The bus left on time with four passengers aboard. A few minutes later, we stopped at the Argentinian border. Two passengers got off to declare their personal iPads. The customs officer smiled as he saw the two guys approach.
I don’t declare objects for personal use. There is no point in doing so otherwise crossing borders will be a bigger hassle than it already is. It’s normal to have a camera, a tablet, a smartphone and the sort. From my experience, you only have to declare valuable objects if you carry an amount above allowed limits or for business intentions.
These guys were tourists and were taking forever at the customs office. My patience started to fade. Time was flying and this was my only opportunity to see the falls from the Brazilian side. I planned the trip with one afternoon in Brazil and the next whole day on the Argentinian side.
As the minutes passed, I went from impatient to annoyed. The other passenger made a few unpleasant comments. The driver also started to get impatient. He got up and went to the customs office to see what was going on. A few minutes later, they all walked out the office, with the customs guy still smiling.
Back at the bus, the driver picked up a bunch of sweets from a box behind his seat and gave them to the border officer. It felt like that wasn’t the first time it happened.
We finally moved on but to my surprise, there was no stop on the Brazilian side of the border. On one hand, it was great to move on to the waterfalls and avoid the guys declaring their iPads again. On the other, I wasn’t getting a stamp in my passport, so technically, I couldn’t prove I was in Brazil.
The slight disappointment transformed into enthusiasm as we drove on. After all, I was in Brazil! I was visiting my language sharing brothers. It felt weird to speak Portuguese again.