Day 102. 1st April. Coco Beach Hotel.

The waiting continues.

Meanwhile, we are fascinated by the movement and number of ships in a holding pattern, waiting to dock. With over 30 ships visible along our part of the coast and countless others further to our west, and out of sight, it’s fascinating to see MSC owned ships sail straight into a berth in the port.

So, I decided to ask google why.

Interestingly I get conflicting information. One story states that the port is a state owned entity. Another, that the port is owned by TIL (Terminal Investments Ltd.) A company based in Switzerland, coincidentally, as is MSC. Owned by the Aponte Family of Italy, with their head office also in Switzerland.

Probably of zero interest to most people but I find it fascinating. That’s what you get when there is little happening in the progression of our journey.

Continuing, as indicated above, the port is considerable in every way. The ships are fed by trucks carrying containers. The state or condition of those trucks if also interesting. Along the main arterial road that runs not far from our hotel, where many of the shipping companies and Freight Forwarders are domiciled, broken down trucks proliferate.
I have seen trucks with their engines in pieces and the driver sitting under it carrying out repairs at the roadside. Trucks that have tyres long past their serviceable life. Wheels missing. Cabs at acute angles. All truck drivers have a “mate”, who from the passengers seat, waves his arms, often with a garment in his hand, to signal the truck is turning right. Always from the outside lane across the traffic. The ‘mate also, jumps out when the truck is about to stop and places a block of wood under a wheel to stop it rolling backwards. My only hope is that the truck that takes our Landy’s to the port, arrives without mishap.

In NZ and other developed countries, trucks undergo the most stringent testing imaginable to ensure roadworthiness. I can’t conceive of any way this is happening in West Africa. Trucks belch out incredible amount of oily smoke. The trays are rarely flat. Buckled and broken from unimaginable loads. They break down continually. In the approximately 2k’s from our dirt track, joining the main road and down to the French owned supermarket, Champion, there are rarely less than 4 or 5 trucks broken down and blocking traffic. There is no animosity. Car’s motorcycles and other trucks patiently manoeuvre around the impediment, usually accompanied by a horn toot, to let you know that they are nearby.

Today being a Saturday and two days before our meeting with our shippers, we visited a bank to withdraw sufficient funds to pay the nearly CFA1,000,000 to cover part of the shipping bill. Divide it by 655 to find the Euro equivalent. It took visits to several banks to accomplish our objective. The balance in US$, we hope to arrange through electronic transfer from our banks.

The sun is shining again so we head back to the beach after buying one or two items of food from a street vendor.

We are still coming to terms with our latest change of plans to ship to Durban. Thoughts of arranging flights and will we be able to depart Togo before our renewed visas expire?

All will be revealed. Monday will be a huge day for us.

Jen does a great pasta dish for us all and Adam provides ice-cream for desert. We are managing..:)

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