On the road at last.
This page comes to you from the side of the road near Rio Verde 200km west of Tampico.
It turned out that all three vehicles had been unloaded, but for some reason K-Nine and Bodo were in a warehouse whereas Mog was outside.
The first stage of extracting our vehicles was to go the Army Bank (Banjercito) in Tampico to get a temporary import permit. The bank had had several days to get these ready using the photocopies we had already supplied. Nevertheless the process of issuing the permits was very slow and error prone. The permit includes our name, address, passport number, vehicle registration number, chassis number, year of vehicle manufacture, driving licence number (twice), credit card number and the branch number of the Tampico bank. Every one of these number had to be cross checked against our original documents. (Except of course the branch number!) This process occupied most of Thursday.
On Friday morning, our excellent agent collected us from the hotel. Armed with all our documents and four copies of our temporary import form, we drove the 18km to the port at Altamera. After a couple of hours waiting at various offices, our temporary import permits were rejected because the bank's branch number was wrong! (910 instead of 810!). So back to Tampico, just as the bank was closing. Another half hour wait, then back to the port. After another three hours we were allowed access to our vehicles, now all together in a guarded compound.
Although the vehicles were externally undamaged, K-Nine had a flat battery, and there was some minor damage in the cab of Bodo and a few small items missing. (The shipping company had to have the keys to drive the vehicles, but did not need, and did not get, access to the back of each vehicle.)
By 18:30 we were at customs inspection at the port exit. Several people check our chassis numbers (in the dark). We wait for the big bad customs boss. The port closes at 20:00. At 19:40 a minion arrives to say the boss is not coming and we can go. Nobody even looked inside any of the vehicles!
We drive the 18km back to Posada de Tampico Hotel and go to sleep!
Saturday was spent re-installing our cab equipment (all radios, clocks, CBs, reversing monitors etc. had been removed from the cab for shipping). We shopped at the excellent Wal-Mart opposite the hotel, and filled up with water.
Whilst parked at the hotel the sales and marketing manager (Sergio) came to see us and very kindly invited all six of us back to his family home for a fantastic evening meal cooked by his wife, aunt and uncle. A truly wonderful Mexican experience! Many thanks Sergio, your kindness was greatly appreciated.
Sunday morning at 09:00 we started our adventure proper. At 09:32 we were stopped by the "Transito" police. Our "crime": driving our "big" trucks thru Tampico town centre. We asked where the signs were, and what the weight/height limit was, but no answer. We would have to follow them to the police station and be fined, we demurred. The chief would have to be called out to us, we agreed. We would have to leave our vehicles and go with them to the station, we demurred. We discussed the problem for 20 minutes. The possibility of a bribe was never even mentioned. Eventually Mog's registration number was taken and we were allowed to leave! The incident rather soured our first day's driving in Mexico.
Still we are on our way!
Home Next - This page last changed on 2007-06-06.