Diary Entry

The border crossing between Brazilian Corumbá and Bolivia is getting complicated. As at the border of Foz do Iguaçu, no Brazilian official has any interest in putting a stamp in our passport. This time we remember to ask and we are shown the office where we can go if we feel like it to get an exit stamp.

Then the same thing follows in Bolivia. If we want, we can go into a building there to get an entry stamp.

Glad I looked at the instructions in the iOverlander app beforehand. After we get the entry stamp from the officer, who tried in vain to remain serious when Leon stole his stapler, I have to go to the customs building (aduana) to register the car in Bolivia.

The entry of our car takes longer than ours

The border town is well organized, even if the traffic jam of trucks speaks for chaos. I immediately find an ATM for cash, because the days of paying with credit cards without hesitation in the last bush shop are over.

I also immediately find a booth for new SIM cards for Sara and me. Then we have to refuel and eat. We find out that Google Maps is not reliable in Bolivia.

Google Maps shows us restaurants and gas stations where there are none. We end up in Puerto Suarez, just over the border, in a tiny restaurant that sells exactly three things: piraña, alligator or picu. We’ll eat on this alligator for three more days. Tastes like chicken. It’s starting to rain heavily and it’s getting incredibly muggy. My face drips just like the gutter.

In Puerto Suarez there is a beautiful viewpoint over the river at the main square, the Plaza de Armas. It is noteworthy that it is flat to the horizon and that you cannot distinguish where the river ends and land begins.

Because the land is under water and the river is partially completely overgrown by plants.

A river to the horizon

On the long road towards Santa Cruz de la Sierra we pass several police checks. You especially want to see the aduana and then a circulation permit. I don’t have that and either have to go back to Porto Suárez or buy it here, which is expensive. Gritting their teeth, the crooks receive 100 bolivianos from me. Not far away, the same thing happens again, only this time I have what other travelers say is a “stamp of corruption“, and the group of heavily armed officials let me through.

The drive presents a sight to think about. There is an incredible amount of rubbish along the road and in the towns. And the forest bordering the road burned down. In Google Maps you can still see a lot of jungle here. We see the forest burning and next to it people are standing or there are already newly built industrial sites.

Shocked, we continue our journey. The first destination in Bolivia is the small town of Aguas Calientes, which promises hot springs.

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