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Toe Poke Daily: Peruvian friends trek across South America for Copa America

Shaka Hislop and Gab Marcotti look ahead to Sunday's Copa America final between Brazil and Peru in Rio de Janeiro.

The Toe Poke Daily is here every day to bring you all the weirdest stories, quirkiest viral content and top trolling that the internet has to offer, all in one place.

The sun hadn't even come out yet on May 17 when Kent Samaio and Henry Urrunaga Diaz -- both 31 years of age -- woke up, packed their bags and said goodbye to the ones that woke up to see them. It was almost 4:00 a.m. when they closed the car's doors and went on a quest: to cross South America on their way to Brazil.

The goal was to go to Brazil and watch Peru play the first matches of the Copa America. The first one was going to be in Porto Alegre on July 15 and three days later in Rio de Janeiro, almost a thousand miles away from the first venue.

After hundreds of roads and lots of mishaps, the mission was accomplished.

"We didn't have anything in the beginning -- not even the car and the cash. But we manage ourselves to it," Kent said. "We saved some money, bought the car and learned to drive on the road. It was like 250 miles per day."

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Hace dos años que deseaba con todas mis ganas hacer algo así, y el año pasado trabajé con todas las fuerzas y energías puestas en este proyecto, se veía muy lejano, honestamente, pensé que no llegaría. Este año volví de Nueva Zelanda con un solo propósito: hacer este sueño realidad, ¡y acá esta amigos!. . Les presento a @kentzama, la única persona que atracó manejar un vochin del 76 brasileño, alrededor de Sudamerica, y a mi, @hurrunaga, impulsor de este hermoso proyecto de viaje llamado Resiliencia. . Resiliencia es la capacidad de doblarse sin partirse, de sobreponerse a las dificultades, de encarar, aprender y reinventarse, este será nuestro motor de viaje. Y algo que quiero contarles, y que estamos muy felices de hacerlo, es que durante esta etapa del viaje vamos a recaudar fondos para @vidawasiperu, una ONG que está construyendo el primer hospital especializado en cancer infantil en el Perú, y Sudamerica. Poco a poco le iré contando más sobre esta asociación, y como pueden ayudar. . Por ahora, estamos alistando todo que en unas horas estamos saliendo, y estamos súper nerviosos, y muy emocionados. . Es el viaje de nuestras vidas, y gracias a la tecnología, los vamos a llevar con nosotros, primera parada: Santiago de Chile #Sudamerica #Peru #Lima #Vocho #Concho #Resilentos

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They cultivated this friendship that began in 2014 in Rio, when they met for the World Cup and swore to come back to Brazil and watch the Copa America -- and Peru, obviously.

"We had nothing, but [Kent] liked the idea and we started this project," Henry said. "We created a profile on social media and started a YouTube channel."


The story on their Volkswagen Beetle, however, is different. It came a little later on down the road. They bought a white 1976 model; it was almost abandoned. They made some improvements on the car and the journey began.

"It is more economical, reliable and mechanically simpler," said Henry. "It was perfect for us -- who knew almost nothing. Its nickname is 'Concho'."

What they went through

Day 1 of the journey was on May 17. They passed through the whole Peruvian coast and got to Chile three days later. The first mishap, however, didn't take long to show up.

"The Beetle is a peculiar car. It depends on the day, the conditions, the weather and everything else so the engine won't get overheated," Henry explained. "There's no water in the engine. It depends on the air. If you drive too fast in a hot day, the engine could 'explode'."

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¡Lo que se veía muy lejos hoy lo vimos de cerca! Cumplimos nuestra primera meta de pasar los mil kilómetros, de hecho, ya hicimos 1248 para ser exactos, ¿y el carro?, Concho es pura candela, ha respondido a la perfección, perdimos unos neblineros y olvidamos cosas en hospedajes, pero nosotros y Concho seguimos enteros. . Todos los días nos despertamos sin saber que va a pasar, o que vamos a aprender, todos los días tenemos que superar cosas, y lo estamos disfrutando. . Hoy llegamos a Tacna, y agradezco todo el amor recibido por parte de ustedes, grandes mensajes de aliento para contrarrestar el cansancio diario, sabíamos que iba a ser duro, pero parar en medio de la carretera a empujarte tu sardina enlatada producto peruano lo paga con creces. Que día feliz es hoy para nosotros, y espero que también lo sea para ustedes. 1248 kms menos para llegar al objetivo, Brasil esperamos que ya vamos, resilentos, pero seguros. #CopaAmerica2019 #Tacna #Vochileros #Concho #Lima #Viajes @movistardeportesperu #Sudamerica #Fusca #ConchoLife

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That's exactly what happened when they were going through the Huara desert, one of the hottest and driest places in the world.

"We had to call a towing service, to return to the border, in the Peruvian city of Tacna, for repairs. We lost six days of our trip," Kent said. "We actually got six days' experience," Henry joked. And they laughed.

With the car good to go, they hit the road once again. They passed by Iquique, Tocopilla and La Calera. After that, they began the ferry through the Andes -- one of the world's biggest mountain ranges. Then came Argentina: Mendoza, Cordoba, Santa Fe, Parana and Corrientes.

"We actually got to Brazil by Uruguaiana. We got to Porto Alegre one day before Peru's debut. We bought the tickets and watched the draw against Venezuela," Henry said.

When they finally got to Rio, they bought the tickets from some friends and watched Peru's 3-1 win against Bolivia in the Maracana Stadium.

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Hace una semana logramos hacer lo que parecía imposible hace un mes: llegar a Río y disfrutar a pleno de la Copa America. Este viaje es completamente diferente a los que alguna vez hice, o hicimos, estamos -los dos- muy lejos de nuestra zona cómoda, jamas habíamos hecho algo así en nuestras vidas, porque siempre dudamos de nosotros mismos, no solo por ignorancia nuestra, sino también por influencia de los demás. . Desde que salimos de Lima, hemos recorrido 6000mil kms, reventado un motor, cruzado los andes, dormido en estaciones de gasolina, duchado en estaciones de servicio, comimos 20 latas de atún y 50 panes. . Todo esto lo hemos hecho por primera vez, pues no nos quedaba otra. Ahora en Rio pusimos un bar en la parte delantera de Concho, y ha sido un suceso -felizmente- para nosotros. Hace mucho tiempo que no hacía algo por primera vez, y ya había olvidado la sensación de frustración y miedo que te da, pero ya ven, acá seguimos vivos, yendo a la partidos, disfrutando del invierno carioca, y comiendo todos los días. Es un buen día para estar agradecidos, solo quiero que me contesten una pregunta: ¿cuando fue la última vez que hicieron algo por primera vez? #Concho #TeamConcho #viajes #sudamerica #resilentos #CopaAmerica2019 #Brasil #RiodeJaneiro #Lapa #rj

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They didn't expect Peru to reach the final. But the mishaps kept coming and coming.

"We left the 'Concho' in the Lapa street and slept in a hotel nearby. The next day, we found out that someone broke the glass and stole our IDs, some clothes, our reserve tyre and even our drinks," Kent said.

Henry, on the other hand, likes to remember the trip for the good times they had. "So many people helped us with food, gas and places to sleep," he said. "To imagine a trip like that can be stressful, but when you receive that much help, things get a little easier."

Their adventure is coming to an end. Actually, it will be done by Sunday, when Brazil and Peru face off in the Maracana.

"Peru got to the final against all odds," Henry said. "If we win, it will be wonderful. If we lose, it is OK. We'll have a party anyway. Then we will go back to Lima, Peru, and get some rest for a couple of months. But a new project is on the way: to drive 'Concho' all the way to the USA."

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