Buenos Aires, by Noelia Diaco. Photo is not visible, used only for sharing on social networks.

Our lives as smugglers

March 17, 2012
We are now the proud owners of a Phillips 600W blender that claims to crush ice. We'd been pining for a blender for months, but the cheapest model we could find in Argentina cost $75 and looked like it would break the first time we used it. Plus the government had been limiting imports so no one even had any left in stock. When we saw a $50 blender in Chile we couldn't resist.
The problem: how to get across the border without losing our shiny new purchase (we were already dreaming about the margaritas and gazpacho we would make). When we crossed into Chile, all our bags were scanned and we had to declare any food products and out-of-the-ordinary electronics. So we thought hard about how to sneak in the blender.
The plan: I would cross first with the blender top stuffed with food. If stopped, I would explain that I had used it to carry and mix food on the trail. Ben would wait until the end of the line, with the blender base in his pack (meanwhile I would stow the top safely back on the bus and hover in the background in case he ran into trouble). His story (to be told in English so they wouldn't understand) was that our blender was under warranty and had broken. We couldn't get the replacement part in Argentina, but since we were coming to Chile anyway, they suggested we could replace it there.
The heist: There were no x-ray machines or customs agents at all! There wasn't even a customs declaration form to lie on. Our bags never came off the bus, and our blender is safely on its way back to Buenos Aires with us.
- Steph

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