Tuesday, 10 February 2015

The problems with my knee and shipping Blac.

I wrote this last week, but didn't publish it. We are in Belgium now.

It's been 2 weeks since I went to a Venezuelan hospital to get my knee looked at. They didn't do much, they took x-rays, poked it (it doesn't hurt to poke it), and injected me via infusion and sent me away with a diagnosis of arthritis and a prescription for painkillers. I tried to show them and explain the lack of movement in my knee, but they didn't seem to think it important.

I'm not good at needles. I told them this but they told me I'd be fine. When I started to lose consciousness I put my head down on a table beside me because I didn't want to smash my head on the tiles. My ease hadn't been assisted by the child that had been screaming in the same room for the 10 minutes prior (those who know me know I'm not good with kids). The whole getting-to-that-point had taken so long that I'd told Hendrik to go do errands an hour before and he returned to find me regaining consciousness.

Anyway, the painkillers didn't seem to help much. We finally found a shop selling knee braces and it and ice seemed to help a lot more. But, we decided that maybe, being that Venezuela was our last South American country, we should ship Blac out from Venezuela to Europe (instead of going back to North America).

So we headed to the port city of Puerto Cabello. We didn't have any success with shipping from there, nobody seemed to want to know about anything so out-of-the-ordinary as this motorhome. We were advised to drive to Cartagena, Colombia and ship from there.

I've heard that 1-2 foreign vehicles per day come through Cartagena. It's a logical choice for shipments from North America to South America and vice versa, and it's a major shipping point for worldwide movements. They have people here who deal a lot with motorhomes, and there's now a ferry from Cartagena to Panama (and back) (ignore anything you've heard that it isn't running and go to the office and ask for yourself if you want to know for sure).

For us, the shipping style referred to as 'RORO' is by far the most cost effective. Roro stands for Roll on Roll off - you hand over your keys and the vehicle is driven on and off. It's a bit risky for theft of small stuff, so you take anything valuable or that you can't live without. But, for the few thousands in price difference we can possibly afford to lose a couple of things. H believes that last time they took his binoculars and razors.

Unfortunately, there are no roro ships available this month (Feb 2014). Next we priced container shipping. On receipt of that price (over $2000 more expensive!) we decided to store Blac here in the parking area (he's allowed to stay 3 months in Colombia from date of entry, and the parking here is secure) and fly to Belgium.

I'm relieved! Finally I can can my knee examined in a place where I feel confident about, and then we can decided what to do with Blac and our future travels.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Ali
    we just returned from 2 weeks in Colombia - were in Bogota for Kim's (our oldest son) wedding. we went to Bogota, Santa Marta and Cartagena.