There are no photos from our drive to Desaguadero. We started off bright and early expecting to get to Bolivia. Instead we got bogged down so deeply in bureaucratic mire that we were barely able to back out and return to Puno. How bad was it? Customs agents seemed to have a real sparkle in their eye when saying that there was no way on earth they could help you get the necessary papers that no one ever mentioned you needed but that you should have known about all along.
None of these papers are available within a three day drive, and don’t bother with copies, only the originals will do–and there’s no overnight express. Only the 18 hour bus “express”. Possibly the most demoralizing part of this is the genuine pleasure that people seemed to take in not helping. This started with the Peruvian customs post, went on to the customs agents–we visited three before caving in and returning to Puno. Of course we’d gone to Migracion first to get stamped as leaving Peru, and of course only one person could un-stamp our passports, and he just went to lunch. An hour and a half later, we went back to Puno determined to get the papers, find a customs agent, get the temporary export permit for the car and GO. After all, the Bolivians had filled us in on everything that we needed for the temporary import permit, and we have all that paperwork. We didn’t even get a chance to try it out.
See Jonathan’s facebook page for the ugly details.