Photo of the week 2014 – Week 21
I remember my first ever border crossing. It was way back in 2006 when I travelled from Thailand to Burma. Being a young 20-year-old, I didn’t have a clue what to expect and I didn’t have a clue what was going on.
Much like when you first discover sex, it was over far too quickly, and I don’t think I had much say in the matter.
I was rushed off a bus, put in a queue, and told exactly what to do. I do remember being very polite and smiling a lot. The only thing needed to complete the scene was a cigarette when I got to the other through to the other side.
The next time I crossed a border from one country to another was in 2009, when I travelled from India to Nepal under the cover of darkness. Much like in 2006, it was over far too quickly, but I do remember it a lot more, and I seemed to enjoy it a lot more too (see the parallels here).
Once you’ve been on the road for a while, you’ll realise that border crossings are their own-mini adventures just waiting to happen.
This was the case in 2012 in Bolivia. I had just done a three-day tour of the Salt Flats, and a couple of people on our tour were going on to Chile. For that to happen, we had to drive to a border crossing.
When we arrived at the border of Bolivia and Chile, we had about 30 minutes to kill before we turned around and drove back to Uyuni; I saw this as an opportunity to have an adventure.
This particular border crossing was in the middle of the desert, and scattered around were these abandoned cars and busses. Why they were there, I have absolutely no idea. Anyway, after exploring one of the busses, I decided to try my luck with a border guard (it’s not what you are thinking).
As I had time, I asked the border guard that I really needed to go to the toilet. As there weren’t any on the Bolivian side, I asked him if I could quickly cross into Chile and use the toilet. After I reassured him that I wasn’t about to do a runner (considering we were in the middle of the desert, I’m surprised I had to reassure him at all), I was able to cross into Chile for five minutes.
Now, I can’t exactly claim I did much exploring, or that I saw anything other than the inside of a toilet, but to cross into a new country to do it, now that’s a story…