Ray passing from Brazil to Venezuela.

A tragicomedy in 5 acts

Act 1: Border French Guyana/Brazil (2 weeks ago)

After dropping my bike on the street,, the boaters dropped me on the Brazilian bank, quite far away from the customs office for obvious reasons. It took me quite a while to find the office, but I arrived just in time to see the officers closing their shop. The next morning I was back and they sent me to the Sanitari, to get some documents. I did not understand what they wanted, but I always do what people tell me to do, and off I went. EBut every time I asked someone where ithis f…..g Sanitary might be, I was sent to a different direction. One hour later I was back, no Sanitari. The customs officer took my passport and gave it a close exam. Then he noticed that I already had entered his country a few weeks earlier.

Here I see that you were in Brazil before, and you got the permit to stay for 3 months, so you don’t need the Sanitari after all. You can go, welcome to Brazil.

Ok, thanks! What about my passport, do I need some other documents or stamps?

No, as I said you can stay for 3 months, everything is fine.

No entry stamp?

No, no need.

Act 2: Border Brazil/Venezuela: Exit from Brazil  This morning 10 am

I tell the lady that I am going to leave her country. Would she be so kind to stamp my passport please?

When and where did you enter Brazil, I see no entry stamp?

I tell her the story from Act 1: She shakes her head.

If there is no entry stamp, I cannot give you an exit stamp

She did not have to tell me that, some things are quite obvious. So, what now?

As far as I am concerned, you are not in Brazil, you can go, good bye.

Act 3: Border Brazil/Venezuela: Entry to Venezuela  10.30 am

Hi, I am Ray, and I want to re-enter your beautiful country!

Where is your exit stamp from Brazil?

Ok. Let’s go for the whole story once more. But this time it does not work.

No exit stamp from Brazil, no entry stamp from Venezuela.

Another thing I knew before he told me. So, what now? We discuss, I try to convince them, but in vain. Meantime the boss, and the boss of the boss were there, studying my passport. Then: the solution:

You must go back to Brazil, enter the country, spend one  night there, leave the country again, get a nice stamp, come to see us again, and “Welcome to Venezuela”

Yes, but…..the Brazilians will ask for an exit stamp from Venezuela…..

My old friend Franz Kafka would have loved this story, I am sure.

And off we are for another round of passport studies, until finally one clever boy states:

Hey, where is your exit stamp from Venezuela, when you left the country last time?

Wow! From officer to boss, from boss to boss of boss, the second round of passport studies starts. The guy is right: When I left the country, I got a lot of stamps, but no exit stamp from the police. Meantime I try to activate my little brain; I do not want to spend the rest of my life between two borders. And I find the solution, quite simple:

“Well, if there is no exit stamp, I am still officially in Venezuela, and I do not have to enter, and it was nice to chat with you guys, bye bye.

Not bad, but not enough. Let’s move over to

Act 4: Same border, same people, 11.00 am

Yes, you’re right, you never left Venezuela, but your bike did, and must be re-imported. And it cannot enter without you, therefore you need an entry stamp from today, and not from last week.

My little brain starts steaming, my blood pressure rises, my heartbeat speeds up, but I have an idea. I take my passport, and go to the police station next door, explain the charming lady my problem, tell her that I just want to leave her country for 1 second and come back immediately. She likes my story, smashes an exit stamp and an entry stamp in my passport, and I go back to my new friends from the customs. Hey guys, I am back, and here is my entry stamp. Somehow, they like me.

Ok, you can come in. Where are the photocopies of your documents?

Meantime I know the system, haha, so I have tons of photocopies, no problem. Well, not exactly, there is one small problem: I have no photocopy of my new stamp I just got…

(Did I hear someone laughing in front of his screen?)

Where can I make photocopies, amigo?

You have the choice: Either in Santa Elena (20km away) or in Brazil (next door)

“I cannot go to Brazil, I just left the country!”

(Did I hear you laugh again?)

Just go there and talk to them, they are nice guys.

He’s right. I go back to the charming lady, who refused to put an exit stamp on my passport earlier on, tell her my life story.

No problem, my friend, you can make copies just around the corner

It seems that the luck comes back on my side. I get my copies; go back to my amigos from Venezuela.

Ok, good. But now it is lunchtime, come back in two hours.

(Roaring laughter from my fans in front of their screens, not nice, not nice!)

“Do I have to wait here now? I am hungry. Can I drive to Santa Elena, and look for a hotel, as this story seems to go on for a while?

No problemo, gringo, go and take a nice hotel, and then come back to see us.

Act 5: Same border: 2.30 pm

Hola amigos, I am back, your favorite gringo. Can I get my entry stamps and documents now?

Ok, give me everything, and we settle this.

I pass over originals, and copies of passport, driving license, international driving license, motorbike registration card, insurance and vaccination card. Everything is fine, well, almost….

Your insurance is not valid in Venezuela!

(Stop laughing please, this is really not funny anymore)

I told you that I have copies of almost everything, and I show him a copy of my entry documents from last time. “So can you explain me, why your colleague from last time accepted my insurance, und suddenly it is not valid anymore?

Yes, you’re right, the third round of documents studying just started. From officer to boss, from boss to boss of boss, you know the story…

I takes time, a lot of time, the boss of boss shakes his head, followed by the boss, and the officer says: Sorry amigo, but you need another insurance. I give up.

Guess where I can get another insurance? Right: In Santa Elena, 20 km away,  the city I just came from…

Back on my bike, rush to Santa Elena. The insurance office is not where they told me, but nearby at least. I pay 50$ and drive back to my friends.

This time everything is fine. I get a lot of documents and stamps, a warm smile, a “welcome to Venezuela” and a “buon viaje, amigo”

When I leave the customs office it is 6pm, closing time.

Saved by the bell.