Let the fun begin

Crossing borders can be the most frustrating part of international travel. Importing and exporting bikes adds to the complexity. Our bikes coming from the warehouse in Los Angeles were supposed to ship out  two weeks ago, arrive in Bangkok last Tuesday and we’d picking them up on Thursday. Complications in Hong Kong delayed their arrival until Saturday. Customs received them Monday and we’re here to claim them today.

Bikes from Australia also came Saturday and the main group is here to pick them up. We have hired agents to expedite the process. USA has become a 7/24 365 culture. We get frustrated when we can’t do things whenever we want it done. Discover Our Earth teaches us that most countries don’t work like that. Others don’t share our sense of urgency.  Family time is important, as is personal. Lunch can shut down borders. Bureaucrats don’t care that truck drivers are trying to deliver goods. Tours schedules are meaningless. Desire for food determines when people can enter/leave the country.

It takes about an hour’s bus ride to get to the airport about 08:30.  Customs is a 9 to 5 organization. People start shuffling in around 9 am and most desks are full by half past. Around 11 the first set of signatures are entered and the stack of paper goes back into the machine. First prediction is offered around noon that we’ll go the the ware house an pick up the bikes by 13:30. Some documents are returned after lunch and more are signed. Start time is now said to be 14:30. A little after 5 pm, we are given passes that will allow us into the bonded area to get our bikes, but are told to wait. Allegedly, workers were uncrating our bikes for us to pick up.

The building was nearly empty when we arrived nine hours ago and has returned to that state. About six we are given the OK to go through the checkpoint. They ask for our passports and do we have any cameras. Passes are assigned to those who’ve brought theirs. Directed to one end of the huge facility, we sit and wait again. Looking into the door, we see one crated BMW bike, belonging to Franz Joseph, who is joining the group for Section Five. Our agent pulls up in a truck and tells those who rode in Australia to pile in. Their bikes are in another warehouse. About ninety minutes later they ride back to our location. Cathy’s, Chuck’s and my bike haven’t been found yet. Finally our agent comes back and tells us three to hop in the truck, because our bikes are in another warehouse. Our bikes are on the dock on the pallets we rode onto in LA and are wrapped with Saran wrap. We cut that off, reconnect the batteries and start our machines and ride to another dock where the others are waiting.

Thunder and lightning greet our arrival, followed by a downpour. Fortunately, a roof extension covers most of the bikes. We cool our heels for another hour, waiting for the ladies to come out and compare our serial numbers to on our bikes. Around 10 pm we’re finally cleared to leave.

Martin joined us from Vancover and his bike arrived last week. On Monday he went through a similar process only to find out at the end that his agent in Canada had put his own name as owner in the place where Martin’s should have been and he couldn’t get his bike. Document were sent and he was successful today.

Cathy wanted to ease into riding after her surgery and six-week lay-off. Thailand, like England and Japan, drives on the left side of the road and it doesn’t allow motorcycles on the express roads. So, her inagural ride was in a foreign country, driving on the wrong side of the road, in a fourteen-bike group, with minimum safety gear on a hot, dark, rainy night, through congested city streets after waiting for over thirteen hours. Let the fun begin!

May 24 – Cutoms at Bangkok (BKK) airport.


Our bikes arrived Saturday, but no one
was here to process the paperwork. They came in on Monday to process
the first wave of paperwork. Mick’s bike arrived from England last
week and he got it released yesterday, so he knows some of the
routine. He feels the process is going well and just left the group
with our agent to work on the next segment.


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