On The Hunt
04 December 2017 | Guatemala City
Susan / mostly sunny, 80 degrees F
We arrive Guatemala City mid-day. After deplaning, clearing Migration & Customs and checking into the hotel, we activate our in-person hunt for our hostage wet bar fridge. We want “proof of life” before leaving the city for the Rio Dulce.
We have documentation of numerous phone calls and emails on the situation, and today’s follow up “we’re in Guatemala City right now!” pestering and persistence pays off in rolling bits of additional information. Bottom line, our fridge (along with the other confiscated items from this Transcargo shipment) is held at a DHL Global Storage facility. Apparently SAT (Guate Customs) doesn’t have their own storage facility. This turns out to be a very good thing. We eventually find our way there via taxi. Jerry talks at length with the guards behind a well-fortified gate before the person we want to see comes outside to us. More conversation ensues. Jerry shows him proof of our ownership and the correct shipping / tracking information. He agrees to take Jerry personally to the area, and allows the taxi with me inside the secure parking area to wait.
Must have been 45 minutes before they’re back. The fridge is indeed there in it’s original shipping box, stored on the 3rd level of one of the hundreds of 3-story storage platforms. It took a bit of extra time to get our pictures because the aisle in front of it was filled with other goods, which needed to be cleared away to allow the pallet mover with a person cage to be driven in. When in place, the DHL man is hoisted, and he takes the requested photos. Along the way, he gives Jerry additional information like the name & phone number of the SAT person in charge of Transcargo shipments. We were planning to visit the main SAT office as our next stop however we were discouraged from making an in person visit. Better to phone. So that’s what Jerry does while in the taxi. He’s told it could be 15 days, perhaps a month before any of the confiscated items from that shipment is released. Jerry repeats our assertion that our fridge should not have been confiscated; it is a pair, listed on the same invoice as the freezer that has been delivered. More talking. In the end, Jerry will just call him every few days to pester him; you know, squeaky wheel. We’ll go back to the city to pick it up ourselves from the storage facility if necessary!
So the good news is it has not been stolen by officials, at least not yet. The not so good news, we still are in waiting mode.
In related news, we are still waiting for our lithium batteries, as well. That entire Transcargo shipment was opened by SAT box by box, and compared to the paperwork. Now the Transcargo insurance people will not pay the taxes to have it released until they take a photo of the contents of each box and compare it with the paperwork to insure nothing is missing. Perhaps later this week the shipment will be released… perhaps next week….