I just got back to Buenos Aires this morning, after spending an excruciating 24 hours undertaking the task of renewing my Argentine visa. With my visa set to expire on Tuesday (tommorow), and with a German friend I met in Montevideo staying with me Saturday night, I planned to take the standard day trip to Colonia, Uruguay – the beautiful colonial town just across the river from BA – on Sunday. That´s about all I had ¨planned¨…and with this time of year being peak vacation season, did I ever my learn my lesson.
The ferry to Colonia was completely booked on Sunday, so the only other option was to take the ferry to Montevideo (which is much more expensive – 1 way it´s about 200 pesos, as opposed to the 100 peso roundtrip fare to Colonia), or take this other ferry from Tigre, which is a small town on the water 45 minutes north of Buenos Aires, to Carmelo, Uruguay. The thing is, I couldn´t get on the early boat from Tigre as it was completely booked, so the only option was to take the later boat at 4:00 and stay the night in Carmelo. But, throwing yet another wrench into the great machine (I believe that´s the correct metapor) was the fact that I couldn´t reserve my spot on this later ferry over the phone, I had to buy it in person. And so, after arriving home at 6 am Sunday morning after the obligatory night-out-on-the-town-because-you-have-a-guest, I woke up at 11 and set out for Tigre – even though the boat didn´t leave at 4 – because I wanted to get to the ticket counter early enough; I just couldn´t miss this boat.
Why couldn´t I miss it? Because I didn´t want to screw up my residency status in Argentina. You have 90 days on a tourist visa, and I was on day 88, or possibly 89. Sure, I´ve heard from alot of people if you overstay it´s no big deal, you just pay a fine when you leave, while others have remarked that ¨it´s just Argentina and there´s nothing a little something something ($$) won´t settle…¨ but truth be told, I plan on coming back here some day, and I just don´t want to get denied from entering the country 5 years down the road, even if ¨it´s just Argentina, man.¨