Border crossings are always a time consuming pain. With the added dimension of air shipping our bikes from Bogota to Panama, we had been warned to expect a LONG process. Today Terry, Gunter, Richard, Kevin and I won the “bikes are ready at the BMW shop” lottery so we were the only ones who could process our bikes with the shipper and get them cleared through Colombian Customs for export.
By 10am, we were at the air cargo terminal at the airport. We had to sign forms in triplicate and be fingerprinted twice. I don’t remember buying a house to be this complicated!
After shipping paperwork was approved, we were ready to move our bikes into the warehouse. One would think that at a huge, international, shipping location, there would be a lift or permanent ramp for this task. Nooooo! When the Globebusters team was though here 18 months ago while doing their Trans America trip, they had received their bikes in Bogota and had to RIDE them down 2 flights of concrete stairs to reach the parking lot.
Originally, some speculated and I feared that we would have to ride or “walk” the bikes up those same 2 sets of stairs. Fortunately, a wooden ramp had been built since their last visit. With all the practice I’ve had in the last year loading the Fun Mover, riding up the ramp was a piece of cake. Only the audience of 20 male dock workers watching me caused uneasiness.
My V-Strom then weighed in at 237 kg, 521 lbs, empty. At least I didn’t have to be weighed like when we flew over the Nasca lines. After rolling our bikes farther into the warehouse, we waited for the police to inspect them. And waited.
The Colombian Customs house was our next place to wait. A Dunkin’ Donuts had recently opened on the main floor so we could do some of our waiting in comfort and get some food in our stomachs. Did I mention that by now it was already 3pm? When our slot with the Customs Agent arrived, she decided that we had to provide rubbings of each motorcycle’s VIN number. Richard walked the 4 blocks back to the bikes to complete that task for each of us. Not all Customs agents require the same documents. This seems ridiculous for a governmental process. Colombian tax Pesos at work.
At 5pm, we finally finished the last step, just in time to endure the rush hour cab ride back to the hotel. A 10 ½ hour project – done!
8-Mar Bogota Customs and Shipping Day
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