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Ben and Ange - On the Road

Bolivian Bureacracy

BOLIVIA | Friday, 9 May 2008 | Views [625] | Comments [3]

Ah yes... we finally had our own first hand experience of the stuff.  And did I lose my rag?  Well yes of COURSE I did!

So it goes like this... we`re planning on heading into the jungle to do some volunteer work at an animal refuge for a month perhaps.  Our current length of stay in Bolivia is 30 days max.  So we need to get ourselves an extension for another 30 days.  A simple matter (according to the Lonely/LIAR Planet) of popping into a migracion office and getting a stamp.  Cool.

So off we go on Tuesday morning in a taxi to where the LIAR Planet said the migracion office should be.  Nope.  Not there - all we found there was the zoo... which may have proved more efficent in the end.  Back into another taxi... thank the lord for current exchange rate... and we manage to get ourselves to right place. 

In we go.  And queue.  We have our passports and a couple of other documents in case and the lady at reception (kinda a bureacracy triage function) sends us to another office.  The kind gentleman in that office sends us back to triage.  Here a uniformed military kinda guy lets us know that its not possible today.  Come back "mañana".  Hmm.  A tad frustrating.  And with our slim grasp on a tiny amount of spanish we have no way of understanding clearly what the hell is going on and are unable to convince them that really we want to be on a bus tomorrow not standing in line here again.  All to no avail... come back mañana.

Ah well - we chill out for the rest of the day and return the following day, bright and early and ready to get things rolling.  We get past triage and down to the waiting area - where we wait.  For a couple of hours.  Thank the lord for a pack of cards in our bag!  Our number is finally called and up we jump, quite excited that we`ll finally be getting that blasted stamp. 

The gentleman behind this desk asks for our pasports - check, and a photocopy of our passports - check, and... hang on... no no... one page with a copy of both our passports won`t do.  And no I can`t rip the page in half (I`m getting a tad ticked off by now), oh and do we have a photocopy of the passport page with our Bolivian entry stamp?  No we bluddy don`t.... no-one told us anything useful like that!  So it`s at this point that we hear the dredded word  "mañana".  We are unable to get any reason out of them as to why we can`t just photocopy the stuff here and now and be done with it TODAY?

And yeah... this is where a fine display of Ange tanty-technique kicks in.   I stomp on out (throwing a cursory "gracias" over my shoulder)I woulda slammed a door too, if there was one, instead I fume my way onto the sidewalk shouting to no-one in particular that I`m not effing coming back effing mañana and effing Bolivia can effing stick the effing stamp anyway!!  A calming hug from Ben and we conclude that we should... come back mañana.

Now its Thursday... we were kinda hoping to be outta Santa Cruz by Tuesday.  But out we go again... armed with many copies of many documents and a few spares.  Our pack of cards rides with us and I`m doing a fine impersonation of a calm and rational person.    

Triage señora smiles knowingly at us when we enter.  We get our number and play cards for our couple of hours wait.  Up we go and things are looking very promising... the dude has a stamp out... and he stamps our documents... and then directs us to another counter.  We queue over there and pay our money.  All good progress so far.  She gives us a bunch of forms to fill out and directs us to take those to yet another counter.  Only a short queue here.  Calmness is still intact.  At this point the next lady takes our pasports.... this is it for sure... here comes the stamp... it MUST be!  But no... she gives us a wee slip of paper and says something along the lines of come back MAÑ-bluddy-ANA!!!!! 

You know what though.  Theres no fury left in me.  Only amused resignation.  But nope - we`re not going to come back mañana, we enquire as to whether we can possibly please, pLEASE sort this out today?  Sure enough we get directed to yet another desk and another lady who assures us that she can sort it our for us... we should come back at 4 this afternoon.   What can ya do?

We went back.  We waited another couple of hours and HALLY-LOOLEY WE GOT IT BY JOVE!!!!!

And thats the end of my little story. 

We can now head up to our next destination - AND tick off another mighty travel experience..Sweet Bolivian Bureacracy.  Yay us!




Wow........ I admire your staying power and stamina, persistence, tenacity, endurance etc but is it really that much different from dealing with Telstra here in Perth???

Would love to be there with you and the animals. Send more journal and photos please.

Love Sue & Dad

  Sue May 9, 2008 3:31 PM


OMG Ange!!! That was definitely a VERY TRYing experience! I can't believe u STILL went back manana all those times:)

Glad it worked out tho:)

  AJ Pember May 30, 2008 7:37 PM


Good story, but.

Hope it's easier getting out of the jungle.

Cheers, Sandra

  Sandra Jun 6, 2008 8:11 PM

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