Crossing into Brazil
It was a pretty big day today — visiting Iguazu Falls (Argentina side) and all — but I couldn't rest quite yet. First, I had to leave Argentina, and cross into Brazil for the evening. This turned out to be a lot easier than I'd feared, mainly because I chose to take an easy mode of transport: taxi! After a bit of bargaining, I managed to negotiate a ride straight from the Hostel Inn, on the Argentina side, to Hostel Paudimar, on the Brazil side. And all for just 40 pesos (US$13 or so) — not too much more expensive than navigating numerous bus lines, and certainly a lot less hassle.
Crossing the border was a straightforward enough affair. Drove through the Argentinian immigration gates, where I didn't even have to get out of the car: the taxi driver just stuck my passport out the window, the guy in the booth whacked an exit stamp in it, and we zoomed off. Brazilian immigration wasn't much different: I had to get out of the car, and go into the office; but apart from that, the guy just got me to fill out a quick entry form, he put a Brazilian entry stamp in the book, and all was good. No difficult questions, no biometric scanning, and no bag searching (which meant that I managed to smuggle one last bottle of Mendoza wine through the border — yay!). And that was it: now I'm in Brazil!
The taxi driver had a little bit of trouble finding Hostel Paudimar. He claimed that he knew where it was — but when he stopped after about 15 minutes, and asked a local for directions, it became clear that this was not the case. Anyway, once he had some directions, it wasn't very hard to find. Express service, hostel to hostel, country to country: now that's crossing an international border in style! And considering that I probably would have paid about triple the price, to cross the opposite way in a taxi (since everything's so much more expensive in Brazil), it wasn't a bad deal at all.
So, here I am. Now all I gotta do is avoid getting held up at gunpoint, and learn just a little bit of Portuguese, and I'll be well on my way to having a good time in Brazil.