Posted By Lynn on September 4 2010
Atlantic Rising has been stalled by customs again. We are currently stuck in Veracruz, Mexico while officials fiddle with bits of paper. We arrived last week by ship from Cartagena, Colombia but our car has not made it out of the port yet. We are desperately trying to avoid flash backs to Guarujá in Brazil where we waited six weeks for the customs people to compile a 300 page dossier on our belongings.
Will has gone on ahead to visit the American School of Tampico where he is dodging bullets from various drug cartels, when not watching children’s movies with the son of the teacher he is staying with. (Read the BBC's coverage of Mexico's drug violence here.)
Meanwhile Tim and I are doing battle with the customs officials. Apparently, it’s very rare for a car to arrive in Mexico with things in it and this has opened a chasm of confusion for the box tickers. Our belongings are neither musical instruments nor sports equipment and therefore cannot be computed.
Instead, the customs officials go through our six page packing list checking whether each item (plastic bowl, Will’s deodorant, hi-lift jack, Moroccan spices etc) appears in their rule book as a ‘designated personal effect’. Anything that does not feature in this ‘official list of what you are allowed to travel with’ will have to be left at the port or we will have to pay tax on it.
The whole process takes quite a long time so it looks like we are going to be here until Tuesday at least. But it is not all bad because our very generous shipping sponsor Wallenius Wilhelmsen has put us up in a nice hotel while this merry-go round takes place. So, we are catching up on some project admin while Will avoids being kidnapped.
Rest assured people, we are coming to America – only quite slowly. So suggestions of sea level rise projects to visit or places to go along the East coast and Gulf of Mexico are much appreciated.