Panamericana 2013

… somewhere between Alaska and Tierra del Fuego

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Eventually, we can pick up the Landcruiser

The documents which we got from the german forwarder mentions, that we can pick up the car on wednesday, May 08. It says:
– Go to the Canadian forwarder to get all the necessary papers
– Go to Customs and get the stamps
– Take a taxi to the harbor and pick up your mobile home
– The process will take 3-4 hours

To know where we have to go on wednesday, we already walk to the forwarder on monday and we also read up about where the container port is located.
We meet a nice lady at the forwarding company, her name is Carolyn. She explained that we can possibly pick up the car tomorrow already.
“That’s fantastic. One day earlier as planned”, I said.
We get a bit nervous now. Hopefully everything will be fine and the car will be OK.

We are prepared very well for THE DAY tomorrow. We found all necessary papers in our luggage, know where forwarder and customs offices are and we also know which bus to take to the harbor, instead of paying the expensive taxi.

OK, all we can do now is: Hope that everything works fine and that we will not have any trouble.

It’s Tuesday. Punctually at 9 AM we are at the forwarder office but actually we are not the First. Apart from us, four french people also wait for their motor home. Some patience is asked. We need to wait 1,5 hours until Carolyn brings the documents.

The handling was done quickly. We get the papers for custom and port, pay 150 CAN Dollar and go to customs.
We did not need to wait there at all. After 5 minutes we are done. “We have to get the bus quickly. Port closes at noon and we only have one hour left” Jan says.

I get on the bus with the town map in my hands. The bus driver laughs and says: „Map in your hands? What‘s your question?“
Wow. Something like that never happened to me in Germany: I meet a laughing and friendly bus driver!
I asked him where exactly to get off. He checked the map and explained that he will tell us when to hop out.
Awesome! We are excited that he obviously likes his job.

At our stop another guy got off. He heard that we want to pick up our car. He works at the port and showed us the way.
Again: Friendliness! We are flabbergasted. With a smile on our face, we already see our green Landcruiser between other motor homes and containers.

A small, plain house is our destination. We get a visitor badge, a reflective vest and some minutes later we get a lift to the car.
Everything looks fine. We can’t see any dents or scratches. Inside everything is fine, too.

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We only have one problem: Too much luggage.
Clothes en masse, spare cables for the spare cables, too much bathroom stuff like toothbrushes and towels. I don’t know why we packed so many things…
“Oh my god. That’s too much. Where do we store all that?”, I asked Jan.
Unfortunately, Jan also has no clue.
When we packed at home we had no idea that we have so many things. We agree to clear out.

But for now. We will start the trip.
Amy already explained us some traffic rules cause we recognized that everybody drives very slow and careful. Cars also stop for pedestrians even there is no crosswalk.
– They do not have the “left yields to right” rule
– They have crossings with a Stop Sign in each road. The one who stops first, is the one who drives first.
– One important rule: Don’t pass a stopping school bus.
OK that’s not very complicated.

As I am swamped on the big driveway, Jan drives first. The driveway is big and complex. Stupidly, we forgot a map and our navigation device does not work yet.
“Which direction should we go?”, asks Jan.
“I have no idea at all”, I answered quickly
What a way to start 🙂

Somehow we find the correct direction and chuggle on the highway with 90 km/h. This gets boring and we turn into the coast road where we drive through small villages.

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Just before dusk we find a small place in the woods. Jan opens up our roof tent and we go to bed happy.