Thursday, 16 July 2009

My First Border Crossing Chile/Argentina, 25 June 2009

Jess and I were up really early today to make our first South American border crossing into Argentina. After saying fond farewells to the lovely Felipe and Gloria at the Treehouse we found our way to one of Pucon´s many bus stops.

On the bus we were greeted with a cup of coffee and a biccie! Fab times.

The bus set off and we were on our way to Argentina.

People had mentioned to me in Santiago that it was illegal to carry fruit between Argentina and Chile... Jess and I had a banana and apple each in our food bag. We had intended to eat the fruit en route to the border but we reached the border quicker than we anticipated, so as the bus driver ushered us into the immigration office, Jess and myself were in a panic about our fruit.

As we stood in the queue with our fellow bus passengers the bus was searched by security. Jess and I spoke to each other out of the corner of our mouths and hatched a plan... we would plead ignorance. We did know that you weren´t supposed to carry fruit between countries, but we would play up the role of the ignorant gringo and mumble in broken spanish that we were sorry ¨LO SIENTO¨.

As the queue moved on slowly I examined the walls... There was only one poster... Only NEW fishing equipment could be used in Chile to stop the spread of some virus that was common in Argentina. Hmmm... if it really was illegal to carry fruit, surely there would be a poster to illustrate this.

I searched all the walls but there was no sign warning people off from carrying fruit.

Once we were stamped out of Chile and stamped into Argentina we were back on the bus which had passed its security clearance.

We assumed that our fruit would have been confiscated, but when we returned it was where we left it.

How peculiar.

As the journey carried on to San Martin de los Andes, I consulted the Lonely Planet for advice on crossing borders in South America with fruit. There,in a black and white I read that you could not take fruit into Chile, but nowhere did it mention that taking fruit into Argentina was illegal. Oops, maybe I should have double checked this before we crossed the border, it would have saved a lot of panic. It was a teeny tiny bit disappointing though, we had titled ourselves fruit-mules, and we had to lose that title when we found out we hadn´t actually been doing anything illegal.

As for the journey, it was very beautiful to cross the Andes and see the snow topped mountains all around.

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