As arranged on Saturday Team Lipstick was ready to arrive by taxi at the customs department on the place of Independence in the middle of Dakar
Our friendly car guard duly wearing his Claas hat for ease of recognising was already waiting and we proceeded to use the staircase (the lift was broken) to the 4th floor of the building.
Although already 5 past 8 the iron guard to the head office was still closed and only opened after a 10 minute delay. Team Lipstick proceeded to the waiting room being first in line to proceed and after another 5 minutes we were guided to the chief custom official.
This document only allowed us in Senegal for 48 hours therafter we need our Carnet de passage stamped…
He had a look at our papers and explained that this can only be handled in the port itself and suggested that we proceed to that office ASAP to be first in line with our application.
So off with another taxi and our Claas consultant in tow we proceeded to the harbour trying to find our way through the offices… – on arrival our Claas man considered it to be best to engage another fixer so to speed things up.
The office of pain……….
We were quickly guided to the 1st office on the 3rd floor where 2 uniformed members of the Senegalese Customs Duty Department were about to start their working week. This of course necessitates to be well informed about national and international happenings by studying the daily newspaper ignoring team Lipstick for the time being – for customs officials wellbeing of course a good breakfast must be consumed before looking at the Carnet de passage which Team Lipstick so urgently needs stamped.
.. Monday morning getting into 1st gear…….
A yellow form was filled out and attached to the carnet where after the whole paper was put neatly on the desk for further proceedings. On enquiring what would happen now Team Lipstick was kindly informed that the customs supervisor will arrive shortly and he needs to stamp the yellow paper before we can take the papers to another office… (Arriving shortly for the uninformed meant 40 minutes later) It is now 9.20 am.
From the office of the 2 uniformed officials we had to go back to the ground floor and were guided to another office for preclearance of the carnet which meant handing over the carnet and the yellow form duly stamped by the customs supervisor…
..another office…. In the house of pain..
Having handed all forms over we were asked to wait outside the offices where after we would be called to take the papers to the next office where the carnet would be stamped. It is now 9.50qm…
…and team Lipstick waited but finally at 10.45 Willy decided to enquire from the office about further proceedings only to be told that they have duly affixed all necessary stamps and we can take the carnet now to office 3 …
Yeebooh …. Office 3 is on the same ground floor – but the doors are locked!
On enquiring why this would be the case we were informed by an adjoining office that the man on duty had to go to hospital this morning but that he would be back before lunchtime……………
This was now touching the pain limits of team Lipstick and off they went to see the Director of services who very eloquently explained that there are only 2 officers who can affix the final stamp to the carnet – BUT- the one is on leave this week and the other one is in hospital but would be back before lunchtime…
Every highly decorated uniformed customs official was approached thereafter but whoever the team approached would say that the official who is in hospital would definitely be back before lunchtime because he really has no permission to be away due to the fact that his colleague is on leave…..
Team Lipstick was simply paralysed by an unbelievable sequence of bureaucracy and had no chance other than to sit it out until 11.50 am when the one and only Mr.Carnet stamping man arrived and explained that he is basically healthy but that his daughter has some form of flue and he needed to take her to hospital this morning. Great sympathy for this unfortunate situation was expressed by team Lipstick and a mere 5 minutes later they had it THE STAMP ON THE CARNET DE PASSAGE!
The one and ONLY person in Dakar to stamp a carnet de passage………
Off to find a taxi after having paid the fixers a handsome honorarium and back to the hotel , starting Lipstick organising the Garmin Nave and off to town to find the way out of Dakar Team Lipstick was stopped by another blue clad uniformed official blowing his whistle like a referee in the world cup final could not do better.
“You are not wearing a safety belt”
“Sorry but we are in a rush and were just busy with organising our trip”
“NO NO you must wear safety belts in Senegal – it is for you own security – I need drivers licence, car registration,passport, car insurance papers and import papers”
Wow – team Lipstick almost handed their whole office over to this traffic referee where after they were presented with a fine of 6000 CAF (R 120, –) which was duly paid, all documents received back and stowed away and YES away they went direction EAST towards Mali after having had to endure a good 4 hours of highly dedicated procedures to have a Carnet de passage stamped…….
Some 420 km later and temperatures reaching 42 C – Lipstick arrived at a town called Tambacounda –approximately 200km – from the Mali border where they are staying for the night in the Oriental Camping Oasis………..
A great meal was had there whilst watching the Brazil – Cameroon (4:1) game and a good botlle of Cuvee Prestige from the Rhone Valley helped to ease out this day of burocracy…………
Getting papers ready – tomorrow Lipstick crossed into Mali………….