To take my mind off the dreaded waiting I found a book I had loaded onto our Mac while in the UK. It’s called “The Long Walk”. Written in 1956.
You may be familiar with the title or some part of the story, as I was. The story of allegedly 7 people (mainly Polish, Latvian & an American. Only 5 made it) who escaped from a Russian gulag in 1940, walking 4000 miles to India via the Gobi desert. After reading the riveting book, I found that it had been ghost written by an Englishman and there has since been some speculation about certain details. Regardless, it did an excellent job of keeping me from the endless speculation and alternative options, regarding our situation here in Togo.
A situation that does not seem to have any clear path to success, as at midday today. The shipping agent has made some encouraging comments but they are only that, comments. 3pm is their stated loading time. This blog entry is going to be on a time basis. As things develop, or don’t, I’ll note them.
Oh! and the Wagner concert was very good. Adam has an infinite and impressive knowledge of Richard Wagner the composer and person. Adam’s anecdotes created context but the music is a little too Hi-Brow for me. Can I say, us? .
4pm and we get the message, the container is there. Hurriedly we make final adjustments and drive around to the shippers yard. The container has yet to arrive but after about 45min it appears. The truck was having difficulty backing into the loading bay so drove down the road to turn around and approach from a different angle. He is trying to get around this massive truck parked on the opposite road side and ramp entrance.
When it wasn’t making any attempt to turn, Adam went to investigate why. It had run out of diesel!
There are no lashings in the container for securing both vehicles. Customs are there and photograph our VIN numbers and number plates. We are encouraged to drive the vehicles in and they set about with bits of wood and string to secure them! It means we are going to have to return tomorrow to secure them properly, after someone provides the appropriate lashings.
It would seem that customs are satisfied with events so far and Stanley, the shipping representative, says that there will be no tax to pay on the contents.
What all this means is that we are going to be able to fly on Thursday fairly confident that our vehicles will arrive in Durban on or about the 11th of May. The ship is making steady progress towards Lome, currently off the coast of Western Sahara
Perhaps Stanley’s admission that the company has never shipped a vehicle explains partly why we have been so anxious. He is a most amiable chap and kindly drove us back to the hotel. Also offering to pick us up tomorrow morning to check on the vehicle lashing, and take us to the airport at 11am Thursday.
All in all a most unexpected and satisfactory outcome.
My latest read, Dark Towers is equally as entertaining and mind relaxing, as the last.
Great news. Must say though, sitting in front of a good fire with a good companion, a nice wine and total solitude, beats the hell out of biting ones nails in deepest darkest corruptest Africa. Just saying.
That must be a big relief! However, there must be a gap in your narrative between the truck running out of diesel and you driving the vehicles into the container. Or did someone find a couple of long planks for you to drive up to get into the container still on the back of the lorry?
Where did Jen find the good companion…:). Just saying…:)
Hi John, no, the driver found a 4L can of diesel nearby!!!. Hope it gets him to the port today.