The beautiful sound of an official stamp
Salsa af Stavsnas
Ellinor Ristoff Staffan Ehde
Thu 21 Aug 2014 06:24
Today we checked out of Tonga and here you can find the real stereotype of how it works when you encounter the official offices.
And of course it is also a problem that you never know how it works in different countries.
Today, after breakfast I jump in the dinghy, drive "downtown" go to a café and connect the computer and make a last check on the weather (yes we can do it by satellite but it cost money so we save that till at sea).
When I see that we can go to sea, I call up Ellinor on the VHF and tell her that it looks like we are leaving.
Then I walk down to port to see the customs officer. He tells me he wants the boat in the harbour and then we can start check out routines.
OK, so I walk back to the dinghy and drive back to the boat. We make everything ready and move into port (now we are 1,5 hour after I started the trip into town).
When coming to port the customs officer tells me I have to pay the port fee before he deals with me.
OK so I walk up to the port office and there is a guy that explains in poor english that I have to go to the ministry of infrastructure.
He tells me how to get there, it is on the other side of town. So I start walking and after 30 minutes I enter the office that belongs to the Ministry of Infrastructure.In the office is a women doing some nice handicraft on her desk, one guy is texting on his mobile, one is obviously telling a funny story and one is helping out a woman with some payment.
Im standing there and nobody, and I mean nobody even gives me an eye. This is the situation were you just look like you also have all the rime in the world. Do not show any frustration! Just smile. After 25 minutes or so I finally get to pay my 8Pangas (4 Euros), get a receipt and walk to the immigration office. The office is mid town and when I come up to the 2nd floor it is absolutely empty.
So I just have to sit down and wait, and wait. Finally a very friendly woman comes in and asks me if she can help me. Yes she can and she is very helpful when we fill in all the paperwork (again).
When Im done I walk down to the port and get into the customs office, a guy tells me the officer is down in the harbour.
So I walk down to the harbour and find him in a boat checking them in. Fine I say, no hurry, whenever you have time let me know and I walk to our boat and get some water. We are now 3,5 hours since I started the journey.
Then comes the friendly officer and he wants to know if I really have all the paper work, I do, I say and we walk to the office.
Well actually the official car is parked next to the official table so he walks away, gets the keys and moves the car. Then he moves the desk and we sit down on each side. He asks for the boat name and then walks away to get his BIG book to check when we checked in.
Then I get a pile of papers to fill in (again) and while I do that he starts filing in the boats he just checked in to the BIG book.
When Im done he continues to painfully write each name, passport numbers etc on the other boats in harbour. I wait, and wait.
When he is done he checks my papers and disappears, comes back with the papers that Im going to get to check in in Fiji.
He fills in everything I filled in and then finally he takes the big official stamp in stainless steel and SLADAM! There it is, on the paper, the stamp that confirmes that we are done...
Whe I get back to Salsa it is time for lunch actually...