BootsnAll Travel Network

Day 58 Boa Vista, Brazil

I woke that morning at 5am, 6am, 7am, and laid there in bed twiddling my thumbs until 8am. It was king of like the first day of school, but in a good way. I hopped up brushed my teeth and was out the door with an auro of freedom all around me. I walked the five minutes taking a last look around as if I was going to be let out of jail. From previous scouting trips I knew exactly where to go. When I arrived there were two other couples there. I was hoping it would not be a huge line. With the exception of the USA and Australians, I donít think anybody else has to go for the visa so it should be a light day. I went to the door but it was locked. One of the ladies told me that they would not be open until 9am. SHIT. We hung around just talking wasting time. The one couple was a Brazilian lady with a guy from Grenada. The other couple were a Colombian girl with a Australian guy. We talked about our plans and such until it was time to open. Finally at 9am the doors open and we walked in. The first thing the guy said was that they could process the Visas, but the Consulate person who had to sign them would not be in until 3pm. SHIT. We all just laughed as everybodyís plans just simultaneously flushed down the toilet. While processing my Visa th guy showed me the price list for the conversion rate for US dollars. They wanted $258,000B for the Visa. SHIT. The governmental rate was $2100B to $1US and on the street they were only giving $2400B. I sarcastically asked what Black Market they were using because I couldnít even get that rate. Surprisingly he just laughed. Since I had time I ran down to the bank which was finally open and stood in a line 40 deep. I was barely in the doorway while people who just walked up had to stand outside and almost to the street. They only had one teller working at the time. Luckily, as I was standing there a security guy noticed that I had my Visa card in my hand. He asked if I was getting money. I told him yes and he took me to an open window. The lady quickly processed my request and gave the paperwork to the sole teller. She told me to cut to the front to pick up my money. I just walked up and the guy processed my paperwork and gave me my money. I felt really bad cutting in front of people, but sometimes special treatment is highly appreciated. I hopped in a cab and headed back to the Embassy. Everybody was still waiting, so I just hung out with them.

I ended up befriending the Colombian/Australian couple. She was born and raised in Bogota and met the guy in Australia where she graduated from University studies. He was born in Chile and ended up leaving with his mother and living in Europe first and then Australia. They were just wrapping up a years travel in South America and were heading down through Brazil on their way to Buenos Aires where he would be flying home and she would be going back to Bogota. From there, they were unsure of where the relationship would go. I told them of my travels and plans as well as my love for Colombia. She ended up giving me a lot of in sight into Bogota, a city which I had not been.

Finally at 12:30pm the Consular walked in. We were all ecstatic to see him. In fifteen minutes we were done. The prior day when the Aussie/Colombian couple went to the La Linea, the taxi driver had ripped them off on the fare. I told them about the Por Puesto and then we decided that we would share a taxi. I ran back to the Hotel to get my backpack while they finished up on his Visa. I packed my things and checked out. The owner told me goodby (and remembered my name which I thought was nice since he deals with new groups of people everyday.) I jogged back to the Embassy where they were just making their way to the street. Just as I got there I remembered that I still had not gotten my exit stamp. That would have been a disaster had I forgot that. The girl told me where to go and I hauled ass over to get the little stamp while they flagged down a taxi. I quickly found the place and got my stamp. On the way out the guy came in saying he found a taxi guy that was from Boa Vista and was on his way back. He would take us there for half the price we were going to pay for the taxi ride and bus ride to Boa Vista. He would even drop me off at my Hotel on the way to the bus station. We loaded up in the taxi and headed into town where the guy picked up some extra cases of beer. He doubled his money by bringing back beer and with additional passengers, he could bring back more beer. This time at the La Linea we did not get pulled out for a full inspection. They just checked out passport and we were off. Down at the Immigration office it was a quick stamp and we were off to the bus terminal to trade my extra Bolivares for Reals. I ended up getting a much better deal there then back in the city. After that it was a couple of hours of great conversation and good laughs. When we got to Boa Vista, the driver dropped me off at the Hotel where we said our goodbyes and they left to the bus station and Manaus.

One thing about Brazil is that they speak Portuguese. Now some people say that Spanish and Portuguese are similar and you can get by with Spanish, but when you Spanish is very basic like mine, the correlation just isnít there. Luckily, I ran into a young Swedish guy who spoke Portuguese. He helped me get a room and get situated. At the time I was really happy he was there because I was just too tired to have to deal with more problems. After I dropped my stuff in the room, we hung out in the lobby and talked about our different plans. He was on his second tour of South America and was in country for only three weeks. When he got to Boa Vista, they had problems with his Visa card and his bank ended up cancelling his pin code. He had no way to get any money. He had about a $100 US to get by. He had already tried all the banks in Boa Vista with no avail so his only choice was to go to Manaus and try the banks there, get a room for a week while his new card was sent to him, or use his card to buy a flight to Sao Paulo where he had some friends he could stay with while he got everything worked out. Since it was only his third week, he was really frustrated. We hung out until the afternoon and he took off for the bus terminal. I spent the next couple of hours walking around the city.

Boa Vista is a planned city on the banks of the Rio Branco. It feels quite isolated and has few attractions to draw travelers. For many itís just somewhere to pass through between Venezuela and Manaus. I found it to be somewhat modern and like any other city that is in the middle of nowhere, spread out. Everybody had yards and driveways so it made the city feel big and spread out, much different than the usual South American cities where everybody is almost stacked on top of each other. The majority of people seemed like they got around by either bicycle or moped/motorcycle. It was rather blah, but they had banks, and that is what I was there for. That night I had a medium pizza at a sidewalk cafť and surprisingly finished the whole thing. I waddled home and fell fast asleep. It had been a busy day.


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