#5 - Goodbye Max
Sally deFina - 14 January 2002
(Buenos Aires, ARGENTINA) - "Oh no!",
I exclaimed as I read an email from Jeff on the 27th of December,
"The truck rolled!". With my hand over my mouth
in horror, I opened up the photos that Jeff had thoughtfully
attached to his email showing Max, our truck, upside-down and
then right-side-up with its roof caved in. The email went
on to explain how nobody was hurt, and that the junglerunner
trip would still go on, no matter what. "He is in
shock," I whispered to my boyfriend, Mike, who was reading
the email over my shoulder. "How can we continue the trip
I was in Perth, Australia meeting Mike's
parents for the first time when the bad news arrived.
I had decided to spend Christmas and New Years in Australia
instead of travelling through Brazil and Argentina with the
team. I was to meet up with the team in Santiago, Chile on the
7th of January. Jeff's email threw me into confusion.
What was I to do? How could I help? Where was I
trying frantically for days to reach the team, I finally got
a hold of them in Buenos Aires where they had taken the truck.
After our conversation, I decided to hop on a plane to Buenos
Aires to help him in any way possible with my passable Spanish.
I arrived in B.A. on Jan. 7 and got un update on the situation
from Jeff. Basically, Max was stuck in B.A. waiting for
our insurance company to come through. While we waited,
we decided to take a side trip to Uruguay.
When we returned from Uruguay, we heard
from our insurance that they had decided to consider Max totalled,
and to give us the full value of insurance coverage. This
was partially good news. We could ship Max to Africa, to the
shop that we trusted, rather than be forced to have Max undergo
repairs in Argentina. However, we had to pay the costs
for, and organize, the shipping ourselves, and we would be without
Max for approximately two months. After considering all options,
we chose Africa.
Our next task was to get Max on a container
ship. Foreseeing such a possibility, Jeff had already
found a shipping company, Maersk, that was heading for Walvis
Bay, Namibia the following week. Once we sat down and
organized the transport, we were told all the procedures we
would have to go through to get Max cleared out of customs.
We found out we could save about $250 by handling the customs
clearance procedures by ourselves. This is where my rudimentary
Spanish came in.
set off for EMBA (what this stands for I still don't know),
and tried to find out what paperwork was necessary. "¿Donde
está el passaporte del dueño del vehículo?", the customs
agent asked. "Es equí", I said, handing him
Jeff's passport. "No, el passaporte correcto".
"What does he mean?" we asked each other. After a
while, we finally grasped the problem. Jeff has a obtained
a new passport in Buenos Aires because his old passport didn't
have any pages left. The entry and exit stamps in the
car's passport (the carnet de passage) did not match Jeff's
new passport. "Ah, mañana, mañana", I said.
We were forced to return the following morning with Jeff's old
passport in tow. After much back and forth in Spanish,
and a couple of hours later, we were presented with a carefully
compiled folder that we were to present to customs on the shipment
The next day we set out to prepare Max for
the journey - emptying out water from the two blown tires that
were in the back seat, putting camping equipment into cubbies
to hide them from view (for customs), taking out food that was
still remaining in the back, and tying down doors. That
evening I arranged for a tow truck to arrive the following morning
to take Max from the Land Rover dealership to the port - for
free. Thanks to the Canadian Automobile Association which had
a reciprocal agreement with the Argentinean Automobile Association,
and to Jeff who had managed to pay up on his CAA membership
following morning, we managed to drive Max out of the dealership
to the tow truck. What a trooper Max was. We were amazed that
after all Max had been through, he still managed to start.
With Max loaded onto the tow truck, and all four of us piled
into the tow truck's front seat, we made our way to the port.
It took all morning, but we managed to clear customs thanks
to a worker at the port who took pity on the poor gringos and
who led us by the hand to all the relevant authorities. Max
coughed to life one final time, and Gulin drove him into the
container. A burly looking man showed up and strapped Max down
in the container, and the doors were bolted closed (Jeff added
his flimsy luggage lock to the container for added protection).
And Max was off to Africa to become a new man. Good-bye