Papers, Police & Customs
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999 Days Around Africa: The Road Chose Me
It turns out selling the Jeep down here is a lot more difficult that I first thought. Argentina and Chile both have extremely strict importation laws to protect local producers, which makes things more than difficult. The funny side effect is the cost of imported foreign cars here. I’ve found my Jeep to be worth a very large sum of money to Argentines and they’re pretty keen to find a way to buy it. Jeeps from the 60’s sell for US$10k, from the 80’s about $15k and 90’s $20k. Every day I also see various junker death-traps selling for around $3k-$5k that make my Jeep look like new.
Every second person that sees it’s for sale for only $6k immediately asks to buy it. After I politely explain they really can’t (foreigners only) people think of all kinds of crazy ways we can make it work. Most revolve around reporting it as stolen, some involve stripping it for parts and even crazier ideas involve various takes on insurance fraud. Hmmm.
Singing a “Power of Attorney” for an Argentine guy is the closest I’ve come yet. He is to “drive it around” for a little while until I “come back” in a year or two. (cough, cough). At the border leaving Argentina the customs guy catches on pretty quickly to what we are trying to do and immediately puts stop to it, almost having the guy arrested for driving it until he realizes I am there too (Apparently in Argentina the Jeep and I are literally inseparable). Upon re-entry the guy is very formal and strictly checks all my papers twice.
Very quietly, off to one side, he mentions that in two weeks he will be at another border station, alone, and we should talk more there.
My new favorite word in Spanish is Corrupción
About an hour into Argentina we drive through a routine police stop where they very throughly check all my papers, search for drugs and generally waste our time until one officer asks about our intention to import the Jeep into Argentina. Apparently our friend at Customs has called ahead and told them to give us a good old fashioned shake down. This is all pretty funny to us, as we know we haven’t done anything wrong, and they have to let us proceed.
After all this has been explained in great detail to willing buyers, each and every Argentinean tries to buy my tent separately. Then my tool box. Then the spare parts. I think somehow they just want a piece of what they know is selling for super cheap, we just can’t make it work.
I’m sure something will present itself.