Despite being in touch with shipping companies in Ecuador for over a year, none of them told me I must have an agent. I spent the last month sourcing one, contacting ten. Half got back to me, most couldn’t help. The only one that could spoke not a single word of English and neither could her colleagues. The following occurred over 10 days but pieced together as a single conversation:
Me : The shipping is very expensive, about $1000 more than I’d hoped. When does it leave?
Agency : This Saturday in Ecuador
Me: : But it’s Wednesday night and I’m in Peru! I’d need to travel 1497km and cross a border to . . .
Agency: : You’d need to be there by Friday
Me : Kerristttt <drives 1497km in 36 hours> Which port am I taking it to?
Agency : Customs closed on Wednesday, no way you could make it
Me : What the flying fudge? But your quote said . . . and I’ve just driven . . . I need to collapse. I’ll need to write about this as some kind of therapy. Why didn’t you tell me earlier?
Me : <Resigned> When does the next one leave?
Agency : Next week. Put your car in that container. The costs I gave you initially where I said it was the total costs? That’s a lie. You’ll have to find out the costs in Guatemala. Oh by the way, the container will reach your preferred port and take less time than the original quote, that’s some good news isn’t it?
Me : This is a bloody disaster. Fine, I’ll work it out in Guatemala. On the plus side, the boat arrives sooner, right? <Look for the positives, Reed, look for the positives>
Agency : Yes, June 5th!
Me : Great! Hang on, that’s the same date you told me it would arrive at the other port?
Me : Good chat. But it does get me where I want to go and on-time, that’s good at least! <Positives>
Agency : Actually I made a mistake. It goes to the other one. And it’ll take three days longer
Me : FU%^&&%&^*! Why didn’t you tell me? <You need to learn how to swear in Spanish, it’ll help>
Agency : You can pay you bill now please. In cash
Me : <Hijo de puta! > Are you crazy?! Who carries that much cash? I don’t have it! Why didn’t you tell . . . ahh forget it
Agency : If you can’t pay, then the container won’t go
Me : I’ll find a sodding way!
Agency : <Once paid> A pleasure doing business with you
Image reference: http://www.viralvinny.com/10-fascinating-abandoned-ships-throughout-the-world/
The blog will be a record of everything - from idea conception to old age in making this adventure happen
You can find the excellent 2006 Antipodean Adventure blog by Dwyer Rooney here