Shivering on the 49th Parallel
Wednesday, November 24, 2004

Estimates on the number of cars damaged/destroyed/written off due to Hurricane Ivan run anywhere from 6,000 to 10,000. Why is it that with that many cars off the road is there still so much traffic in the morning? I left at 7:15 this morning, and traffic was backed up all the way out to West Bay, through 4-way stop, and onto Northwest Point Road. At 7:15. Insanity.

I flew up to Miami last week and bought a new car, and on the paperwork I signed, it was scheduled to sail yesterday the 23rd aboard the Stadt Cuxhaven. I'm guessing it's a three or four day trip from Port Everglades to Grand Cayman. A couple days to unload/sort out the cargo and then I'll get a phone call from Thompson Shipping to come get my paperwork and start the customs clearance dance.

The Cayman Gov't has reduced duty by 10% if your car was destroyed by the storm. What you have to do to get that reduction is to prove that you lost a car, by way of the receipt from the Vehicle Licensing Dept. I've been putting off doing that, because the lines at the office (while normally long, even mid-month during business hours) were phenomenally long.

This morning I decided I would bring a magazine, stop and get a coffee and wait outside for the office to open, and get in at the front of the line. The office opened at 8:00 and I got there about 7:45. There were already about eight people there lined up outside the door. At 8:07 they opened the door and we filed in and stood in the queue.

There was one person working inside and three empty desks.

You would think that because not only did six to ten THOUSAND people coming in to de-register/terminate their licensing, at least that many people coming in to register new cars, AND the normal volume of people RENEWING their registration/license that they would have all hands on deck. That was clearly not the case here. I got through at 8:45 and got my plates turned in and my registration cancelled. As I was leaving, a second person came out, took a desk/computer and started helping people, too.

Once my ship comes in (pun intended) I'll have to go through all that at least once more. Here's what I need to do once my Jeep arrives:

  1. Pick up the paperwork at Thompson Shipping and pay the freight charges.
  2. Go to Customs and BUY a multi-part form for importation and fill it all out.
  3. Stand in line at Customs and have them file my paperwork and assess me the duty on the vehicle AND the freight charges (27.5%, but with my receipt that I got today it'll be reduced to 17.5%).
  4. Take the paperwork and stand in the OTHER line at the cashier's window, get my paperwork stamped, and a receipt issued for the duty.
  5. Take the stack of paperwork to the Port Authority office and pay them the warehousing fees and stuff, and get a pick-ticket issued.
  6. Take the pick-ticket out to the warehouse with the customs paperwork and get the vehicle.
  7. Go get a “Cover Letter” from an Insurance Company which will allow me to “prove” that I have insurance on the vehicle and take the vehicle and all the paperwork back to the Vehicle Licensing Dept and have the car inspected for road-worthiness.
  8. Stand in line again at the Vehicle Licensing Dept and turn in all the freight, customs, delivery receipt and inspection paperwork and have a log-book issued (title). Pay for the road-worthiness inspection ($25), the license plates ($60), the annual registration fee ($160).
  9. Go Back to the insurance company with the title/logbook, VIN & plate number and get a proper insurance certificate.
  10. Sell my kidneys on eBay to pay for it all.

It could be worse, though. After I left VLD this morning, I drove past Immigration, and there were so many people lined out outside the door and down the sidewalk that it looked like a street party. I've heard that it takes anywhere from five to eight hours just to get up to the window and be told that you don't have the right paperwork with you. The most fortunate thing that happened to me last week was when I came through Immigration, I told them my permit had just gone through and could they stamp me while I was there? They did it! I would have gone batshit crazy if I had to stand in that line at immigration.

Wednesday, November 24, 2004 8:45:37 AM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) | Comments [0] | Cayman | Jeep | Rants#
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