“Africa, haha, those were some times.”
“Remember the rebels and how we could not get our Angolan visas for months, the Angolans have the worst policies on the planet.”
Time moves fast making your way around the world. With each border falling behind the horizon, we find new challenges to deal with. Time and time again we encounter something that presents itself as likely the most difficult task on the expedition. Customs in Argentina may not be the most difficult, but perhaps the most frustrating.
Looking back at our run through the heart of Africa it seems like no countries could be more corrupt, no roads could be so bad, no government policies could be so senseless. In most of these cases Africa will take the cake, but this all depends on how you decide to measure the worst or the best. For instance, Mongolia is one of the least developed countries in the world, yet one of the most pleasant when it comes to dealing with the government.
While going through Africa and Central Asia, you must convince yourself that things just work differently there. A different set of rules apply. Upon coming to South America and here to Argentina, we expected to encounter our fair share of difficulties. These countries are more developed so in our minds they should have been a little easier to do…well…anything. So far, if you set the bar of expectations higher based on Argentina’s level of development, they have officially beat every country by a landslide in terrible government policy.
We have many many different ways to prove that the trucks are ours. We have a website, thousands of photos with us and the trucks, videos of us driving the trucks, laminated copies of the articles of incorporation of the business, carnet documents, vehicle titles, a direct link to the Colorado Secretary of State website with online proof, bank statements, credit cards, debit cards and a crew of restless TWBR team members. So what is holding us up?…(moments ago I received this instant message from a good friend in Denver)
“Benjamin: Talked to Secretary of State’s office. I’ll need one more day. I’m getting it notarized, and getting the international designation for 15 bucks at their offices tomorrow morning – only time it can happen. I’ll scan and email the copy tomorrow, and then will fed-ex the rest.”
If it was not for good friends like Ben and all the others who help us out, the bureaucrats would win. The friendly customs agents here in Argentina are keeping the trucks because out of all the hard evidence we have that these trucks are ours, including a bill of lading from the shipping company in my name, they are only willing to take a document with an Apostille. This fancy little stamp that will be on new copies of our Articles of Incorporation is simply an international notification that the papers are legitimate.
I guess that somehow we are really good at Photoshop and motion graphics because the thousands of photos and video we have from all around the world with the trucks are just simply brilliant cut-and-paste work. You caught us Argentina customs…there is no logical way that the trucks in those containers could possibly be ours. Okay, well I left something else out…we were offered the chance to pay a bribe totaling $1500, then our papers will magically become legitimate.