off into a new country. We think you were pretty excited as well. You were smiling all day!

As it turned out, we were lucky to get across. The border had been closed for the previous 15 days due to a protest. But the morning we got up, the protest lifted, as if to say, “Come on over Sprinter Life”!

The first thing Daddy did on the morning we left was fill up 4 gas cans with extra fuel. We anticipated problems finding diesel fuel to buy, so we planned ahead. These cans, along with our full tank will get us close to a 900 mile radius before we have to worry about the fuel problem. Always prepared Sol. That’s how we roll.

We had a beautiful 3 hour drive to the border. There wasn’t a lot of traffic heading the direction we were going. We had the road to ourselves… well, mostly to ourselves.

Along the way we saw fewer and fewer gas stations, until finally it was only road side pit stops selling gas out of yellow and blue cans. We were glad we had fueled up earlier that morning.

Our first view of Lake Titacaca.

When we got to the border we checked out of Peru and rolled under the stone arches into Bolivia.

As usual, the signs of a new country were about as useful as the last.

“Welcome to Bolivia, Go this way!”

Your Mama and I split up to tackle the border crossing paper work. I went to Aduana and to the Police station to get our vehicle permit while you and your Mama went to immigration.

While the police were trying to extract a bribe from me for the vehicle permit, I could hear your Mama yelling and screaming next door. Apparently the officials at immigration were trying to extract an extra $135 for you to enter Bolivia as a US citizen, even though you are a Peruvian and should get in for free.

The border officials were trying every angle possible to get that $135, but your Mama wasn’t having it. I looked at the police man who was trying to get a bribe from me and said,

“Esta escuchando a mi esposa en el edificio al lado, Jefe? Quiere hablar con ella?”

(Translation: Are you listening to my wife in the building next door, boss? Do you want to talk to her?)

He promptly gave me my permit and shooshed me out the door.

 

Meanwhile your Mama was huffing back across the border into Peru on foot, with you strapped to her chest. She came back about an hour later with a new DNI exit stamp (instead of a passport stamp) for you to get into Bolivia, along with a booklet of your rights as a Peruvian to travel throughout South America for FREE with a DNI.

The Bolivian officials again denied her. It was a brutal 2 hour battle arguing with them in spanish with some foot stomping,  hands in the air, long-winded sighs,and plenty of dramatics. And then, finally, right when we were about to give up, they surrendered!

We added the new country flag to the back of the van, (it’s been a while since we’ve done that). And then we drove into Bolivia, tired and hungry.

Aloha Bolivia!

We drove to the first town, Copacabana, and checked into the finest hotel in town, primarily because it is the only place we found with wifi (really bad wifi). It is a beautiful place with a balcony view of Lake Titicaca! I can’t believe we can stay in a place like this for $22 a night! This will be the perfect place to hang for our first week in Bolivia.

So, another exciting chapter begins in your little life my dear.

Love – Daddy

Soleil’s Global Citizen Diary

1) 10/9/2012  – Born in Lima, Peru (remember)

2) 12/14/2012  – 2 months old, entered USA (remember)

NA) 2/8/2013 – 4 months old, entered Chile, stamped in but rejected at the border (remember)

3) 4/14/13 – 6 months old, entered Bolivia

 

 

 

 

Comments

  1. Auntie Alex says:

    Let that be a lesson South America don’t mess with my sister! She can yell at you in several
    Languages and none of its fun! 🙂

  2. Nonituyas says:

    Awesomeness! NEVER mess with Stevie Trujillo! She will outSMART, out-LAST and out-SHOUT any unlucky bureaucrat who messes with her rights. And god help anyone In the way when you two power-parents TEAM UP to protect Tribe welfare!! I’ll never forget Sol’s first hours in this world, when all the medical staff (and archaic rules) at the Lima hospital were swept aside, as a very determined Tree took his baby back to her mama.
    (BTW, I miss my Soleil more than all the stars in the sky.)

  3. Lake Titicaca.. classic.

    • hey bro, I don’t have the bandwidth to watch that now, but I’m imagining what it says. I’ll watch it next week when we’re in La Paz with better internet!

  4. Great Aunt Debby and Great Uncle Barry says:

    What a great tail to tell, Sol you have such awesome parents and they are taking you on an amazing life adventure. Your Papa is so smart to threaten the Boarder Officials with having to deal with your tough Mama if they didn’t give him the permit. Stevie way to strut your stuff. Now enjoy to spoils of your battle.LOL Bolivia will be beautiful!

  5. Aunt Debby and Uncle Barry says:

    What a great tail to tell, Sol you have such awesome parents and they are taking you on an amazing life adventure. Your Papa is so smart to threaten the Boarder Officials with having to deal with your tough Mama if they didn’t give him the permit. Stevie way to strut your stuff. Now enjoy to spoils of your battle.LOL Bolivia will be beautiful!

  6. What an adventure just to get into Bolivia. Soleil will love having these stories to read when she’s older.

  7. Lorraine says:

    Oh WONDERFUL story! I LOVE Copacabana, one of my fav places in SA. I camped there a MONTH on the shore! Sigh…. (dreamy look in eyes…)

  8. Tim Wilson says:

    Great stuff! Go Stevie!!! Buena suerte Sol!!!

  9. You three are going to love Bolivia (except their internet).

  10. You have to do the Uyuni Tour – my absolute highlight! Even with a baby it is just fine! You should take a tour and not drive on your own – it is a huge desert and nobody to ask for directions!

  11. Don’t forget to visit Patagonia and tour the factory where they make those nice Patagucci outdoor garments

  12. Neili Smith says:

    Exciting Adventures Await!! ENJOY

  13. Judy Shuman says:

    Soooo happy you are safe and well. Take Good Care! ~

  14. If you are in Copacabana, the internet sucks all over town. No way around it. too bad, as it’s such a nice place to stay (hike around/stay at Isla do Sol if you can). Better internet in bigger cities… just not too many of them

  15. Jene Fielder says:

    As long as your safe, and Healthy,,everything else will work out.

  16. At the copa (CO!) Copacabana (Copacabana)
    The hottest spot north of Havana (here)
    At the copa (CO!) Copacabana
    Music and passion were always in fashion
    At the copa…. they fell in love

    Barry Manilow

  17. John Rich says:

    Tree,
    Great accounting of your day crossing the border! I love what you said to the official trying to extract a bribe from you!

    John

  18. Arlene Burns says:

    Fantastico!!

    Much love your way…

    Xxar

  19. An amazing beautiful story and adventure, inspiration and breath of fresh air! thank u all 3!!

  20. Pam Hamilton says:

    So fabulous meeting you 3 amigos in Cusco! Soleil is the cutest and best behaved baby ever!!
    Your blog is amazing! Surely safe travels with Stevie speaking her mind and sticking up for everyones rights! Enjoy the journey!!

  21. LOL!! Note to self: People I want on my side when crossing borders: #1: Stevie

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