Tearful Goodbyes 8-14/11/10

Posted: November 14, 2010 in 7.UAE

She’s gone and I miss her so. Yes she made me cross, infuriated me at times, but deep down I loved her in my own special way. Maybe I didn’t show her how much I cared, maybe I should have had more patience with her, maybe I shouldn’t have stared at hot Asian models right in front of her, but it’s too late now, I only hope that she will forgive me the next time we meet. There’s a hole in my heart where she used to be and now I’m only left with boring old Megan, as the one true love of my live, my car (Harriet as she has come to be known) was put in a large metal box yesterday and is currently sitting in Jebel Ali free trade zone waiting to be shipped to Malaysia. She did put up a fight; at one stage she refused to go any further and wanted to go home but after a little wining and dining (posh new oil and three sparkling filters) she finally came round to my way of thinking. The trick is to make them feel like it’s their idea….

So the Land Rover has a name, in fact it had one from the start and certain members of Megan’s family think that the trouble we have had with her is down to the fact that we have not called her by her name. I just can’t bring myself to do it though, we really don’t want to be ‘those people’, but to be fair we did use it once or twice when she was on fire (usually with the pre-fix ‘bloody’ and slightly more risque terms) and now she is all better. Make of it what you will.

Let’s sum up last week’s trails with her; as you know if you were paying attention she caught fire twice and went through 4 different handbrake cables, but after Mark (the wonder) electrician came to the garage and waved his magic multi meter all is well with the world. I really can’t thank him and the chaps (Jason and Gareth) at A2B garage (www.a2b-garage.com) enough. The car was with them for well over a week and the time they spent on it was substantial. However they only charged me for the parts they used, around £70, which is quite frankly one of the nicest things that has happened to us on this trip. We also nearly got our car in the new Mission Impossible film and we both got very excited about meeting Tom Cruise (well Megan was). You will be glad to know that I played it all very cool and in no way went home to change and ‘do’ my hair. Unfortunately they wanted a white one, boo.

With the car fixed we finally went to explore what the UAE had to offer outside Dubai city limits. We drove to the East coast to a place called Dibba and camped on the beach for about an hour until quad bikes and 4x4s drove us to a hotel instead. It would seem that the evenings on the beach are given over to Arabs and their toys. It was unfortunate but the hotel had a private beach and views of Snoopy Island (yes it really is called Snoopy Island, I’m not making it up) and from the photo perhaps you can see why.

The next day we hopped back in the car, and once we’d got over the novelty of no fires starting when we started the engine we headed over the mountains to Al Ain, a small city on the border with Oman and home to another of Megan’s mum’s friends, Michele and another couple of nights free accommodation! Al Ain is a very interesting place with a massive Oasis, a mountain and a Camel Market. Our host also took us to watch the camels being trained for the races in the middle of the desert. It was quite a surreal sight watching all the camels being ridden around a race track whilst the owners drove next to them in the Land Cruisers shouting instructions to the jockeys. I studied the form so if anyone is interested in a hot tip for the next 2:15 race at Al Ain go for Humphrey running in the outside lane, but only if the going is good to firm.

On our return to Dubai we went to the mall to get some cake for tea and returning to the car found a magazine and business card from Daniel at www.outdooruae.com asking us to get in contact as he loved the car. It turns out after checking the website out that he wants an article for the magazine, so I’m hopefully going to be a published author! Considering I only got a D in English at school and am 93% dyslexic when it comes to splxleling it’s quite an achievement!  You should probably put your orders in now as it will no doubt be flying off the shelves once it hits the news stands.

Then yesterday we had our tearful good byes with the car. Once again we did battle with customs and after they finally gave in and stamped our carnet we loaded the car into a container. Shipping a car has to be the most drawn out, stressful, expensive and mildly annoying thing in the whole world. Seeing as I work (used to work) on ships I thought I had an idea of how the shipping world worked, but it’s a maze of trumped up charges, hours in custom offices and rubber stamps. I have below listed Simon’s 10 steps to shipping to help others out;

  1. Spend 2 weeks trying to find an agent who understand the Carnet Du Passages system.
  2. Ask for a price.
  3. Spend another week finding another agent who will quote a more realistic price.
  4. Look for a ship that sails where you want to go and not via Panama to get to Malaysia.
  5. Ask the agent why the price has gone up since last week.
  6. Ask the agent why we have to pay for transportation if we are driving the car to the port ourselves.
  7. Ask the agent why the price has gone up since the morning.
  8. Sit in customs for at least 3 hours for one stamp.
  9. Go back to customs,      as they forgot to stamp the Carnet.
  10. Ask the agent why the final price is more than the original twice amended quote!

A $1000 nightmare.

We fly out on Tuesday to Kuala Lumpur and the car will hopefully arrive about 10 days later. Whilst we are waiting the plan is to find a beach somewhere and stay put, preparing ourselves to find an agent to clear the car and repeat the entire 10 steps again.

One final thought, I have put up the blog stats on the front page now and as you can see over 16,000 people have visited the site. That’s mind blowing, especially since we only started it to keep the folks informed as to our location and mental state. Thanks for the support people………. Now how can I make money out of this?!?

  1. Mark says:

    Hi great to here that all is now going ok with the electrics and i hope that it continues to be so.

    By the way the electricians name was Mark (me) not Dave.

    All the best


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