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.
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