Today we loaded Matilda in a container. Many hours were wasted. We arrived at 9am at the terminal and didn't leave till about 5pm. Two hours were taken for them to make a mess inspecting all our belongings. Only I (not Julie) was allowed into the port so our normal policy of one door open at a time was not followed. They wanted the entire contents of the car on the floor. They even wanted the roof boxes removed. I told them to get stuffed. Needless to say they didn't find my 10kg of Heroin. Probably because there isn't any !!!! (I should correct that to cocaine as that what they grow here) It would however have been easy to get some through. They need an X-Ray machine not a guy looking in boxes. No wonder the North is flooded with drugs. They cannot possibly expect to get even 50% this way. So as the USA department in charge of this type of thing is reading my blog (using PRISM) they should follow the Spanish way and buy their neighbors a scanner to stop them getting the drug due to poor inspections.
Anyhow....the delay was the container rental company buggering up the paperwork and then having lunch for two hours. The agent was OK I suppose but it does really fall on them to make sure everything is set up before we get to the terminal. It seemed nothing was set up. We were not impressed. They did however strap and chock Matilda as I had requested and got me a drink when I was about to pass out from heat and stress.
At one point early on I didn't even think I was going to get in the terminal. They (terminal) wanted me to leave the car and keys. I of course said "no way !". Did they actually think they could load the car? I have to deflate tires and disconnect the batteries. Do they even know where the battery is on a a Land Rover?
Until very late on in the day I didn't even know if the terminal knew where the car was going....again not impressed with the flow of info from the Spanish speaking agent. They need someone to speak English to help them out and this could be a trainee dedicated to dealing with the massive amount of overlanders that could come their way now the other agent has pulled out. All that said its mainly a language thing and they have so far fulfilled their duties correctly. Mainly....
Julie waited (outside) all day in the searing heat. I at least got to go into an Air-conditioned office for some of the day but I waited doing nothing from 9am until 2pm (when they'd finished lunch!!!). Nobody told me what was happening or how long it could be until about 1:50pm.
We paid 40,000 for lashing and 350,000 for the container. Port fees should be about 700,000 and the agents fees are 380,000. At the other end we are told its about $1000USD for "ALL" charges in Panama. (full costs when we know exactly).
So about $1800 in all. That's if the Panama charges are correct. The flights are another $1000USD for the return ticket we don't want. Its not cheap this Overlanding...actually its the Overwatering that's costly.
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