Ten o'clock this morning found me standing in a line at the Brazilean Embassy in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Brazil is only one of two countries in South and Central America that requires that short term travelers have a visa before they show up at the border. However, do not fault Brazil, they are only applying the same standards that we apply to them if they visit the United States.
The application process was rather straight forward. I had to have a passport picture for the visa, know the date and place where I would both enter and depart Brazil, have the name, address and phone number of the hotel in which I would be staying and then of course, I needed $145. Being well prepared, I had only the passport photo and the money. Alas, a trip to the local internet cafe and I found the name of a hotel in Brasilia, with phone number and address.
After completing the application process (three visits) I was instructed to visit a designated bank, pay the $145 and come back Tuesday when I may get a visa. Sounds like the U.S. bureaucracy! And, they kept my passport. I am trully stuck here in Buenos Aires, at least until Tuesday, but I suspect longer. I had hoped to visit Uruguay while I awaited the Brazilean visa, but I cannot without my passport. So, now I will spend the next several days viewing the beautiful architure of this city and I may just visit a tango bar or two. Wonder what kind of look a man my age will get in a tango bar when he orders a Coca Cola Light?
Coincidences. Today a gentleman at the hotel told me of meeting a U.K. rider who passed through Buenos Aires, a few weeks ago, on an older BMW. When I showed him a picture of Richard Hargood, on his white BMW, the man affirmed that the person to whom he referred was Richard, my friend who rode out of Ushuaia with me. So, Richard, you made an inpression here in Argentina and of all coincidences, I spoke with the man here in Buenos Aires.
Speaking of coincidences, today I have met a total of five people from Russia or the Ukraine. At least I have been able to speak some with them in their native language. All spoke Spanish but I was once again embarrassed by having to admit that I speak on a few words of Spanish.
Warm, clear skys, fantastic sidewalk cafes, friendly people (some very beautiful), the best steaks in the world, tango bars galore, great museums! It is not so terrible being stranded for a few days in Buenos Aires!