Villazon - Border crossing

Villazon Travel Blog

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Sorry lads, that one was me. Too many beef empanadas...

Potosi to Villazon - 372 km £ 1.80

The journey to Villazon was relatively pleasant as budget bus travel goes. It did get very cold though - when I arrived in Villazon at 5 a.m. I was wearing my llama hat, llama gloves and my ‘guesswhosbeentobolivia’ jumper and was still shivering.

My first port of call was a food kiosk. I ordered a coffee and handed the guy behind the counter a 20 sole note. After fumbling in his wallet for an eternity he gave me my change - two 10 sole notes.

I said, ‘Sir, you appear to have mistakenly given me twenty in change although I paid you twenty. The net effect of this transaction is nil, i.e. I have not settled my debt to you for this piping hot beverage’

Though in my Spanish the literal translation would be.

Tramp friends.
.. ‘Meeester. I have twentyo. Now... I have ten and ten. I no payo?’

He nodded sagely and I handed him back a ten. Another wallet faff and then I received two five sole coins. Fuck it, probably National Free Coffee Day or something.

I wandered about five blocks and then across the border to Argentina, not too stressful once you remember that Peruvians are little queue-weasels and use your body to block any gaps that could tempt a would be pusher-inner.

I also got pulled over for a bag search, but this only involved the customs officer putting his hand in the very top of the rucksack and wafting it around feebly for a few seconds before giving me the all clear.

Hey presto - I’d made it safely into Argentina with my AK, ten kilos of crack and a bag of assorted fresh (yet diseased) produce.

Strange murals

I saw a shifty looking guy in a tracksuit selling bus tickets to BA and ended up gracing him with my custom; it seems to have worked out in the past.

To be fair he had a lovely office and the other options (Laurel and Hardy or a Chuckle brother) weren’t great and charged slightly more.

I then had a few hours to kill in which I learnt a few of the differences between Bolivia and Argentina.

In Argentina it was almost impossible to get food before mid-day, unless you count coffee and a pastry as a meal. Finally I found an alleged 24 hour café in the bus station. Before 1 p.m. they could be persuaded to knock up a sandwich - as long as it was beef based.

Secondly, the Argentineans just didn’t seem to want to make money. I tried to get a hotel room at a discount as I would only be using it to get a shower and three hours sleep - no takers.

They're sick of Irish people going to border crossings in search of fun.
Perhaps my finely honed bartering skills were going to be wasted here…

I sat in the park and washed and shaved with the aid of a bottle of water. A local tramp woman (who ignored all the normal people, people not undertaking personal hygiene on public land) walked up to me and said ‘Buenos dias amigo’ before walking off. I’d obviously just slipped down the social scale a notch.

In keeping with my new life I lay back on a bench and read a book. This was quite enjoyable until the dogs came. The dogs.

I’m not sure how it happened. One minute I was alone, the next there was a motley crew of about six stray dogs dotted around my bench. Slowly the ranks swelled to about a dozen, then one of them started growling. It rabies have been at me, it may not, but I had other thoughts on my rabies, so decided it would be a good idea to make a move. Rabies.

As I calmly walked off, I noticed that the pack had started trotting along with me. I then went on a merry pied piper journey around the town - across the road (still following), doubling back on myself (still following) near some tied up guard dogs (a lot of barking making it even less pleasant, but still following) and then toward the town centre (still following).

I’d thus far tried not to provoke the dogs, but this was getting ridiculous. I took the risk, banged my water bottle and shouted ‘fuck off’. Off they fucked.

On hindsight my dog-poo shoe may have contributed to the situation…


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Sorry lads, that one was me. Too m…
Sorry lads, that one was me. Too …
Tramp friends.
Tramp friends.
Strange murals
Strange murals
Theyre sick of Irish people going…
They're sick of Irish people goin…
photo by: Mortyzia