Getting her on the flight was only complicated by the missing paperwork incident! Paperwork that SHOULD have been given to me on arrival at the port. Paperwork that was required to get Rhonda out of the country. It was an import form that was in addition to the import stamp on my carnet and clearly something I had no idea about until it was requested by the customs officer at the airport.
We had spent all day packing Rhonda, getting her to the airport, getting her passed by the Dangerous Goods Inspector and the Customs Inspector and just as I thought I could see the finishing line, I was stopped dead in my tracks. The final stamp of approval would not be given unless I had my import
I refused point blank! There was no way I was going to undo what we had just done! That was just one step too far for me! After much debate, I left the airport without Rhonda and armed with the customs officers mobile number. I was going to attempt to get it without showing them the bike again and get the port to call this number if they wanted proof it was there.
I was grateful to have one of Martins drivers with me. He made life a lot easier, helping with translation and actually getting me between the port and the airport. All of which would have been a royal pain in the neck otherwise.
The port customs eventually agreed to give me the paperwork but made me pay the customs fees again! I was not at all happy about this as it was their error in the first place. However, I was left with no choice and eventually paid the money. "Welcome to Dubai" I said and as I turned to walk out I pointed at the Customs and Values Mission Statement on the wall, which I had personally read 3 times whilst waiting for my paperwork. "Perhaps you should read that again!" I said defiantly. It was all I had!
Two hours later and we were walking out of the airport, paperwork sorted and Rhonda scheduled for the next available flight. Job done! This was my only minor headache in Dubai.
Now though, it is time to move on and although I am a little nervous of the change, as ever, I am excited to be getting back in the saddle and I am looking forward to the delights of India. Soon I will see for myself what the traffic is like, what the monsoon season is like and most of all what the people are like. I am ready to take the rough with the smooth and I'm sure there will be lots of both.
Dubai gave me the opportunity to prepare and I have invested in some body armour so I don't need to wear my jacket all the time. I now also have a camel pack so I can keep hydrated, and several new t shirts, thanks to the Bikers Cafe and Dubai Riders who were so welcoming during my stay here.
Dubai is definitely a one off kind of place and I look forward to returning to see my new friends again. Next time though, it will be during the winter when the weather is cooler and the riding is longer!
See you in India!