After drinks on the city wall at sunset and an amazing dinner at La Cevicheria (featured in this episode of Anthony Bourdain's television series) we were ready for our prison break of Manuel this morning.
We got an email from Luis at Enlace Caribe, our agent, saying that he would pick us up at 2:30 pm and we would have our car by the end of the day tomorrow... Could it possibly be that easy? The quick answer is, as of now, yes!
We had expected two full days of sitting in offices, filling out paperwork, and going back and forth from the port - it couldn't possibly take one day to get this done...
We took our free morning to wander the beach and sit at the pool - it actually felt like a "normal person" vacation!
Luis' son, Luis Fernando, an engineer who works for Siemens in Bogota was helping his dad out and took us to Enlace's office near the port. Enlace is a family company started by Luis and his wife - all five of his kids have worked with their parents at some point. Two of the siblings are lawyers (yay!), two are engineers and one works full time for the company- no slackers in this family!
After spending a couple minutes in the Enlace office, we went to Naves, the shipping company's agent, to pick up the original Bill of Lading, which we would need to present throughout this process. Getting the Bill released took about an hour, and we waited patiently reading shipping trade magazines (Bob is now an expert on oil tanker pumps!) until they called our name. While waiting, Luis Fernando was on the phone with his mom, who was getting all of the information on the car from us. We would later find out that she was filling out all of the DIAN (Colombian Customs) documents so they would be ready when we arrived.
At Naves, I had to sign a book and a document saying I had received the Bill of Lading, and that was it - back into the car to Enlace, where we waited for the DIAN paperwork to be finished.
Normally you would have to wait in line to fill out the paperwork at DIAN, go get photocopies across the street, come back to DIAN with the photocopies, get life insurance, get the paperwork approved and then schedule an inspection with a DIAN inspector for the next day. All we had to do was check the paperwork and give it to Luis' wife, who would do the rest.
After signing, we were sent home and told tomorrow afternoon we would get insurance for the car, go to the port for the inspection, and then pick up the car!
If this all works out as it as planned, we will be on the road with no muss or fuss early on Wednesday morning...
“Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one's lifetime.”
- Mark Twain