Trip Start Jan 01, 2001
Trip End Dec 28, 2010

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Flag of Panama  ,
Wednesday, November 26, 2008

This morning the first stop was to the office of the Customs for another exam before exporting , we got there early after yesterday and after sitting and waiting for 40 mins we were told they do not do carry out this exam now for vehicles leaving from Colon, The result of this was we set of straight away to get to Colon, On arrival Mike went into the office to find out what we needed to do, as well as finding out that information he also found out that the boat would not be arriving until the 30th instead of sailing on the 28th, The result of this was we did no more work today but decided to park and stay in the forecourt of the Port, very noisy up until 10pm but then very quiet,
27th -First thing this morning we drove to a large shopping mall for a look around and then in the afternoon we started to take the rails of the roof and the building of the internal wall.
28th - Finished the wall and sorting out the stuff inside and got the Customs clearance; they did not even come out to the vehicle. We then had to drive the vehicle into the port and inside a shed so that they could measure it. They are quite strict on this and so Mike had to undo wing mirrors so we could fold them in to make it even smaller. It ended up that we got it 3 cubic metres smaller than we had estimated it so was expecting an appropriate drop in the price. Guess what wrong again, they passed all the info over at 12 but were then told we had to wait until 1 as the appropriate person was at lunch. Wrong again we got the final price at 1.30 only to find that it had gone up by almost $2000 not really a small increase. Obviously we queried this rise, since the original quote was only 12 days old. Eventually Mike spoke to an English speaking senior person who told us OK it should be able to go for the original price if it would fit on a single rack, We had to measure the exact wheel base to find this out and also it was the first time we found that the vehicle is being lifted on to the vessel on a pallet rather than drive on and off. We were getting a bit upset at this stage because we had to get the final price and go to a nearby bank to pay it in, in cash, so they would be able to take it and the bank shut at 3. In the end we got the final figure at 3.30 so we have missed the bank, and to make it worse the best we could get was the original price quoted which meant our work in reducing the size of the vehicle was wasted. We talked to the company and they told us that the Seaboard office in Panama City and the Hsbc bank were both open on Saturday until 12 and so we decided to get the bus back to Panama City, eventually getting there about 6.30. It was then a case of trying to find a hotel, even this was a problem., the first two were full up and so at the third one when they told us they had room we jumped at it.
29th - This morning we set off to go to the bank and the Seaboard Office, our first problem was that the bank decided we could not get the money using our card as they have a $500 limit. We decided to go to the office to talk to them and guess what, they are closed today and to make it worse Monday is a holiday so as it stands at the moment we may not be able to ship Kirsty on this vessel as we cannot give proof of payment before the office opens on Tuesday which is also when the ship sails Watch this space!
30th - 1st Dec Spent sitting around in a dingy, dark hotel room having had difficulty in finding a vacant hotel room. We presume because of the holiday.
2nd - This morning we walked to the office of Seaboard and gave them the receipt for payment. They then gave us a typed receipt for the payment as well as the authorisation to print out the Bill of Lading in Colombia. From here it was just a short stroll to the office of Copa Airlines to book our flights to Cartagena, Colombia. Next a quick taxi trip to the airport, once again we found out how good the drivers are, ours decided it would be best to go down a slip road and then cross over the grassed central division in the road to then go the wrong way along a one way road. Luckily he either got it wrong or thought there was too much traffic and so turned around and re-crossed the central reservation and back up the slip road to where we started. Eventually we got to the airport and after waiting a while got the flight with absolutely no problems. On arrival again there were no problems, even though you are supposed to have a return ticket. We got a taxi into town and got dropped of at our first choice hotel; that was full and so was the second but they recommended a third that had space and was a very nice basic hotel.
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