Everyone once in a while along the roads in Argentina, markers appear telling anyone who is interested how many kilometres away the Capital, Buenos Aires happens to be, almost a year ago it was quite interesting to find ourselves more than 5000kms away, down in Patagonia. Now however, riding back to Buenos Aires from Azul, one last time, I wasn’t too pleased to see the marker for 100kms, not far to go before our journey ends.
We had spent yet another week in Azul, filling up on asados with a variety of travellers that regularly turned up at La Posta. While we were there, we started the long job of getting the bikes clean enough to get past the pickiest AQIS man in Australia.
Our last kilometres behind us, we got busy in BsAs getting the bikes ready to ship to Australia; cleaning, cleaning and cleaning.
It was then time to build the crates as the bikes would be going by sea. We’d got 3 and a bit original crates from the BMW shop in town, but had come to the conclusion after speaking to the shipping company, that to use the original crates as they were, would be very expensive. After a bit of calculating and measuring, we decided to build one box for the two bikes, hopefully saving around 200U$.
Will they both fit?
We had the use of a workshop of a friend of a friend, so could hammer and saw to our hearts content. One crate worked, we managed to squeeze both bikes in and all the luggage too. We had given ourselves a week, but after 3 days full on carpentry we were done!
Well, we thought we were……Over dinner at the BsAs community, we got chatting to Maarten, who had recently travelled in Australia with his bike and told us how he had to show the AQIS guys his air filter!!!
So, back to the workshop, to take the lid off the crate and try and extricate the air filters.
Where is that air filter?
That done and everything cleaned again, we nailed the lid on for the last time. We measured the crate and worked out the shipping cost; 3.2 cubic metres instead of 7.4, so shipping would cost us 560U$ instead of 800U$. Of course there are still charges to be paid when the bikes arrive in Australia, but we were reasonably happy with the cost.
We had a few days to enjoy the city before the bikes had to be at the harbour, so time to visit Boca, the colourful area by the old harbour and to do some last minute shopping.
We had to visit customs before taking the bikes to the harbour, a small office that deals with unaccompanied baggage entering and leaving the country. Didn’t think of our bikes as “baggage”. After waiting around for a couple of hours for someone to turn up, the paperwork was done and dusted in a few minutes and it was time to get the bikes to the harbour.
The truck we had hired arrived surprisingly on time, but not surprisingly, without the requested pumptruck, needed to get our large and heavy crate onto the truck. Luckily a factory around the corner was willing to lend us one and we were soon on our way to deliver the crate, or so we thought.
Getting the crate into the truck
Despite the driver having the address already written down, we had to lend him our city map and he had to stop and ask the way at least a half a dozen times. Even by argentine timekeeping, we were late arriving and the guy who was meeting us there to fumigate the whole thing was not amused another 10 minutes and he would have left!
Luck was on our side yet again though and the warehouse lads soon unloaded our crate and put it in the “special fumigation area” which in fact was an old container. This was then pumped full of a foul smelling smoke and doors closed.
Fumigating the crate at the harbour
It’s a funny business getting bikes into Australia, everything has to be spotless and the wood for the crates either treated, fumigated or destroyed on arrival, can understand that the Australians don’t want any more strange creatures imported, but it seems to be getting stricter every year.
All that remained, was for customs to come and inspect the bike. Persuaded the guys at the harbour that we could do it while we were there and not have to come back in the morning as they were suggesting. We had to wait around for the rest of the day, then at 4.30, one of the guys took our papers over to customs. Of course being late in the day, the customs officer wasn’t too keen to come and start inspecting things, so he just signed the papers and we were free to go!!
Shipping out of Buenos Aires was for us a simple operation, but we had help. Sandra from the HU community arranged transport of the crates and bikes and a place to build the crate. Gabriella at the shipping company arranged the fumigation and told us how to do the customs paperwork ourselves. Flying out, according to another traveller we know, who used the same company, was even easier – just more expensive.
All that remained was for us to get ourselves to the airport, trip over.
Well, almost over…………………………
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