Today I woke to thunder clapping down, and the n a short but strong storm
running up the bay, before a small group of us went off to try and extend
our boat temporary importation permit into El Salvador, we were and are the
first to ever ask for an extension longer than 90days, as this new policy
has just come in. I rode up in the back of the pick up again, enjoying the
fresh breeze and watching people around us, and thinking through my tasks
for the day and week.
We then joined up with another cruiser already in San Salvador and we hired
a local tour agent to take us around and work with us and the authorities,
(this was a very good move).
Initially we went to port authorities who need to provide us with the
extension, and we were stone walled there, they really did not have a
procedure to deal with this, we had the owner of hotel making calls to
ministers behind the scenes to get things moving instead of sitting. This
new rule of 90 days came in earlier this year, but it has been a struggle to
get a procedure to extend, and everyone says it will happen, but all 5 boats
today have exceeded our 90 days and we wanted to clear up the matter and
work a plan. So like all procedures they need to be exercised so we trooped
in and sat asking, and getting not far in the start, other than embarrassing
people as they had not acted on a procedure but we go movement. Eventually
we found we had to go to customers so off we went with our papers and
letters to the other side of town, I did not hold out much hope at this
stage that we would achieve anything today. But we went in and ran into a
really efficient guy, and he understood what had to happen, and he guided us
and we were in an out in 30 minutes with 5 boats having the required paper
work from customers. So as the sun faded, the traffic increased to peak hour
we battled rain, pot holes and mad traffic, horns, buses of all colors to go
back across town to the port authorities again. They were closing up with 10
minutes to go we moved in and found that things had been ruffled here since
we left (the calls worked) and they processed us through very quickly and by
5.30 pm we were out with our 90 day extension (which allows us out in
October). This extension is key as we do not want to import our boat here,
and we do not want customers to impound the boat. Feeling satisfied that we
had it behind us, and we had a sort of procedure (still not sure it will be
the same next time), we had seen good red tape in action, and lack of
communication, but we exercised patience and it worked like you always have
to in the 3rd world and government departments.
I decided at this point that I would doing the super market shopping Tracy
had asked for and then go back to the boat, the others were too exhausted
that they decided to stay over in San Salvador, but I have got shopping down
to a list and I got through fast, and an hour latter I was back on the docks
by 8 pm.
Now since there I have been tracking down a special postal delivery we have
coming, and have found it has arrived in San Salvador but not sure where,
that will be tomorrows challenge.
But dealing with the different countries logistics is a part of a cruising
and travelling, when you succeed especially when everything is in a
different language and we ploughing a new trail for cruisers in the future,
a certain amount of satisfaction you have as the cold beer on a warm humid
night with evening performance of lightening and thunder occurring over the
volcanoes to the south east.
So not much time on the boat with boys today, but another set of milestones
reached, stay tuned for the next, goodnight.