The Getting of Clancy

Okay, so … we finally got Clancy late on Tuesday afternoon, after a couple of days of hanging around a lot and waiting for things to happen. It was my birthday on Monday and after an early-morning call to let us know that Customs were inspecting the container, we drove to Bidvest SACD where it was being stored. By the time we got there, Customs had left, having apparently opened the container, glanced inside and then closed and sealed it again. We stayed close to Bidvest for the rest of the morning, but by early afternoon we realised that it wasn’t going to be happening that day, so we booked another Airbnb, extended the rental car for about the 4th time and got on with our day. We had a lovely dinner at Moyo, an African restaurant at Bloubergstrand, which is on the coast north of the city with a perfect view of Table Mountain, Robben Island, kite-surfers, windsurfers and the setting sun.

A large birthday Gin and Tonic at Moyo – note from Judy: tonic water has quinine in it, which is an antimalarial, so this was purely for medicinal purposes!
Sunset from Moyo, with Kite surfers and Robben Island in the background.

Next morning we were up and out the door by 8am to drive back to Bidvest because we really, really thought we’d be able to get Clancy on Tuesday. It ended up being another day of a lot of waiting around, punctuated by a visit to a colleague of our shipping agent to hand over a very large pile of ZAR South African rand to pay for the SA portion of the shipping cars to Africa exercise. The colleague, Daya, asked why we were paying cash and not doing bank transfers, and we told him that we had been advised that we could only pay cash, so that’s what we had prepared for. Right. So …. payment made …. now let’s get our cars!

Hmm, not so fast. More waiting, more paperwork, a courier had to bring our carnets, which is sort of like a passport for a car and which is a requirement for any vehicle shipped here. By this time it was around 3pm and apparently whoever does the container stuff finishes work at 4 and so it was looking like we weren’t going to get our cars that day, unless we paid AUD$150 in ‘overtime charges’. We didn’t have to think to long about that one – it would have cost the 4 of us at least $100 in accomodation, plus extending 2 rental cars for another day, so we agreed to pay the charge.

And then when we were waiting for more paperwork so we could get our cars, the power went out because of loadshedding. Argh! More waiting, more muttering under our breaths. As Anna commented, it’s like every single person we have dealt with during this whole process has never ever imported a vehicle in a container before. Anyway, eventually we got to our container, and the company agreed to waive the overtime charge. We were all so happy to finally be reunited with our cars.Both vehicles and their contents were in exactly the condition they were in when they went into the container, apart from Willie suffering a broken battery terminal  which Henry and Greg fixed with brown paper and string   …… not quite, but a bush mechanic would have been proud of them.

We had been very careful packing Clancy, following a comment from our friend Liam who had spent time working as a Customs officer in Sydney. He told us about a vehicle he’d inspected that had got wrecked inside because of a loose box of cutlery  which just smashed everything it came in contact with during the sea voyage.  We made a rule that whatever we packed had to either be full or empty, no half-full boxes or storage spaces, and no ‘wriggle room’ between anything. We used cheap yoga mats, bubble wrap and bed linen as padding where we needed to. That worked well, nothing moved and we kept everything intact.

First stop was the servo 500m down the road (thankfully both cars had enough fuel to make it there), then we all drove in separate cars to the airport to return the rental cars, and then on to African Overlanders which offers a campground / vehicle storage / maintenance / mechanic / shipping agent that was highly recommended by other Overlanders. We unpacked just enough to get to our tent, mattresses and a quilt & took ages putting up the tent because it’s been a long while and we forget how to put it up in between camping trips. We sat and had a drink and a chat with the other people staying here and crawled into bed without worrying about finding pillows or bedlinen.

So  now the African adventure can begin!

Opening the container, and it was all OK
Reversing out – Greg had to crawl between the tyres to get to the driver’s side door so he could open the bonnet and reconnect the battery

all out
Healthy Fruit- Cherries wrapped in bacon!

One of those days

We all have them. Those days where, if it’s going to go wrong, it does. We had that kind of day yesterday. Nothing major or life-threatening, just a day of annoyances and irritations.

We had to check out of our lovely Airbnb place and when I was thanking and saying goodbye to our host, she commented that I looked so calm and relaxed about still not having Clancy. I replied that we had been deported from Russia, so this current situation is just inconvenient, not stressful. It’s all about perspective.

We were hopeful that we would be able to get Clancy yesterday though, and decided to go and hang out near the freight forwarder’s, in case we got the call to go there. We are the only ones with keys to the car, so when the shipping container is opened, we really have to be present. We decided to revisit The Old Biscuit Mill in trendy Woodstock, have something to eat at one of the eating places there, have a wander around and wait. When we were here 3.5 years ago, we had lunch at The Test Kitchen which is located in the Old Biscuit Mill. It doesn’t open for lunch now and we just wanted something simple so we went and had burgers at Redemption Burgers. What really caught our eye about this place was their clever menus. The burgers were delicious too.

Redemption Burger menu
A Redemption Burger
Table Mountain looms over everything in central Cape Town.

We had a walk up and down Woodstock’s main drag, Albert Road. Lots of places to eat, antique and retro shops, clothing stores and other signs of gentrification from light industrial to inner-city trendy suburb. We found a shady spot inside the Biscuit Mill complex and sat and waited for news from the freight forwarder, but by 3.30 we decided that it probably wouldn’t be happening until next week, so we extended the rental car hire again and booked another Airbnb place, only a couple of kms from the previous one.

Our potential Airbnb host had been pretty good about replying to messages, but somehow once we’d booked and paid to stay for 3 nights, everything went quiet. We got to the address and rang the doorbell as instructed … nothing. It was just on 5pm and we thought maybe he wasn’t home from work yet, so we waited. Sent a couple more messages, rang the bell a few more times, sent some SMS messages. Still nothing. This place is fairly typical of suburban homes here – very high fence, built like Fort Knox, impossible to get into.  This one doesn’t have razor wire or electric fencing, but a lot do.

So while we waited, we went off to the local shopping centre to find something to cook for dinner and as he was walking back to the car, Greg noticed that one of the hubcaps was missing. Sigh. We remembered hearing a noise as we were driving on the motorway to the Airbnb, and we now realise it was the sound of the hubcap rolling away. We drove back to where we thought we might have lost it, but couldn’t find it. So, back to the Airbnb, back to no answer when we rang the doorbell. We were starting to think that maybe we’d lost our money and our bed for the night, then decided to phone the number rather than just send text messages. Answered on the first ring and things went smoothly from there. No idea why he didn’t reply to any of the other messages we’d sent, but by that time we didn’t feel like pursuing the topic, we just just glad to get inside and get settled. It’s a nice place and we’re happy to spend a few days here.

And now, today has been fine. Lovely weather, Greg took our laundry to a laundry service nearby so we now have clean and beautifully folded clothes, and we went to a different Food Lover’s store where I found packets of dried tortellini and ravioli which is a staple part of our camping pantry and which had eluded me up until now.  Food Lovers has excellent produce & meat, and offers a good range of groceries, all at lower prices than the other supermarket chains here – Spar, Pick & Pay, Checkers. We’ll probably go back to that one and stock up before we head off in Clancy.

I hope your weekend is going well too.



Still in Cape Town, still waiting for Clancy

Things are progressing, but very slowly. The container ship docked on Tuesday and ‘our’ container was unloaded, then yesterday it was taken by truck to a freight forwarders depot.

Now we’re waiting for an appointment with Sth African customs to come and inspect the contents of the container, ie Clancy and Willie. Then, hopefully,  we can hand over the remainder of the freight / customs / fees payment and drive Clancy away.

We are staying at the Airbnb until tomorrow, but then they have new guests booked in, so we hope to stay at African Overlanders which offers vehicle storage, a campground and other services not far away from where we are now. It offers some cabin accommodation and camping.

So, we’re feeling frustrated and powerless at the moment, but very grateful that we have comfortable accommodation. And the weather is beautiful!