Today the boys hope to be reunited with Lipstick and they were told to be at the agent’s office at 1.20pm (yes not 1 or 1.30 it has to be 1.20pm J).


The morning was therefor spend doing some admin work and planning the next stop overs – Columbia and Cartagena so far impressed team Lipstick and it really is a nice country (at least what was seen so far) People are all very friendly and the obstacle of them speaking very little English and the boy’s knowledge of Spanish is the only dampening effect.


So, in time at 1.20pm Team Lipstick were at the office of the clearing agent and were told that the rules of the harbour are as follows:


  1. Only the vehicle owner is allowed to go there to offload the vehicle from container
  2. A safety vest must be worn
  3. A Safety helmet must we worn
  4. Safety shoes are an absolute must


Wow – obviously none of the clothing requirements are available to the boys but Francesco who would accompany them quickly produced all of them with a broad smile.


So off to the harbour office and ready for the formalities as the doors opened at 2pm.


Andre had to wait in the waiting room whilst Willy could accompany Francesco. By then Willy was properly dressed in harbour attire feeling like going to a costume party. The safety shoes must have been manufactured before the change of the century and they looked like moon boots with steel reinforced caps putting an extra 2 kg of weight onto Willy.


No fancy dress party but strict clothing regulations in Cartagena harbour


First counter and handing over a stack of paper forms after which the lady beyond the counter immediately started to put all data into her computer. She did this so speedily that she was finished within 50 minutes after hammering a big stamp on all the forms.


With this Willy and Francesco were now allowed to enter the harbour and look for the container which they reached after schlepping the moon boots through the first mile of discomfort.


The container was found and the release inspector instructed 2 labourers to cut the seal and open the doors.


Viva banghoo – there it was Lipstick saw daylight again and after removing all straps and wooden barrier blocks Lipstick was pulled out and Willy could proceed to connect the 2 front batteries up and with the “hot wiring” system (due to ignition switch failure) good old Lipstick started at first try.


1 door – 2 door and Lipstick is back in daylight at Cartagena’s harbour


Now the inspector took pictures of each and every VIN, chassis, licence and number plate numbers to forward these to the powers to be in the customs department.


Moon boots and all then made it back and together with Andre proceeded to drive to the customs department at the other side of the harbour and whilst Andre was able to sit in the air-conditioned car of Francesco – Willy had to accompany Francesco to the offices of the customs department and again the moon boots had to go into action for another mile to and from these offices.


All fine at the customs office and the officer handed all stamped forms over to Francesco but advised that 1 copy of each form would have to be produced again at the harbour office andtherefor they had to proceed to go to a not so close by shop where copies could be made. (The moon boots really get around)


Back to the harbour office and all the documents were again handed over to the high-speed data input Lady and the time pressure was now on as the office would close at 6 pm and it was 10 to 5 pm.  At 5.35pm the Lady again smiled and with more stamps on the document Francesco had to go the closed by counter “Factura” where they would produce and invoice, which needs to be paid at the enclosed Bancolumbia (they also close at 6) With one of the 2 counters closed already Francesco was able to pay the necessary dues as the last bank client of the Day.


Slow motion must have had its origin exactly in these chamber – 5.35pm and the offices close down at 6pm


Fortunately, the high-speed data Lady was also slow in closing her counter and still accepted Francesco’s request for the final clearing stamp.


Viva and off towards the gates to the harbour where Willy was stopped by security because his security pass expired at 6pm – so back to the security office where the security pass was reprogrammed to after-hours acceptance and through the gates of the harbour with 2 kg of moonboots on Willy’s feet for the final mile to reach Lipstick.


Not so easy of course because the after-hours release inspector also would not win a high-speed gold medal in putting the final release stamp onto the various forms. No, no he had to speak to his superiors first to get an after hour release, inform the security gate keepers of the late departure from harbour of the late departure and assumingly whilst doing so also chatting about his life in general whist Willy was tipping the moonboots in agony from left to right.


Voila the final stamp came down on the gate pass with much vigour and a broad smile by the inspector who obviously was proud to release such a wonderful car within his first hour of nightshift.


Lipstick is back on solid ground obviously admired by the Columbian Custom inspector


Lipstick was started and after a final inspection by the harbour’s gate keepers was free to hit the streets of Columbia. With great relieve Willy exchanged the moonboots and was back in his even more no very comfortable takkies.


The boys went back to the hotel and celebrated Lipstick’s arrival with appropriate Scottish beverages

Day 24 – 8th February – Cartagena (getting Lipstick through customs)