An all-day Customs saga

Trip Start Mar 12, 2011
Trip End Dec 15, 2011

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Where I stayed
Privet Apartment

Flag of Azerbaijan  ,
Thursday, March 31, 2011

Today we are going to sort Customs! However, the driver to take us isnt available until 2 o'clock, so we spend the morning looking at the car. I look at the gasket for the fuel gauge on the upper tank, as its been leaking and smelling of petrol. I pen the electrical box, where the rheostaat is, and fue pours out. Is it supposed to/ No idea.  So I put gunk on the gasket and put it back. We'll replace the main gasket next if that doesnt stop it.
Martin loks at the tuning of the car, as its been running rough since we last filled up with petrol. He is ably (?) assisited by all the oil company drivers who are keen to assist with help and advice. You know, too much advice become a hindrance sometimes! Having replaced the plugs, checked the timing, checked the plugs again, advanced the timing, sorted the distributor, retared the timing, checked the plugs, we eventually get across that its fine and we need no more help!
By which time its lunch and we go back to the apartment. Pack everything up, and load up the car with everything except the overnight stuff. After all, if they insist on the car remaining in customs, then we dont want to have to lug all out kit to the docks. So we keep the bare minimum, and set off, with a driver to customs at the docks.
There, we discover that the customs guy who we need to see is still at lunch. (Lunch is 1 to 2, and we get there at about 2.15). We wait. They promise to call us when the guy returns, so at 3 we go for tea, which is very pleasant, and costs 1 Manet for 3 cups. Last night we paid 6.50 manet for 2 cups of coffee! They do call us! We go and get involved in discusssions, so they write a letter explaining what happened. We have to take it to Head Office to pay the fine.
We drive to Head Office. At least, Abass (sp?) drives us. When we get there, we go to the second floor, and are directed to the fourth floor. They cant help so we go someewhere else. Nor can they, so we are sent to the 6th floor, where we go into the office of the bigwig who caused the whole office to stand to attention a few days ago. He is reading his newspaper. He reads the report, appends his signature, and back we go to one of the offices, I  really cant remember which. They send us somewhere else, and eventually we get back to the guy in charge of firearms and contraband. He sends us somewhere, they send us to the cashier, she sends us to the cash office where we pay the fine. 20 Manet. About 15. Back to smuggling and guns, he issues another receipt, and we are off!  Success! If we'd paid everyone we saw 50 kopeck, then it would have cost us MUCH more. But at least they all have jobs.

So we go off to join Dave Kavanagh and collegues for a few drinks. And a few more. Great bunch of guys, in a bar devoted to ex-pats. Eventually we go with Dave and his wife to a restaurant for dinner. Then back to the apartment, for our last night (hopefully) in Baku. If the ferry goes, and if the oil load doesnt turn up, then we'll be on it. If the oils load does turn up, then we can't go aboard, so we'll be here another day. Wish us luck

Martin's motor moment:
I'm sure issue with poor running is not fixed and convinced it is something to do with petrol we last purchased to fill up.Very concerning if car proves unable to run at 50 - 55 ish.We arrived in Baku with car running something like right and it seems to have deteriorated on its own.
So now our efforts are concentrated on getting car on Friday's "ferry" and tieing up with people in Turkmenistan.I suppose all legs of the journey are critical but I'm consumed with thinking that this next bit is.I could probably just see a way back if we had a trip-threatening condition with contacts made in Baku.The actual journey across the Caspian is a milestone in itself and we are determined to achieve that.It will not be enjoyable but as long  as it is durable we will be OK.
So we're on target and at end of third week.A heck of a lot to do and time will tell but it would be a crying shame if we were defeated by petrol obtained a the very point where the oil business started
We're both feeling a bit jaded now but hopefully will have picked up by time next blog is prepared
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Pats Sampson on

It's certainly more attractive, clean & modern than I could have imagined! Just the bureauocracy ( cr#p tried spelling that 10 times, still wrong!) same as in Africa! Very Good luck for the crossing!

Charlotte on

Am really enjoying the juxtaposition of west and east. Think I would spend most of a trip like this in state of extreme stress! One really does have to trust in our fellow humans and go with the flow. Best of luck for today's ferry crossing.

mike b on

martin, it could be the petrol was dirty .
just b4 the carb is usually a smallish fuel filter . might be worth a check/clean . [ often when tank is low on fuel is low the fuel pump picks up 'bits' which have settled at tank bottom . ]
May St Christopher be with you

Janet & Dave Parsons on

Still with you! Fear looking at the latest part of the adventure as it feels like a roller coaster. Hope the next leg goes smoothly and you feel rested after a few days in one place.

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