Buenos Aires, Customs & Motorcycle pick up
1st November 2005
No entry for yesterday as too bleeding tired the now, basically a trip into BA and the fantastic lunch at Tortoni´s (if I remember correctly) The hot chocolate was the best !
A late night last night, not off top sleep ´til nearly 1am by time people had left - it's such a great place here with nationalities changing from English to Spanish to German without catching breath. Nik, our fellow Gser from England looked just like we did the previous day with his mind completely messed up after so much advice and contemplation of the sheer enormity of this country - thought of the continent as a whole being beyond conception at present. Anyway, we could sypathise and swap the info we're received on big gaps between the petrol stations in patagonia and the like. Axel and Angela are off by boat to Uraguay tomorrow early so a last get together.
So anyway, today. Once S&J arrived they booked us a remise taxi to airport, about eight quid, and we had a last run through what problems we might encounter in getting the bike liberated.
The following is a pretty accurate account of the formalities as I'm passing the details on to other travelers.
Clearing a bike at Buenos Aires Airport
We arrived about 11am, the Air France office opened at 9, but customs not ´til 10 so not so late, with hindsight should have started an hour earlier I guess, but what the hell. Firstly at Air France Office we took our freight papers from England to the counter and then were issued with the airport equivalent of a ´bill of landing´and a whole stack of copies of passports and bike reg (3). If you have a good professional outfit like Mike´s at Advance Forwarding the copies will already be attached to both your, and the plane Co´s copies meaning you don't need further copies. There is one thing more you need though – a copy of your passport page with the entry visa from your arrival - best to copy that, though one was done at airport for free, just saves walking office to office. Don't worry though - you will walk from office to office to office in an incredibly confusing manner, a real paper trail. You wait you time, and I mean wait, and lots of folk seem to come straight in ahead of you while you wait - you'll find out soon enough that they aren't ´pushing in´, but returning (for umpteenth time).
So you get to the customs office after some considerable time and they say, Carnet de Passage ? to which you say, not needed, temporary import (in best Spanish of course), and the whole circle of fun begins. After much consternation the magical name ´Rita´appears and you go over to the building set aside from the Cargo Hall - were you have been for probably an hour.
Rita understands and takes you upstairs for a form that you will carry for approximately an hour or so wondering if it has any purpose, she is great and very helpful and the person that got things underway for us, and not only is she typically very attractive, but also very friendly. Now this IS what you need to help negotiate the blokes in next stages.
Anyway, I don't know what transpired but that got us - via a few run arounds and other visits to close-by offices to the customs that frankly I don't understand the purpose of - to Luis in customs who started the filling in of the temporary import form. He was a bit stand-offish at start, but very helpful later and speaks good English. Obviously you get a lot further using some Spanish, even if basic.
I´ll struggle to get all this right, but, you appear to have to have a section filled in one at a time, do something, or go next door - after waiting – before returning to fill another section in. It looks a very simple form, but I must miss-understand. The only thing we needed to show was my driving license, the original bike log book (V5), and the entry visa - which needs copying as above, you could get in advance, otherwise they'll send you to get a copy, but hey, it's free which is good.
At some point obviously they need (but not as much as you !) to see the cargo. The cargo hall is quite large but the new arrivals are near by. You don't have to pay for the opening of the crate separately - it's in your price. They will open it for you - thank god, as a screwdriver is not the way to do it, power drivers are required unless you want to spend all day – and the cargo handlers are also great and even better once they realise what is inside. They won't rive things apart unless you ask, they will listen to your advice - and a good company will have marked the crate for you so you know what screws to remove, and were to start etc etc. (Thanks Mike, and thanks ´L4arge one´). Once you are in, Luis needs to confirm the chassis and engine number, and will then return and leave you to
assemble the bike or whatever.
You will need to connect the battery also, and if you have planned ahead you will have a fuel can – thanks Javier - to collect enough fuel to get you out, see below for more.
You return to office, and fill out more of the form. You pop next door (I really can't explain why), then back to Luis then to first office with girls in who are cashiers. I don't think we were charged for the fact we collected the bike about18 hrs after it arrived (said we couldn't the afternoon of arrival, then said we could when it was too late) and don't think we incurred any charges anyone else would escape, but the final bill was US$ 123.50. They would have been happy with Peso's, but we didn't have that many Peso's on us, so as we'd allocated $ we used them.
The temporary import is for 3 months, if you want to stay longer you MUST get either an extension, or if I'm right, a new temporary import on re-entering the country from an adjoining one. This paper with the entry details is very important.
Now you need petrol. Bev walked over to the pumps about 500m away and returned with full can, and we had enough juice to at least get the bike underway.
That's it, you are now free to leave. I don't know if you would be charged for leaving the crate or not as we are re-using ours, you can get transport for it from airport easily, Luis arranged for us.
The Carne de Passage is NOT a thing you need to enter a vehicle here, though they are quite committed to asking for one. You DO NOT need an agent, it would only cost a probable considerable amount to get the same things done, maybe faster, but maybe not
The above are our practical experiences, but without the help of Sandra and Javier obviously we wouldn't be able to do any of this, credit most certainly due to them for there continued fantastic support of motorcycle travelers.
All this being said the staff came out to watch us set off so they can't exactly be unsympathetic to self importation of Motos, it's just that it's out of the ordinary for the general business.
We had arranged through Luis to have the crate taken to S&J so we can reuse it when we come home. It cost best part of 250 quid, and Mike guessed not much less over here, so worth keeping if we can afford too. I've suggested to S&J we pay $100 to store it here, if we don't return, they can use it for future travelers. We got charged 150 Peso's to get it delivered, bout 30 quid, which isn't too bad when a taxi is 8 quid. We also had big advantage of being able to follow truck to S&J´s place, which would otherwise have been a nightmare, only took 40 mins.hours under own directions I'm sure.
As we needed petrol we had to get to gas station in airport, but it was other side of all the one-ways. The security guards simply let us go the wrong way, and opened the barriers ahead of us - imagine that at Heathrow..exactly..they are really, really, nice folk. Got juice and returned to truck and set off for S&J. The motorway varies from OK traffic wise, to mad and suicidal, glad we were following someone. The roads I assume are like the grid system very easy if you are used to the states, but completely mad in extreme for us. Cities will not be good news on this trip, not 'til end will we suss them I expect.
As we came to S&J´s we came a different way through a real rough neighborhood, and I mean rough, armed guards with shot guns at warehouses. It's amazing here nearly all stores in town have guards, and there's loads of armed police, but everyone seems to be very friendly.
Got back to here and unloaded crate and were able to shower, Christ it was hot, hotter today, and it's really not hot at all for this place. Imagine my amusement when we set off from airport and }I realized my heated grips were on - I was frying ! Gonna take some getting used to that's for sure.
Nice simple tea of lettuce tomatoes and cheese and bread and beer to unwind. We've been drinking the local water all week with no ill effect, but I'm not sure Id do it everywhere, Argentina, well here, is like a cross between Europe and say Mexico, odd !
And so to our future plans. We think we might team up with Nik for the first few days just so we're all in it together, thence we'll be on different paths, so we will stay here tomorrow, and maybe leave day after.
For now, that is it, we have the whole family here now!!
Posted by Simon McCarthy at November 21, 2005 10:39 PM GMT