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Archive for November 25th, 2009

Day 352 – 25th November 09

Posted by TravellingStrom on November 25, 2009

Wednesday – Cartegena, Colombia

I had some sleep, but not a great deal and was up at sparrow fart to rush down with Val to the DIAN by cab. Papers in hand we were eventually joined by Jim, then Vincent and finally Tom who had ridden his bike? But, guess what, we were not allowed in until 8am and no fat German around!!! 😦 After about 30 mins Vincent rang him and he said something had come up and he would be there soon, and he eventually did arrive, at least he was sober this time!

If you think I am being a bit harsh, it is because I was less than impressed by the professionalism shown by this guy. But, if we had to deal with him just so the bikes were not confiscated, then so be it, but I do not have to like it! Of course the first thing he said was where are your bikes!!! Well, somehow due to a miscommunication we had been told the wrong thing and the reason for being here was to have the bikes inspected by the customs people, so this meant a taxi ride back, grab the bikes, totally ATGATT free, except helmet and rush back to the DIAN, here we finally managed to get the bikes parked and wait. The lady inspector finally came out and checked title details against the bike details and we were all eventually allowed to progress to the waiting room. This is me explaing that it is a 2007 model bike, even though the tag says 11/06, by the time it arrives in the states, it is 2007, she was mollified by the explanation.

And when I mean wait, we waited for 2 f^&%ing hours and nothing seemed to be happening! Tom and Val were chomping at the bit and were considering just riding away when the paperwork was done, myself and V tried to tell them they needed SOAT which is Colombian specific insurance. They were not interested, we just said, so be it, when you get stopped by police, which you will be, and you are without SOAT, your bike gets impounded until it is sorted out. We finally got our paperwork with stamps at 10.30am. Once again, Tom and Val jumped in first to get theirs, but now they have to wait, because now they decide they want insurance and because they did not listen, they need to follow us to the office because they have no idea where it is!

In the end, Vincent led and we zigged and zagged through the streets until we got to the waterfront, from there it was an easy ride to the office. Once inside, once again Tom and Val jumped in front of the rest of us, no thank you to Vince for leading us there and went ahead and bought the SOAT. As for us, apparently the money we actually had on us was about $1 short of that needed, so that meant a quick ride to the supermarket for some more cash and at 11.30, with insurance in hand, we were finally in Colombia 🙂

That was the longest border crossing experience ever so far, it beat the 4 hours at the Honduras border by another 24 hours, I am glad it is over! So, once the bike was back in it’s pen I went and grabbed some lunch and went for a look around up at the market area again. Here I found a camera shop who said he could get me an Olympus camera, model 8000, waterproof, drop proof, me proof, it was going to be expensive at $900,000 which is about US$450. More than it is worth, but I said go ahead, I will be back tomorrow at 5pm to pick it up, but the snag was no credit card, I had to pay cash. So this meant banks etc, but I could do that tomorrow. The rest of the day was spent inside out of the sun at the Hostel Baraute which I quite liked actually, a pity they did not have bike parking inside. Thanks to Jim for some of these photos, my room is upstairs just to the right of the hammock in the picture.

While inside the aircon room, I decided to try my camera again and crikey, it fired up, yahoo! 🙂 No flash though 😦 I took a couple of photos, one showing all my business cards getting dried out, they were in my waterlogged pannier and one showing the massive peeling experience I was going through, I felt like a snake!!!

Just for the record, the camera did not last the night, it went all stupid and then stopped working all together, so that was a short lived reprieve, I nearly thought I would save $450. The only thing I am sorry about was I never managed to get a cable to extract the photos from Mexico City that were in it’s internal memory 😦 Anyway, here are a few shots of Cartegena courtesy of Jim as I cannot provide them.

I had a quiet night, catching up on some blog stuff, but also getting sorted with my chain/sprocket kit for later on in Medillin, also catching up on forum talk etc etc etc.

Day 6 miles and 10 km
Trip – 43,492 miles and 69,994 km



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