Considering the very low number of European gliders (only four), we agreed to send only one container using that of the Germans, whose coordinator was Diether Memmert. At the beginning, I underestimated the cost of two out and return trips from southern Alps to Osnabrück (near Hamburg) with trailer, i.e. 5000 km and eight travelling days.
Diether’s clearance procedure appeared to be less efficient than mine and it was necessary to dispense €3000 in tips at all levels of the bureaucracy just to be able to leave the port within a reasonable time, days rather than weeks! The return was no less delirious: at the end of two weeks of endless discussions between our agent and the customs, while Diether had already returned to Germany, the “narcos” required us, without any possibility of negotiation, to fully empty the container setting all pieces on the ground, in the port.
A total catastrophe. Diether and I had to return to Buenos Aires, hire some dockers and organize the removal of four fuselages, fourteen wings and about fifty bags and cases, to be laid on melting asphalt under the sun of a torrid summer, slaloming with our wings between mad trucks as we did our best to urgently leave this hell, and praying God that the containers that passed continuously over our heads remained firmly hung.
A Kafkaesque delirium that cost us more than another €4000, just for allowing an unhappy dog to put her nose on absolutely all the pieces. And to reach the peak of absurdity, they required us to check the container through the scanner after the control by the dogs. The decision is taken: never this any more! We are therefore working in search of alternative solutions, while hoping that the World Gliding Championship in Argentina next January can bring some improvement to the customs situation.
Internet Web Sites :
- Special site prepared by a club pilot, containing all the useful links:
- Animation covering 12 days of the eruption from 4th to 16th June 2011
- Animation of the eruption from 13th June 2011
- Animation of the eruption from 6th January 2012 (HD)