Posts Tagged Buenos Aires

Hasta luego, amigo.

Posted on July 18, 2012 by 13 Comments

We finally made it back to Buenos Aires and the familiar comfort of Rodi’s shop. We were held up by some sort of protest that seemed to clog up the entire city and block all the major streets. This is where the GPS comes in handy.

In Lanus, Rodi welcomed us back with incredible hospitality – we’re lucky to be here.

Red Beard is now safely garaged 50,000 or so miles from where we started. The bus will sit until mid-September, when we will return here to resume our assault on ‘living a normal life’. Until then, we’ll be back in the US visiting friends and family, working, and… maybe, temporarily living a more-ordinary life.

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Into Uruguay

Posted on May 15, 2012 by 6 Comments

We had a fantastic time in Buenos Aires. We parked the bus in a lot for the week and stayed in a penthouse. Yeah, you heard that right. Honestly, it was just a large room on the top floor of the hostel, but we had a great balcony and they brought in an extra mattress for Bode.

I spent most of my time shopping.  My mom is coming to visit in a week so I figured it was my chance to buy a few things to send back with her. My custom-made leather coat turned out great, too. It was pretty fun to take an existing coat design and change up the cuffs, collar, buttons…I even had them add in some extra pockets on the inside. Totally one of kind. All for not much more than off the rack.

A tango show, a few nice meals out and it was time to get out of the big city. We’d splurged, but enjoyed it. Simon and MC were flying back to Montreal, and we headed the other way- to the ferry terminal. On to Uruguay.

We wandered around Buenos Aires for another couple of hours before we had to check in for the ferry.  I was expecting we’d return to drive the bus onto the ferry, but once we’d checked we were sent right through a very efficient Argentina/Uruguay customs process. Bode and I were ushered into a waiting area that was equivalent to a very nice airport. Jason was sent to the bus to load the car.

I didn’t have anything with me, no backpack, no money no entertainment for Bode. I was freezing in a skirt and the flip flops I’d changed into after walking B.A. I had planned to change on the ferry because it was getting cold.

Meanwhile , Jason got the complimentary drug dog inspection at the bus. Finally, we were allowed on the boat, which was very exciting to Bode. It was a hydrofoil, and looked like a fancy cruise ship inside, complete with duty-free store and snack bar.  Jason finally showed up with some entertainment for Bode and a bottle of wine for us.

About an hour later, we were in Colonia, Uruguay. After unloading the car, we were pulled out of line since we had the only ‘foreign’ plate. The cops  gave us a hand-written note that appears to be our temporary vehicle permission.

It was dark, but the town looked nice. The gate to the municipal campground was open, but it was closed down and the bathroom doors were locked. Since it was late, we  just popped the top anyway.


Brazil Visa

Posted on May 13, 2012 by 4 Comments

-Brazilian Consulate in Buenos Aires.

We’ve heard some stories about this being a difficult process.  There are always stories. Still, we cruised through pretty easily, despite not having all the ‘required’ paperwork. Here’ s the handy dandy BodesWell Brazilian visa guide for Americans in Buenos Aires. FYI – we need a visa to enter Brazil, since our country requires one of Brazilians to enter the U.S.  Its the whole reciprocity thing.

First, fill out and submit the forms electronically here.

Second, make an appointment here.

Gather the required paperwork noted on the above link…

You will need actual photos on glossy photo paper – we tried color prints and they refused them.  No worries, there is a quicky passport photo place around the corner from the consulate and they will give you directions after you strike out. Adds 10 minutes.

If you travel with a kid (you should), they claim to require notarized ‘parental documents’ and the original birth certificate. We had neither and took a color scan of Bode’s birth certificate. They just made a photocopy and handed it back.

Take your passports and leave them there.

Consulado-Geral do Brasil
Carlos Pellegrini 1363 piso 5
Ciudad Autónoma de Buenos Aires

They specifically asked for copies of a recent bank statement (I wasn’t going to volunteer it) and they just glanced at it. I had changed all the numbers anyway.

I had a ‘fake’ hotel reservation in my pile of documents since it’s supposed to be required, but they didn’t ask.

I brought my car papers, since we were supposed to have proof of reservations on a bus or plane into and out of the country. They didn’t ask for them, and I mentioned that I was driving. She asked me 5 minutes later if I was driving and I nodded yes. That was about all for transit discussions.

I requested 180 days on the application and she thought we were crazy. You get 90 days max (she even went somewhere to ask if she could make an exception). You can extend it another 90 days once in the country.

They give you a payment stub and directions to their bank. Go to their bank, take a number and wait. Pay in ARS cash. They get notified of payment electronically. It’s about 770 ARS per person (about $175 USD). Yeah, ouch.  It’s the same as the U.S. charges Brazilians to enter the U.S.  That whole reciprocity thing again.

It was painless… they spoke English, Spanish, and I assume, Portuguese.

We picked up our passports and visas 24 hours later.

You must enter Brazil within 30 days to validate the visa. Only now did we realize that they misspelled Bode’s middle name… we’ll let you know if it’ an issue.

It’s one of the largest countries in the world, with over 1 million miles of road… and you get 90 days. Good luck.

Oh, and overstaying your visa comes with a penalty of about $2 USD per day. So, don’t worry about it. Start learning Portuguese.

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Posted on May 11, 2012 by 2 Comments

We’re making one more trip through Buenos Aires with Simon and M.C. before we continue north.

Following our normal procedure, we break down when carrying passengers. This time at a toll booth right in the middle of the city. We literally pushed the bus through the booth and into a median. Since we were a little preoccupied, we didn’t pay the toll.  Five minutes later, the toll booth operator kindly walked up to us with a receipt and asked for her money. I thought there might be some sort of exception for human-powered vehicles, but apparently not.

After 30 minutes of fruitless searching for the problem, the bus just fired right up. We had narrowed it down to the fuel pump (which was squirting fuel when we checked) or a mystery short, but just decided to continue into downtown. You can’t fix it if it ain’t broke. Of course, it broke again. Right as we were pulling into a parking garage downtown. Still not fully convinced, we replaced the fuel pump and it’s been running fine ever since. I’ve carried a spare for almost 3 years, so I’m actually kind of glad it wasn’t for nothing.

Anyway, the ladies decided they needed custom-made leather coats. Apparently, this is a thing to do in B.A. It makes sense for M.C., heading back to Canada. Angela is on her way to sweltering Brazil, but I decided to keep my mouth shut. Happy wife, happy life… right?

Even Bode got in on the act when he found one he liked. “I want this!” as he checked himself out in the mirror. He did look pretty cool, but he would probably grow out of it before we even got to Rio.


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KombiRock and Deja Vu

Posted on May 10, 2012 by No Comments

We swung by the airport to meet up with our friends Simon and MC. They’d just sold their bus in Chile and were spending 5 days in Buenos Aires before returning home to Montreal.

Off we went to Kombi Rock- an all day concert by and for kombi lovers.  Great music and fun folks.

Afterwards, we hit the municipal campground next door.

B.W. in B.A.

Posted on May 8, 2012 by 3 Comments

We’ve been hanging around Buenos Aires… mostly in Lanus, actually… and working on some projects.  All new CV boots and one CV. New rear shocks… yep, more shocks. It’s been a week already. Time flies when you’re under the bus.

Fortunately, we’ve been hanging out with new friends learning to appreciate regular mate breaks. Our new friend Rodi has been hosting us – we’ve got the top popped in his workshop. The place is fitted out with a living and kitchen area, so we are quite comfortable. We just have to squeeze past a few VWs on the way to the bathroom.

Lanus is a short train ride and metro ride from El Centro. We’ve managed to go downtown twice and meander the city. Definitely a European-style “cafe culture” and a big city.

Buenos Aires is one of the top 20 largest cities in the world. Number 17, by some counts. Now, you know.



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Posted on May 5, 2012 by No Comments

We were asked to be interviewed for a radio show put together by some local VW guys… Radiokombinauta.  Cool folks and a good time. I embarrassed myself trying to speak Spanish on the radio for 10 minutes, but hey… I did it.

And, if you are near B.A. this weekend… come meet us at Kombi ROCK! Primer festival de Rock Kombinauta en Argentina

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