Check-in with Girag in Bogota
I arrived at 7:30 in front of Girag Carga in Bogota. Drained fuel, took off mirrors, disconnected battery. At 8:00 I was in front of the exportationes window. No action. 20 minutes later, frustrated, I saw a gentleman walking by, and asked him if he was one of the jefe of Girag. He said "Yes." So I told him my story, that I wanted to ship my bike to Panama, that I had shipped with Girag twice before and had received first class service, but now that I was surprised that no one was looking after me. He was interested in bike touring and in shipping bikes by air cargo. So I mentioned that Girag had quite a good reputation among North American bikers, also their run to Quito. We introduced ourselves and shook hands. He gave me his business card and said, "Go to the second floor and ask for Carolina. She will look after you. Your bike will be in Panama tomorrow morning." He went to his office. I looked at his card, it said, "Adolfo Giraldo J. Presidente." Wow!!! In my distant youth I had known of another Adolfo, who had promised to make the German trains run on time, among other things. Nomen est Omen. We'll see.
Carolina was a pretty little thing. Petite, 26, and still unmarried. She looked at my documents, made a pile of photocopies, and typed out my waybill. Now it was hiking time. Over to DIAN (customs) to get an inspector to look at the bike (thank goodness for that little thicket along the way). I walked back; he rode, the lazy bugger. At least he gave me a ride back with him. Got my documents. Then to the Passenger Terminal to change more money and to buy my ticket for the next day. Then to the airport police. Then back to Carolina, pooped. The police inspectors arrived at Girag just before 12.00. One of them, a real PITA, smelled each of my spark plugs, and looked at all the light bulbs and fuses, even sprayed my chain wax to see if it was real. He had to check me out against his will. At 12.30 I was done, and US$400.00 poorer. Shook hands with Carolina, would have loved to hug her, but this would not have been professional. Will Adolfo deliver tomorrow? Stay tuned.