Sunday, April 26, 2009


is what I had to pay when I entered Bolivia in Copacabana because I was American. I was the only person on my bus that had to pay it. No other Americans on my 50 person backpacker bus was from the states. I think we know why now :) I´m guessing the $135 is just like Chile´s ¨reciprocity¨ fee of $131 that they force us to pay because we charge them that much just to turn in a visa application for the United States. That would be the reason why there´s hardly any Bolivians in the US too. $135 for a typical Bolivian is about 2 week´s worth of wages.

I had only $110 in American dollars in my money bag and not enough Bolivianos, and so I had to complete the other $25 by handing over most of the leftover Peruvian Soles that I had as well. I´m lucky I had those because otherwise I don´t know what else I would have done.

Worst case would have been that I would have had to turn around and go back into Peru to get money out from a bank and take a bus back to the Bolivian border.

Along with the $135, I needed to ask the guy next door to make copies of my passport and my vaccination card for 30 cents, and then fill out a long 1 page form too. Everyone else on the bus had to wait for me to finish the process. I felt bad for them.

I was traveling with Anita (Australia) at the time and she was an angel and stood in front of the bus to prevent the driver from leaving so that I could get back on. The driver couldn´t understand that she wanted him to wait for me until another lady inside the bus who was fluent in Spanish and English came outside and talked to Anita.

The bus driver then came into the immigration office and watched me complete the rest of the process. He looked at me and asked why I was from the US when I was obviously Chinese. Just like I have done this entire trip, I said I am a US citizen and my parents came from Korea. The men at the other end of the table all raised their eyebrows at that announcement as if it´s never happened before in their lives.

I think I felt a tinge of sympathy from those guys for being American and having to pay that enormous amount of money.

If Anita hadn´t been around I would have had to get my bags off the bus and finish the process alone and take a cab into the city by myself later on.


Blogger ben said...

next time when they ask you the question about why you are from the US while you are Chinese, just tell them that you own the US (which is almost true)

April 29, 2009 at 12:17 PM  

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