Even getting out of Bolivia was a bit of a pain. We were immediately met in Brazil with much more friendly people who seemed to like having us there and continually went out of their way to help us…it was literally a 180deg change of experience just by crossing the border…
Getting out of Bolivia was almost as hard as getting in for me. We walked from the airport to the port and found the immigration office. The guy working in the office seemed to have a really hard time with my passport. Keep in mind that the folks at the port authority spoke no English…so this was another valuable experience in testing our spanish skills.
It took a while to explain the name change (when I changed my last name, they didn´t issue a new passport. They simply put a line item on the last page that my name changed). Once we got past that, he didn´t want to stamp me out because my passport expires in Nov. of this year. I reminded him that the country only requires 6 months. He eventually nodded in agreement but then asked what my plan was when I wanted to come back. I explained that we were leaving for good and would go from Brazil to Argentina. He studied it for a while longer, called someone else over to study it. The whole time I just wanted to shout at him…¨HELLO-I want to leave! What difference does the future make to you for me and my passport. I want to go!!!¨ Eventually, we got our stamps, changed most of our Bolivianos to Reals and bought a ferry to cross the river into Brazil and left Bolivia.
Arriving on the Brazil side, you must walk about 4 or 5 blocks out of the way to the immigration office. It was odd to me that on both sides, it is so easy to enter/depart either country without going through the formalities. We did, however, take the time to ¨do it right¨. We then grabbed a taxi to the bus station and bought bus tickets to Porto Velho.
On the bus, we met our first incredibly helpful Brazilian. He lived in Porto Velho and was offering his thoughts on the best place to stay for the night as we were reading through some options in our travel guide. He didn´t speak English and our Portugeuse was non-existant. We managed somewhat with Spanish and then a lady sitting behind him began translating between the three of us.
When we arrive in Port Velho, the friendly guy from the bus introduced us to his brother who spoke English fluently. They offered to give us a ride. When we saw the tiny station wagon, we assured them that we would be fine. The guy was worried about us and took it upon himself to negotiate a taxi ride for us to our hotel. It would cost 10Reals. The costs of the day had left us with only 9. The friendly guy approached his wife and got another 1 for us to make it to our hotel since there was no cambio nor atm in the vicinity. He then offered to swing by the hotel and make sure that we made it ok. We assured him again that we would be ok and insisted that he had done enough. It was amazing how concerned he was for us and how much he was willing to do for us…the total strangers from the US!
We eventually made it to our hotel. We picked one that was slightly overpriced, but accepted visa (in case we still couldn´t get cash). We were directed to some atms-none of which worked. So, we hit the grocery store (accepted visa) and bought food for dinner. We decided to give it another go in the morning.