Saturday, May 2, 2009

Day Nine?

I think this is day 9 without a car. Today Don wanted to go in to Coxen Hole early (8 a.m.) to catch the immigration agent at his office, so we walked down our hill and caught a taxi. It is the day after the holiday, lots of people in the Hole and lots of them were standing in line outside the banks waiting to go in.

The immigration office was still padlocked, and there were three other people already waiting outside. Turns out they were waiting for the harbor agent. They're all cruisers, not cruise ship people; they own boats which they have docked in French Harbor. They needed to get some kind of paperwork taken care of so they can leave in a couple of days. Really interesting talking to them. The couple owns a catamaran and has lived aboard for the past four years, sailing along the Pacific coast from California to Ecuador, through the Panama Canal and now along the Caribbean coast. The third person has lived on his boat for six years and says it can be both the best and the worst times of life.

Soon an official, who had been on the phone the entire time we were visiting with the cruisers, came over and told us that the immigration officer was already at the airport and the harbor agent would not be in today. Both would be available tomorrow afternoon between 2-3 p.m.

We decided to take a taxi over to the airport since it was not quite 9 a.m. and see if we could catch him before the planes began landing. We had to ask a security guard to go get him from his post inside the arrival area. Don gave him his prepared and rehearsed spiel and Ramon began asking us questions, some of which we understood and could answer and some we could not. We needed help, so we asked one of the other airport employees to interpret. Ramon wanted to know what we were doing here - did we work here, were we missionaries, had we applied for residency. He seemed to think we needed to fit into one of those categories. He asked for and looked at our passports, asked again if we were applying for residency, then told us that we would have to come in to his office in Coxen Hole on Monday anytime after 7 a.m. We were a little bit uneasy about his questioning and hesitation, but then I realized that we'll have to carry our renewal fee over to the bank and get the receipt to bring back to him and, of course, it makes sense to do all that on Monday. We will be one day over, so we hope he doesn't fine us. We also realized that it may be time to apply for residency ( not citizenship) so we don't have to hassle with this anymore. That only has to be renewed annually.

We were right across the street from the Kia dealership where our Rav4 is awaiting repair. We decided to go visit, see if Henry was in or if anyone was in the office who could explain what the status was on the car repairs. We were somewhat hopeful when we saw that our car had been moved. Struck out again. Some young guys who spoke no English, indicated that Henry might be in soon.

Our car...just sitting and waiting.

We went back over to the airport to wait. Probably not the best time to be hanging around airports due to swine flu. We did see about 5 airport employees wearing masks and maybe 4 or 5 passengers wearing them. No one seemed sick, but you never know. We chose to sit outside. I like people watching and it was nice to be out of the house for awhile. Some of the taxi/bus drivers were playing checkers over in the the shade while they waited for the planes to come in. We were reminded of the time we were on Cayos, and the men were playing 5 card stud, using shark vertebrae for poker chips.

After about an hour, we walked back over to the Kia dealership again to check on Henry. No one had come in, so we gave up and went back to the airport to wait for our friend, Kristin, who was being brought to the airport at 11 a.m. by another friend who was also going to drop off some of Kristin's belongings at our house, so we thought we could say goodbye to Kris and then catch a ride home. That worked well. Kris was delighted to see us one last time and Melissa was happy to give us a ride. She needed to stop at Warren's which gave us a chance to see if they had bread - yes!...and buns - yes! And the shrimp man was at his post and we were able to get a couple of pounds of big shrimp for $5/lb. We finally got home around 12:30!

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