04 April 2009 | Boqueron, PR
Another adventure in bureaucracy has intruded upon an otherwise serene and idyllic existence. Called customs at 0900. Being too busy, they requested a call back at 1300. At that time (despite my expending some effort obtaining necessary documentation to become a "trusted boater" and avoid pointless trip to customs when re-entering US territory) a woman in Mayaguez insisted on my presence, a 30 minute drive north. Very nice agent in San Juan (24 hour check-in) found my information in the computer, insisted that everything had been done correctly and that I should not have to go. Unfortunately, during business hours closest port of entry has precedence. He called back after speaking with his supervisor to reiterate. Being more amused and bemused than irritated by arbitrary decision making and peremptory agent (who had possibly just been dumped by someone who sounds like me), I remained resolutely calm and polite during our four conversations. Example: Me: "I understand that you have the authority to-". Her: "Well apparently you don't, because you keep questioning me". Me: "No, I do understand that you have the authority to harass people, but that doesn't mean you should." She did become more equanimous after I courteously requested communication with her supervisor. Unfortunately, he was in a meeting for at least another hour, but when he came out she would be sure to have him call and, by the way (as it was now about 1430), if I was unable to get there before closing, she would not be responsible for the BIG trouble I would be in. Of course, she offered, it was up to me to decide what to do. I graciously thanked her for her sympathetic advice.
Friends and acquaintances in Boqueron apprised me of the fact that, in my absence, three large government boats as big as Anthem were doing donuts around her (presumably to flush me from hiding) and at one point put out fenders, preparing to board. They did not. Perhaps someone noticed the dinghy missing. Probably just a coincidence.
On most levels this was really huge fun. Remained in incredulous good humor for the duration. The $15 and two hours expended were worth avoiding Mayaguez harbor, meeting driver Raul Santiago ("Rolling Thunder" on the VHF) and couple from Short Sail similarly summoned, getting a tour of the country and, most agreeably, tweaking the lion's whiskers. Returned in time to enjoy status as outlaw with buddies over drinks and dinner.
Faux pas from April 3: Crossers, not crossees.