A text I sent to a friend before bed after another draining day:
“Its like I have a really horrible job that I hate and don’t get paid for in a very hot dirty place.”
I would say optimism was low at then end of the day yesterday. haha
So I can just repeat the start to my day here because it is get up, pack all my stuff, get in taxi, go to the port and get there about 8:30. I did wake up feeling good and thought, there is no way I can’t get my moto today. Went straight to the billing office to get the factura. After about and hour and $150 dollars I had it. The cost was due to receiving fees and about 6 days of storage in their warehouse. It all seemed official and I don’t think I got gringo taxed.
I could now finally bust the bike out of the crate. No pics but I was soaked with sweat ripping into that crate with a crappy hammer and not so amazing crowbar. I was very lucky to even have those.
Right before I tore into the crate
Now the bike was free and mobile. I loaded everything on and put on my riding boots before even turning the key. All the port workers were gathered around and I held up my crossed fingers up in the air. A big laugh from everyone and then an even better sound, the rumble of the Remus exhaust from the F800 coming alive! I am so close now. Rode over to a different office for final paperwork letting security know I could leave the port.
As I am sure one can imagine I am very anxious at this point and ready to get out of this place. The bike out of the crate is generating a lot of interest and pictures. The guy operating the giant fork truck came over and was taking pictures. I asked if he wanted one with the bike and he was really excited. He stood next to it full of pride as if it was his own. I looked at him “No No amigo arriba.” Up in the seat he went and I think for a moment he felt like a kid again. It was a cool moment that I forgot to get a picture of, opps.
After over an hour I was allegedly getting my final stamp. One guy who was really interested in the bike took my paperwork ahead of others and invited me into the office where no one was allowed. Handed off everything to the hombre next to him for a final stamp and I should be off. After about ten minutes with my papers the guy looks at me and says I need to go back to the aduana. That was my threshold! I wasn’t angry, mean or rude but stern and direct. I said no! Everyone on the office looked at me. I made it clear that I had been at this for four days been to the aduana and port three times each and I am done. Figure it out I leave with the bike today. Not just today but soon! I am done running around doing arbitrary paperwork that no one really knows the end point to! The previous sentence was only my thought no way I can say that in Spanish. Haha.
Luckily before I left my hotel in the morning I had made sure some emails had downloaded and taken screen shots of them. They were emails from the aduana about inspection and paperwork. Showed the dude those emails he made some calls. He got some of the answers he wanted but said he wasn’t totally comfortable with it all. He was sure about letting me go but he was going to do it. Paperwork in hand and a big thank you to everyone as I run out the door. Riding across the port around all the containers, semi trucks and giant forklifts was surreal. Reminded me of the Colombia C-130 ride and riding across the Cali airport.
I was back at security and made a mad dash to return safety stuff. Before running off I asked the security guy if I was parked in a good spot then said “if not here”, pretending to throw him the keys. He was laughing his ass off and I saw him tell the story two more times before I left. Another nice moment in a not wonderful situation but the end was near.
Now ready to put all my gear on in brutal muggy heat I ask the security guard if there is an inspection or anything. Nope you are set. I put my gear on drive less than 2 meters(dead serious) same guys waves at me to stop and ask for a piece of paper. I shut off bike, step off and get it out of the back case on the bike. Lack of forethought in South America is very normal. I laugh and drive through that gate as fast I think reasonable racing through what I was told is one of the roughest areas in Guayaquil!!! I am free I am free I am free! Off to Montanita to meet Ricardo for his last night.
Where I have a beer every night to watch the show.