The mission was to get to Uruguay to meet up with the car importer before Friday morning. The task… pick up enough riders to offset costs and drive 29 hours in two days, with a stop over in Floripa. Easy right? So I picked up four riders in Rio at 6am, every single rider was 5-15 minutes late, South American time. We only encountered one checkpoint and was waved through by military men with large guns, apparently we were passing near a favella. The car behind us got pulled over but we sailed through. The ride was easy until we got to Sao Paulo where I had to drop one guy off and pick up another girl. It was nearly impossible to find her in the Ibuerapuera park, Maddy took my phone cord out of the car so my phone was running low on batteries but I finally got her to walk to where I was located. One of the other people in the car was able to navigate us out of Sao Paulo, not an easy feat. Only 2 hours lost. The trip south was fine and beautiful until it started raining, and raining and raining. We finally got to Floripa after a 16 hour drive, two of the passengers disembarked and after running around to ATM’s, to find money for one the passengers his last 50 Reai’s I got to my hotel for the night.
The next day the rain continued with heavy downpours until an hour from the Uruguayan border. It was four lane highway until that point but two lanes afterwards. Sooooo…. We finally get to the border and I start asking my passengers about documents and everyone had assured me beforehand that everything was fine, so the girl got real flaky at this point and didn’t go to Brazilian immigration at all and I started asking questions again and I found out she was living in Brazil as an irregular for 11 months, and didn’t pay fines for previous entry and exit problems. So, I got my exit and cancelled the import permit, then we went to the Uruguayan side and got passports stamped no problem and the import permit was not a hassle either. So around this time the aduana (or customs) inspectors took an interest to us. First the girl got called over to immigration and they determine that she was an irregular, then they took a look at me (without my beautiful wife and three doting children) and figured me for a drug smuggler.
So we got a major inspection of the car all doors, engine and roof carrier. Everything passed muster, but the girl was getting more and more harassed because of her entry and they brought in a drug sniffing dog to take a look at the car. The dog could not have been more dis-interested, but of course they said, “There was a Marijuana cigarette smoked right here!!!!” This was the spot where Julie had been riding for the last 6 months and had just been immaculately cleaned by the Rio detailers. So, after 2 hours of the bullshit run around, drug sniffing dogs and holding our passports, they released us with no repercussions. 5 more hours in the fog and we arrived in Montevideo at 10:30, a total of 33 hours of driving in two days. Ugguhhhh. I flopped down into bed and had a satisfying sleep.
The next day I slept in until the appointed time I was to meet the purchaser of the car at 11am and completed the sale. I walked around town for most of the day, did some shopping and caught up on the blog. I stayed with Deby’s my friend form CH2M than night and she invited me to Shebat dinner with her family. It was neat to see their family interact and celebrate their team win a Uruguayan NBA basketball champion.
The next morning I hopped on a flight and got back to Rio safe and easy.