Border crossings in foreign countries are always interesting (and an exercise in patience). Probably the most fun we’ve ever had was the crossing from Peru to Bolivia at Desaguadero, a scruffy little town on the road from Puno on Lake Titicaca in Peru to the ruins of Tiwanaku in Bolivia.
The scene can best be described as chaotic – there are all kinds of vehicles transporting all kinds of cargo down a dusty street lined with funky stores, with two lines of street stalls down the middle selling everything from household supplies to raw meat, interspersed with moneychangers who wouldn’t look out of place in Las Vegas apart from their traditional Andean clothing. Everyone jostles for space in the street before or after lining up to move slowly through the Customs office.
As our tour bus arrived, amidst many other buses, we were told by our tour leader to hide anything that looked valuable, as the border agents are given to asking for bribes if they see something interesting, but none of our group of about 30 people encountered any issues.
The free show outside the building was the best entertainment as we got back on the bus and crawled slowly between foot traffic, vehicles, animals, crates, sacks of potatoes, people having lunch on the side of the road… This photo captures the feel of the traffic, with this man trying to move an older woman along on his bike surrounded by the huge tour buses – a wonderful juxtaposition of cultures in the middle of the Andes.