19 days after getting to South America, we get Now Voyager off the docks of Buenos Aires
Christmas came late to the Walti/Rutherfords as Now Voyager emerged from his two month journey from Los Angeles to Houston to a dozen ports down the Atlantic coast of South America to the Buenos Aires Harbor and finally to a customs warehouse on the docks. Finding and extricating him from the claws of Argentinean bureaucracy has been a learning experience to say the least.
Here are the basic stats of Now Voyager’s journey:
- Date dropped off at shipping company in Compton, California: October 28t8
- Original arrival date in Buenos Aires: November 12
- Delayed arrivals: Dec 12., Dec 19, Dec 22,
- Arrival date on the docks of BA: Nov 29th
- Days to unload the container: 13
- Days through customs: 2
- Documents required: Original Bill of Lading (I used a forged copy), original title (I used a forged copy), passport and copy.
- Cost (approximate because all the bills aren’t in):$4100
- If you’re shipping by sea, give yourself an extra month. The storage cost if it actually gets there on time will be minimal in comparison. I essentially paid TWICE the amount because I had at least two freight forwarders AND the freight company AND the warehouse,etc. Don’t use an agent/forwarder who can’t predict what the costs will be.
- It’s a bit more of a hassle, but ship it air if you can. The equivalent cost for air-freighting the bike would be in the neighborhood of $2500.
- A good crate is worth every penny, even an over-priced crate like mine
- DO NOT try to get your bike out of a Latin America customs bureaucracy by yourself. Get an agent. In one customs office, a poor guy from Spain was literally rolling on his deodorant in prep for another long day sitting in the hall
- Always ask the “why” behind delays. Don’t take people’s word for where your bike is. You can track your ship’s progress on the Internet
The situation as of 10:30am on January 13th in Buenos Aires. We will spend the day packing and re-packing NV, trying to get as many things on him in as light and tight fashion as possible. We still have some stuff to get around BA — our jackets are being fixed and we need some man-sized pain pills and muscle relaxers for my hip. Our goal is to be on the road, heading west toward the Andes, by tomorrow morning.
Who would have guessed that it would take almost three weeks to “start” or trip as somewhat originally planned. But, when you’re aboard the Shit Happens Express, you need to just deal with the changes. Not all of unexpected happenings have been bad: we’ve gotten to know and love Buenos Aires over two weeks, we’ve had a taste of the Dakar race, stayed in some truly spectacular hotels, and met a lot of interesting and helpful people along the way. Somehow we managed to find our way through this maze of obstacles and are poised to start wandering.
Bring it on!
For those of you who want the gory details of what its like to get your bike out of a South American port, here are the nitty-gritty details in pictures.