Let Me In, Let Me Out
Thanks to the German band Trio for making a song that was right to the point. Just substitute the woman’s name for my port of call.
With women, at least both parties gain. With bureaucracies, it’s more of a matter of minimizing the pain. And there has been a lot of pain.
From the day, I left Martinique at the end of January to my arrival in Mexico, a few days ago, Customs, Immigration, Port Captains and the occasional Dog Catcher have been nothing short of a big PIA.
Mexico and Puerto Chiapas, Marina Chiapas, have been a breath of so very much needed fresh air. Yes, it’s still a bureaucracy, but guess what? Marina Chiapas makes sure you want to come back and never leave.
After taking literally three days and $160 in taxi rides to the airport twice just to check-out of Costa Rica at Playa Coco, we arrived in the late afternoon at Marina Chiapas after a difficult 4-day passage from Costa Rica.
We knew and expected the Mexican Navy inspection upon arrival, but instead were told, “Go to the restaurant before it closes; it the Navy comes while you are there we will come get you”.
That was music to our ears. So nice. So pleasant.
An hour and a half later, as we are walking back to Dauntless, the Navy shows up, about 6 people and a dog. They inspected the boat, looked at my papers, filled out some papers and were done in 15 minutes.
Very respectful and quiet. At check-out a few days later, I heard the gentlest of knocking on the gunnel. At first, I thought it was a bird. It was my check-out inspection. Again, courteous to the utmost. Never getting on or in the boat without being invited.
Now, this was not the check-in to the port and country, just the inspection, but the tone, courtesy and professionalism set the tone for the coming days.
Next morning, Rolf, the Asst. Manager of the marina took my boat documents and spent about an hour preparing the documents I’d need to check-in.
He then made copies of everything, including the 6 copies the Port Captain needed for each office (Immigration, Customs, etc.).
He, Cliff and I were then chauffeured around town to the various offices where everyone got some of the papers and stamped some other papers. Rolf did all the talking. We had to pay about $30 for our passport stamp and about $10 for something else.
I had not obtained my Temporary Import Permit (TIP). An official looking document that allows me to keep Dauntless in Mexico or return for 10 years. But no problem, I’d get it the next day.
The Marina arranged a driver to take me to the border of Guatemala and Mexico. Again, I did nothing, I just went along for the ride and at the appropriate moment showed my passport, that the official verified with the copy Rolf had made that morning. The office time 20 minutes, the drive each way, 45 minutes. My driver, who did all the talking and even got an unexpected copy of my driver’s license. We even went stopped by Wal-Mart on our way back. All that cost me $50.
Today I am in Marina Chahue in Huatulco. I took my papers to the marina office yesterday and 10 minutes later I was all done.
I am also thankful to Rolf at Marina Chiapas for pointing out that I could get a Zarpe to my final destination in Mexico, alleviating me of having to get a wed one at every port.
Let me in, Let me out. OK It is a bit monotonous, but then I had just gotten over an infatuation with a woman named Tala. Oh Tala.