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Bolivia day 14 / Argentina day 1 – Crossing the border from Bolivia to Argentina

Posted by on June 30, 2011

This was a rough night as this part of the trip meant coming straight from the Salar de Uyuni/Laguna trip, take a quick nap, and then taking the train from Uyuni town to the border of Argentina and a van into Salta. The train was going to be a late one as it was going to arrive at the station at 2:30 AM and take off at 3:00 AM which meant getting up at 1:00 AM after a few hours of sleep just to get ready to go to the station and not miss the train. After being warned about bad conditions on the train, it wasn’t too bad sleeping on the train as blankets were provided and it was relatively empty making the entire trip an easy ride. But the train’s bumpiness made the sleeping somewhat uneasy as it would rattle left and right while I was trying to go into deep sleep.

One thing that I noticed that I had to take a picture of was the bathroom. Holy crap, it was just a hole in the train where human feces just go right onto the train tracks! They should have sold t-shirts saying, “Yeah, I left my shit on the train tracks of Bolivia!”

train toilet, Bolivia, retrete, bañista de tren

Yes, the toilet on the train was basically a hole; no running water

I was surprised that trains would do such a thing and that urine itself is acidic enough to do damage to the metallic tracks. But as you know, different countries, different reasonings. I did not complain about such things but just noted them.

Once the train stopped and got to the border, I could see that it was almost basically an imaginary line separating the countries from each other, just like Peru and Bolivia… well, maybe.

Bolivia-Argentina border crossing, frontera cruzando/cruzar

There was the border of Bolivia and Argentina; very different from what I expected out of other borders

argentina-flagIt was actually pretty easy to get in and out of customs as I was told that the line was really short compared to other times when the line could stretch like a human centipede, for more than several blocks. But once I was through the Argentinean border, it was another long journey on a van for several long hours to get to the destination of Salta. Finally! I was in Argentina after 14 great days of Bolivia!

Of course, I wasn’t all the way through yet since our van was stopped by the Argentinean police to conduct a “random” search. That meant everyone had to get off, open their belongings like going through customs, and show some kind of paperwork. It was a long process, spending at least an hour’s worth of processing, but no contraband such as drugs and weapons were found and the van was off again only to go through dodging traffic, avoiding some crazy drivers trying to go faster. Oh jeez, I was surprised at the audacity of some of these drivers was they would try to get in front of the vehicle ahead of them despite the on-coming traffic with some of them being very short calls. Talk about the ass being grilled on the sides!

Other than that, it was a great ride with the beautiful scenery to look at.

Argentine mountains, Argentina, montañas, cerros, montes

These were some interesting looking mountains

Argentine mountains, Argentina, montañas, cerros, montes, cañón

A dry creekbed of what looks like a canyon

cañón, panorama, paisaje, Argentina, landscape

Great landscape to look at - Northern Argentina

Hell, I even got the driver to stop to get my picture taken saying that I crossed the Tropic of Capicorn!

Tropic of Capicorn sign, seña, Argentina

I was crossing the Tropic of Capicorn for the first time in my life; big deal, huh?

Tropic of Capicorn sign, seña, Argentina

I might as well enjoy myself with this crossing and do a little pose with it to remember the occassion... or not

And finally, after spending all night and day from Bolivia to Argentina, I finally get in a bed that doesn’t move at all. Salta, and Argentina, at last. And poof, off to sleep.