We faced an exciting day today as we would learn first hand about international shipping. After reading about it for weeks, it was finally time to drive Rodrigo into a dark container! We met Nate and Sarah at the Balboa Yacht Club after a nightmarish drive through Panama City. It seems like traffic is getting worse every day! Marijke was not feeling so well today and the start-stop action in the traffic jam did not help!
At the Yacht Club we waited for 45 minutes for our agent to turn up. Relax, we’re in the tropics!
When our agent Amy arrived, we drove behind her to Colon – on the other side of Panama. We arrived in Colon around 10:00am to have the drivers’ passports stamped (so that we can show that we did not dump our car in Panama). We handed over the paperwork that we received on Monday and added one more stamp to a passport that is slowly getting full! Colon is not a nice city to be in – and the area outside the customs where we miraculously parked our car is a big mess of cars, trucks, taxis and containers. We found our cars back in one piece and then drove to the port!
At 11:00am we arrived in the port and had the car inspected. After this inspection we had to pay part of the port fees and around 12:30 we could drive the car to the container loading dock.
Our container was waiting for us and after another inspection, which included a write-up of the state of the car, and many people taking pictures of the car inside and outside, Patrick got in the car and drove it in the 40 foot container. It was a tight squeeze with about 3cm on each side. The crew started to tie the car down to the container with ropes. Once our car was ready, Nate drove his truck in behind us and the process was repeated. It was an even tighter fit for the Dodge and Nate had to get out of the car through the back window. Sarah was kind enough to take some pictures of our car being loaded – we’ll add those to the post asap!
Around 2:00pm the container was closed and then sealed. We drove back to Panama City with Amy and all we can do now is wait for the boat to leave! Tomorrow we are finally exploring Panama City a bit more. It’s a good thing that we don’t have to drive in this city anymore because the road rage was getting to us. Marijke released all her frustrations with Panama traffic in the direction of one driver who absolutely refused to let us cross the road – he’ll think twice about doing that again!
I know how you feel
I’ve been there myself
It’s what the devil may fail
What do you care
Can you control yourself?