our worst ever travel day(s) in latin america

We try our best to show you the beautiful side of travel. However, there is also an ugly, sweaty and chaotic element to every big adventure. 

On our two year trip through Latin America, our worst travel experience occurred over the course of three exhausting and stressed out days where just nothing went right for us as we tried to make it from Bolivia to Brazil.

This is how it went down.


Day one

book flight on-line - receive email confirming booking - ten minutes later receive email saying booking failed - have no phone so have to use skype to call - call drops out five times - internet is bad in Bolivia - go to use international phone box - electricity drops out during call - try skype again - they can't hear us then it drops out - happy hour cocktails - pay extortionate rate to use a phone on a motorway but can't hear or understand person on other side - cook noodles - bargain three times to get the correct price for a taxi to bus station - traffic is awful - arrive with two minutes to spare - receive three different answers about where the bus leaves from - find bus - told that we have to go back inside to leave luggage at an office - get told we can't go back inside by ticket man - shout at ticket man - leave luggage - run back to bus - trapped listening to a salesman telling us his tea is the cure to diabetes - fall asleep - awoke by Bolivians playing music on their phone - shout at Bolivians playing music on their phone - pass out.

bolivia brazil border crossing


Day two

arrive at bus station at 5 a.m. - taxi driver lies about the border opening time - enjoy coffee - take a taxi to border - arrive to see queue of about 100 people - take place in queue - three hours later, still in queue - told we need piece of paper to exit - explain that we asked for this piece of paper when we entered, but he refused to give it to us - receive piece of paper - leave Bolivia - arrive at Brazilian side of crossing to see queue of 100 people - take place in queue - one hour later, still standing in same spot - two hours later, have moved six feet - start to think what the hell is going on - start shouting at people arriving who are cutting the queue - realise efforts are futile - try to rally support from other people - realise efforts are futile - ask the lady in charge, in Spanish, what's going on - get shouted at in Portuguese - one hour later, have moved three feet - start to worry - almost get in to fight after shouting at family trying to cut in - security finally arrives - queues are rearranged - move back two feet - security leaves - carnage and queue-cutting ensues - start to really worry we won't get across - discover that only two people are working in immigration office - discover that people waiting since yesterday are still waiting in line - tour guide twat arrives asking if we want a tour - tell tour guide to piss off - tour guide tells us that there are no buses today - we do not believe tour guide - but, hurrah, tour guide offers 'top quality private car service - tell tour guide to go away - tell shouty Brazilian lady in charge that our flight (which we still don't know if we actually have) leaves tomorrow morning at 8 a.m. from a town 6 hours bus ride away - lady shouts back in Portuguese - plead with lady in mix of Portuguese and Spanish - lady tells us if we show proof, maybe we can pass - realise we have no proof of flight we're not even sure we still have a ticket for - ask if we can use anyone's phone to access email - realise our only friends in the queue are travellers, a mennonite and Bolivians who don't have phones - Andrew decides to go to an internet cafe in Bolivia (illegally) - visit first internet cafe, told there is no internet today - visit second internet cafe, told there is no internet today - visit third internet cafe, told there is internet today - discover they don't have a printer - walk 1km to ask a hotel if he can use computer and printer - internet is slow in Bolivia - print flight booking - asked to pay 5B - Andrew only has 3B remaining - charm receptionist - walk back across the border to find Emily has moved one foot - show proof to lady in charge - ENTER BRAZIL five hours after joining queue - bargain for a taxi - arrive at bus station at 2 p.m. - discover that it's actually 3 p.m. in Brazil - book ticket on next available bus - next available bus doesn't leave till 11.30 p.m. - drink beer - find supermarket - have makeshift picnic next to a skip - ask to use a phone - finally manage to speak with airline - realise that to confirm flight ticket, we need to arrive at airport two hours before flight - realise that our bus doesn't get there till one hour before - worry - shower in bus station with door that doesn't lock - board bus - sleep


Day three

arrive at airport at 5.30 a.m. - realise it's now 4.30 a.m. - go and find ticket office - ticket office does not open until 6 a.m. - SCREAM - drink coffee - get harassed by man - confirm ticket - board flight - fly - arrive at airport - share meal - board second flight - ARRIVE IN SALVADOR - try and find a payphone to phone a hostel - can only use payphone with phonecard - airport does not sell phonecards - charm lady in tourist office to let us their phone - all hostels are full - tourist office lady's friend recommends hostel - phone hostel - don't understand Portuguese - tourist lady helps us out with directions - don't understand directions in Portuguese - board bus - arrive in Barra one hour later - find hostel - it's 5 p.m - drink caipirinha - pass out.

check out our adventures in bolivia