Funny ferries and border shenanigans

When our bus driver told us that we’d need to board a ferry en route to La Paz, we assumed we’d be on the same ferry as our bus – after all, when we’d traveled from Berlin to Copenhagen, the entire *train* boarded the ferry. But by now we should know not to make assumptions! In this case, the bus got its own big, flat gondola, and the humans boarded a separate fume-choked (but fast) motorboat. It was a riot watching the slow progress of our bus across the lake – it looked top-heavy and likely to tip over at any moment.

Speaking of surprising crossings, as dual US/German citizens, we wanted to enter Bolivia as Germans since Americans are charged an outrageous $135 for a visa and Europeans $0 (which, by the way, is hurting tourism in Bolivia). At the border, we got our exit stamps in our US passports, and then presented our German passports. Since Bolivian immigration officials would need to see evidence of our presence in a South America, we needed to get Peruvian stamps in our German passports. But the shady Peruvian immigration officials passed us a little handwritten note that said: “USA $135 Germany $65”. It was outright extortion, because Peru does not officially charge visa fees. But $65 each was better than $135 each, so I paid up, but was not happy.