Michael Eierle - Germany to India, Pakistan and Iran, Germany to Turkey - India - from Udaipur to Mumbai

India part 3, from Udaipur to Mumbai - the Honda import saga

On the 16.02. we left Udaipur, following NH Nr. 17 to Baroda. Next stop along the highway was in Dalan. This is the only place in Gujarat where you officially get alcohol or what they call beer. Gujarat is a dry state.

In 3 days and after 750 Km we reached hot and humid Mumbai. Here Rosi's Honda arrived at the airport. The story is, that I was working in India for the "Times of India" some years ago and I still have good connections. And they were more than necessary. So read this:

The painful rebirth of a Honda as an Enfieldeater!

Day one: the Lufthansa office told us the freight papers have to be changed. The sending and the receiving person must be the same, but aren't because a friend sent the bike for us. And in Germany you have to sign the freight papers personally. How to do when you are already in India? So I sent a mail to the cargo company in Germany to make sure, that the German LH allows the Indian LH to change the papers.

Day two: We got the changed papers and went to the cargo airport. They sent us to the Carnet officer, but this guy has his office in the harbour, 1.5 hours away. It was late already, we called this guy on the phone and organized a date next day in his office.

Day three: We went to the blue gate at the harbour. No entrance. Went to the yellow gate and this officer sent us to the next police station for a "non objection paper". You need a pass photo also. Lucky us we had a car and a driver from the "Times" because it's always quite a distance between the places.

With the "open door paper" back to yellow gate, Officer looked and grunt, rushing to blue gate, filling out an entry form, flying 2 km further to another gate and the final entrance to the harbour.

Filling out 1000 forms with data of bike and personal. This officer is a 150-%-one and it was his first bike. And he is the only Carnet officer in town. Hours later we had to go to the INDEX CELL somewhere in the center of the town. Had to wake up several workers and disturb some more tea breaks in this office building. Finally found the Cell at the 12th floor. At the Index cell we left our data again and they realized that there is also an Index cell at the airport and they (airport) have to do this shit again. And who is responsible? 3rd step this day was the Indian automobile club. Yes there is an automobile club in India, of course in Nariman point, further away.

This guy checked the Carnet and wanted one more letter of confirmation for the Carnet.

Where to get? From Germany of course! So sending a fax to the German Automobile Club and some hours later we had the letter of confirmation in our Hotel. Thanks Fau Neubert from ADAC Munich.

Day four: 2,5 hours back into the city, showed the papers at the automobile club again, paid 240 IRs, received a letter and rushed to the airport.

After lunch break the carnet officer arrived there and we were searching together for the Index cell section airport. It was at the normal airport, not at the cargo airport. After a little sightseeing tour around the airport finally we reached at Index cell airport. Left the bike data again 30 minutes later we were back at cargos. One hour later we saw our box the first time.

After 10 more stamps, signatures and views on our papers we opened the box.

Everything was there, nothing was damaged. Than the carnet officer checked everything extremely. He didn't care about the accompanied tent, spare parts, German sausages, jam, guidebooks, but the spare tires for the Guzzi. I could convince him, that the tires are used and the size is not used in India.

After 15 more desks, signatures, stamps and the amount of 2500 IRs handling fee we finally got the bike to the gate of the cargo hall (after sponsoring some packers). Then sponsoring of packers working outside the cargo hall and the bike was free.

The fright costs were 1700 DM, plus 6$ US, plus 55$ US handling fee. The fright costs depend on the size of the box, not on the weight.

We had big help from my former customer. Do it on your own without connections will need you lots of baksheesh, nerves, time, taxi fares and bullets for getting rid of this "angles of the pain in the ass". Indian customs is sometime worse than diarrhoea. But you can't flush it away, HaHa.

One option are these so called agents. The do all the duty, promise your bike being delivered in 3 days and charge you around 165$ US for this service. I believe there is nearly no chance to do it in a short time without this blowfly.

Lot of travel or cargo companies already in Germany told us they will not deliver to India, because of this pain-in-ass-angels.

For further information you can send me a mail. But if it's not a must, you shouldn't do it, except you are a masochist.

Enjoy your being on earth without Indian customs

Mike and Rosi

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