Darien Gap 2 … or homeless …

The trip to San Blas was outstanding and it will ever be !

Nevertheless it is followed by some disillusion still evident after one week now in Colombia.

But in order:

Returning from a 5 day sailing trip your are in need for at least one (better 3 showers ;-)) . so Hotel is the first choice. We get some advice for a nice place in Getsemani, the place to be in Cartagena. It’s basic but clean and nice and the bed and shower just feel right !

As posted earlier it is than that we get informed that our „homes“ are still in Panama. So the Hotel becomes home for even longer.

It is not clear at first how much longer it will take. This is South America and time is obviously not an issue. I learn with time it is never an issue. If someone says at 8 pm it could also be 10 pm. Wait one hour can easily be 2 or 3 hours, wait 2 minutes is at least 1 hour ! I call it „South America Way“ . I am slowly getting it .

So finally the container gets here 1 week delayed on a Saturday . Of course all the offices are closed on weekends. First thing Monday we show up at the DIAN office. Give them the required copies of passport including entry stamp, title, drivers license . We get a form in return to fill in and get a copy of it. We are done here.

On the way to the harbor administration buy an accident insurance to be able to enter the harbor at all. 72.000 pesos. Talk to Emil who is responsible for alle the „extranjeros“. Here we meet all the other overlanders we keep meeting along the way .. Bill and Julie from Australia, Pierre from France, 2 motorcyclists from Argentina, I am together with Falko from Germany and Leebong from South Korea. At least we share the same fate !

We get to fill in more and more papers with the help of Emil. At lunchtime we are done for this day. To be continued next day at 8:20 !

Lunch break is another serious issue here. During lunch break nothing / no one works. So you einher do it before or after the break . Some services will only be available before lunch break – as for example the car liability insurance I just bought.

So Tuesday we show up at 8:20 sharp as asked .. Emil ist NOT there yet ! He is coming in at around 8:45 and slowly taking up work. We get timeslots to enter the port for the opening of the containers. 9:00 – 10:00 … At 10:30 the first people get to go !

For me there is some issue with the weight of my „freight“. More paperwork. I don’t get the reason. My slot gets postponed from 10:00 to 1:20 after lunchbreak.

At that time the others had there vehicles already removed from the containers and also Inspected by the DIAN Inspector. It was totally clear to me that the Inspector would not come out to the harbor twice a day so the chance of being postponed to the next day was rather high. Emil told me it was my lucky day as the „inspection“ of my car was already done … although it was still IN the container. I did not ask any further, happy I got to this point .

At around 2:30 we enter the port armed with hard head and safety west after having waited for Cesar for another hour („he will be there shortly, 10 minutes“). My container is brought to the unloading place by truck and unloaded by a big crane just before my eyes. I will post a shot video on Instagram later.

The seal is cut and the door opened .. it’s a bit like Christmas .. there is my home 🙂 . I am happy !

It takes another hour to take off the latches and remove everything from the container. First the kayak, than the trailer by hand, finally the car. I am not allowed to drive. Someone of the Harbour has to do it. I put the kayak back on the roofrack. We drive to the parking lot. Back to Emil.

It ist 5 pm. We wait for the final papers . One of the coworkers at the office calls it a day: „haste mañana“ ! I tell here NO, I am not coming back mañana ! The laughs of the whole office are on my side. At 5:30 we receive the final papers: temporary importation permit – TIP . It turns out to be the papers I filled in by hand yesterday at the DIAN office. Now it just has two signatures. No stamps , nothing . 2 days for a 2 pieces of paper I basically wrote myself ! AMAZING !

Cesar picks us up. We enter the port again to the parking lot. We wait inside the car. Cesar returns with another set of papers. We go behind the trucks to the exit. The final barrier opens at 6:30 pm ! I am free and on the road again ! And homed !

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