聽說過去港人要用 BNO，在關口假裝英人免簽證入境玻利維亞，成功指數是五五波。現在持特區護照都可以名正言順申請簽證，對沒有 BNO 的年青人來說，是一個好消息。
辦理簽證的最佳辦法是到玻利維亞領事館，可惜我們在路上停留得較長的布宜諾斯艾利斯和薩爾塔（Salta），都碰巧是聖誕及新年長假，雖然特區護照 24 小時內便可取回，但 Kim 拿美國護照需時更久，所以我們決定共同進退，賭一鋪在陸路關口申請落地簽證。
落地簽證要事先在網上填表，我們彩色打印出一大堆文件：申請表、護照、行程、住宿、財務狀況、黃熱針卡等，帶同近照及美元，到阿根廷的 La Quiaca 闖關。若在香港垂直向地底掘一隧道，穿越地球另一端的出口就在 La Quiaca 附近。這個關口大多是玻利維亞人到阿根廷這邊走水貨用，旅人不多，中午人龍亦只有半小時長。
阿根廷關員問及玻利維亞簽證，我們展示出申請表後，便被帶到玻利維亞那邊的 Villazón 關口辦理手續，用有限的西班牙語加 Google Translate，關員一問，我們一答，逐份文件遞交，過程順利，唯獨對我們繳交的美元皺眉不滿。
特區護照落地簽證費用是 100 美元，比在領事館預先申請貴 70 美元，Kim的美國護照則要 160 美元。關員每張銀紙拿在燈泡前照，用指背刮著銀紙四邊，別說要完整無缺，銀紙邊不𠝹手便不接受，我只好掏出所有美元任她選擇。
擾攘近半小時，以為她湊夠了 260 美元，終於肯接收我的美元，原來她要帶我到外面的兌換店換玻利維亞諾（BOB）。兌換店職員看也不看美元的狀況，馬上兌換，關員終於露出笑容，我也放下心頭大石。貼上玻利維亞簽證後，跟著關員返回阿根廷關口蓋離境印，出入境手續次序有別，但我們成功進入玻利維亞！
再看看護照上的簽證，Kim 的是 10 年期，我的只有 30 日。貴，但還是值得的。
Mild Altitude Sickness／Kimberlogic
We arrived to the small desert town of Humahuaca in the late afternoon feeling great. We took a stroll around the small town and found the vegetable market and a local butcher, so we decided to cook steaks for dinner. I wouldn’t say our dinner was ruined, but that evening we weren’t able to fully enjoy our dinner because we felt so awful all of the sudden. Although the bus ride to Humahuaca was only about three hours, we failed to notice that we had climbed around 2, 000 meters in altitude. We were now at 3, 012 meters.
Altitude sickness can range from mild to life threatening. It also doesn’t discriminate: you can be affected by it if you are fit or fat, tall or short, old or young. Also, you normally don’t feel the effects right away, but after a little while of decreased oxygen, it can hit you hard.
Before leaving Hong Kong, we were prescribed high altitude medication. Although the instructions said to begin the medication a day before entering the high altitude, once we realized the reason we felt so bad, we began taking it immediately. The next morning Ming Hay woke up with only a slight headache, but I felt so much worse than I did the previous evening.
I had never experienced altitude sickness before, but I read that the effects were like a hangover. I found it to be true, but much worse. Migraine, nausea, fatigue and I couldn’t walk more than a few steps before feeling out of breathe and needing to sit down to rest. I only made it from the bed to the bathroom and no further that day.
The following day during breakfast I mentioned to the hotel owner how I was feeling and he suggested I try chewing coca leaves. Coca leaves are used for medicinal purposes throughout South America and are not even remotely the same as cocaine. I chewed the leaves and kept them in my cheek for almost an hour. By the time I spit them out, I felt normal again. It was like magic.
The reason we chose Humahuaca as our stopover before crossing the border into Bolivia was because of Serrania de Hornocal, a mountain of fourteen colors. The mountain is only a forty-five minute drive from the town, but the altitude climbs again to 4,350 meters. Feeling better, that afternoon I stuffed more coca leaves in my cheek and got on the van heading up to the mountain.
When we arrived at the lookout point, the driver told us we could walk down the path to get a better view, but to be back in thirty minutes. We walked down the path and sat looking at what almost appeared to be an oil painting. The mountain was so colorful and the changing afternoon sun accented the colors even more.
Walking back up the path to the van was extremely difficult. Although I no longer had the headache and nausea, every step took all of my breathe away. I couldn’t speak, I could barely breathe and I was dizzy. I had to take baby steps and keep resting after every few steps. I finally made it back to the van and after 10 minutes I felt normal again, but the experience had really scared me.
After Humahuaca, we knew we would be climbing in elevation throughout Bolivia. This time we were prepared and planned when to start taking the altitude medication again and stocked up on coca leaves. My experience with high altitude scared me enough to always be aware of my body and how high I will be climbing.