Thursday, March 8, 2012

That Big Bird Home

After 10 days of sorting myself out in La Paz it was time to got home, finally. I was ready. I had my emergency travel document, had my crappy rucksack packed and now just needed to wake up on time. I drank a litre of water before I went to bed which is an old school alarm clock. I did not feel real good about getting my 6 am wake up call.

I woke up at 5 30 and my wake up call did not come. Thanks old Indian wake up trick. Cleaned up and ready to go my taxi to the airport was waiting for me. Driving to the airport locals were setting up thier stalls of clothes, shoes and food. It was 6 am. Long days for very little pay. We should all remember that next time we complain about how hard our days are.

I had a few reservations about my travel document. First it did not have a green Bolivian entry stamp. If I had an immigration official who was a prick or having a bad day it was going to cost me.  I had a pocket full of american dollars just in case. Second, would the officials in Peru and El Salvador actually have the training and information to recognize the document. I mean I loved El Salvador but was not ready to spend extended periods of time in the airport, especially with someone waiting for me at Pearson Airport.

La Paz airport checking was easy enough with Taca. My rucksack would travel right through to Toronto. ** When ever I can I try not to transit through the States even it it takes more time and costs a bit more money. Just the aggrivation of having to recheck your bag and re check in is not worth the effort. The security guards in the States are pleasant enough but the aggrivation is not worth the effort, well in my humble opinion.

The Bolivian official seems a bit perplexed when I gave him my document and police report.  When he called over a couple other guys I just thought, man this is going to cost me. He asked how long I have been in Bolivia (30 days is when you are allowed) and I said 27. I had no proof at all as I forgot to print off my airline ticket into Bolivia from Argentina. Then he stamped my paper and just stared at his computer. I stood there for a second and asked if everything was ok and could I move along. He grunted. I said fuck it and walked about thinking alarms would go off and guards woul be tackling and beating me. I am pretty sure he was pissed he could not get a bunch of money from me. However I was off. One more official to deal with who was pleasant and we talked about the theft of my passport. Stressful step number one, Done. Next up was Peru

No worries in Peru. They did not check my document as I put my day pack through the scanner and was on my way to El Salvador within the hour. El Salvador immigration was a bit confused but after 3 guys looking at it with a magnifying glass, seriously, they waved me through. My connections were short and no issues. I was on my way to Canada.

Canadian immigration was easier then normal. I told my story and got a quick welcome home from the customs. Surrendered my document to immigration and walked through the doors to a huge welcoming hug and a Welcome Home Ken.

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