Sorry to the Afrikaans guys, this post will be only in English.
I had a bad night last night. Just after four I was up, packing my stuff, reading emails, waiting for 8 o’clock to report to the office of Allalouf, the agent of the shipping line in Haifa. First of all I had to get insurance for the KLR.
Note in my diary: I MISS THE SO-CALLED BLACK AFRICA WHERE THE ORGANISATION IS MUCH EASIER!!
Easier said than done. I was lucky to meet Linda Rfai, working at the export section. Linda called the one insurance company after the other until she found a company that would consider selling insurance to me. It was not her job to do so. Linda, thank you so much!!! You are an asset to your company!
So off I went to find the insurance company in the city. After 15 minutes of walking I stood at the counter where a friendly lady attended to me. She couldn’t speak English and didn’t have her glasses with her, my Hebrew was non-excisting.
After debating and arguing she sold insurance to me. In Israel one has then to go to a bank to pay the insurance, and only then it is valid. I found a bank and queued with the valuable document. I had to pay a hefty sum for two weeks’ insurance.
I walked back to the harbour. The entrance is guarded by at least three to four guards, armed with automatic rifles. They went through my documents, backpack, passport, and spent some time on the computer, reading about me. Then I could go. Next stop was customs.
Yesterday there were two young gents, loudspeaking, self-assured, but efficient? Today as I entered the office I knew I was in for a run. This time there was a lady sitting with a younger gent next to her. Let us speak about the Israeli ladies. They are born beautiful and born efficient. If they are wearing uniform and are beautiful, know for sure they will give you hell like the devil couldn’t.
THE LADY took all my documents and started searching, typing, comparing. The first half an hour passed with me standing in front of this beaut. She never smiled. After an hour she got up, grabbed keys and my documents and disappeared. Twenty minutes later she came back. After speaking to her colleague he asked me to come with to the KLR. For the first time I had that feeling that the things were not going as I wished for.
The KLR was parked one and a half km away from customs in a paddock without any shade, and the sun was burning! Getting to the bike I saw that both wheels still were t here, all three boxes. The gent went to the front wheel and started fiddling on the frame to find the chassis number. After standing in the blazing sun for quite a while he looked up. His English was ok, his words were awfull.
“Sir, you’ve got a problem.”
Then he showed me the problem, and I swore again (sorry Marizanne).
The lady that sold me the insurance, typed in one letter of the chassis number wrong. As it was in Hebrew I didn’t know that. One letter. In stead of an E she typed a B.
THE LADY was a lady of little words. “Go back, get new one.” That was all. I couldn’t believe it.
I started walking again, back to the city, so glad that Marizanne wasn’t there to read my mind.
Getting to the lady there was a long queue. When I got to the front she argued with me that it should be a B and not an E. After that she ignored me until I opened her door and when to her behind the security glass. It wasn’t a good idea, I agreed. But it helped. After another hour I got a new insurance policy, the lady paid the admin fee to the bank as I had refused to do so, and then back to the harbour, by foot.
At the gate the same four guards as earlier. We joked again about the vuvuzela that I had with the bike, The OTHER LADY took control. I had to unpack my backpack. I had to open my laptop, switch it on, Windows, My Computer, Shared Ducuments, and that was it. I could witch it off. Then the best of the short encounter: I may pay two 2 NIS. Why? For the right to be searched!
I had to pay.
Back to customs. THE LADY pitied me and soon I had all the stamps. Now to a next building, first floor. A gent took my documents and started typing with one finger on his keyboard. That lasted twenty minutes. Now to go and pay for the KLR for standing one night in the customs paddock. Again a lot of money. There was only one problem. The cashier wasn’t there. He went for his lunch break. So I stood there. And waited. And waited. At last he came. He messed on his pants. He had had something with ketchup for lunch. Then he started typing on his keyboard. Again with one finger.
Entry in my diary: I THOUGHT IT WAS ONLY I USING ONE FINGER TO TYPE.
Having paid, having collected all documents I started the one and a half km walk to the paddock. There were no trees, only concrete and tar, and a blazing sun.
Then I got to the paddock. Yes, you have guessed right. It was locked, closed, the office closed. I sat down on the steps and started reading sms messages and emails on my cell phone.
On entering Israel from the south all the customs and immigration procedures, insurance included, took about half an hour, While sitting next to the wendyhouse the 25th hour came and passed.
Question in my diary: HOW ON EARTH DID BLACK AFRICA MANAGE TO HAVE NEXT TO IMMIGRATION AND CUSTOMS ALL THE OTHER OFFICES FOR ALL LEVIES THAT ONE NEEDS TO PAY?
To cut a long and hot afternoon short, I got the bike, I am sunburnt, I am thirsty, I am now going to drink a cold cold beer.
Quote from my diary: MOTHER BLACK AFRICA, I LOOK FORWARD TO YOUR FRIENDLY BORDERS!