September 09, 2014
... to catch the BajaFerry to Mazatlan. Actually, the ferry terminal is located about 20 km outside of La Paz, called Pichilingue. A 2.5 hour ride from CSL.
Upon arrival at the terminal, I have to complete some formalities:
1) Entering the parking lot and park my bike. I walk over to the "Banjercito" window. This is the place where you receive your "Permiso De Importacion Termporal De Vehiculos", or "Temporary Vehicle Import Permit". This permit is mandatory for all vehicles, transiting through Mexico, exept Baja and Sonora. A "Bail" amount of $300 is being posted for my bike (amount varies with type and size of vehicle). Upon exiting Mexico with that same vehicle, that amount will be refunded at the border. This is to prevent the sale of the vehicle in Mexico. There is also a US$ 59.16 fee, of course, which goes to Banjercito. That process is surprisingly painless and the young lady at the window very pleasant. I fill out a feedback form and complement her on her friendly attitude.
2) Returning to my bike. I have to talk to, yet, another friendly lady from Immigration. She is in uniform and just ask me a few formal questions. I push the button. Red or green, that is the question. I push, viola, green. Unfortunately, she declins a request for a photo. Too bad. I like women in uniform ;-)
3) Rolling my bike straight onto a long vehicle scale. Meant for semis, it's totally oversized for my bike. It feels small on this big think. Pay US $12, roll off. That's it. "What's the weight?" I ask the scale dude. Surprisingly, my bike with everything on it, including me, weighs only 416 kg/ That's it??
4) Walking over to the BajaFerry terminal building , seperate from the Banjercito building. The building houses a ticket window, customs area and several food vendors upstairs . I approach the ticket window. Girl at the window speaks now English. She points to what looks like an inspection sheet. Nope, don't have that. I need to get that before she can issue me a ferry ticket. Ok, no problem. No idea, where, but I'll get that for you. After walking around aimlessly for a while, I finally find a guy who looks over my bike and gives me that so important piece of paper.
5) Sweat running down my back and face, I return to the ticket office. Different girl this time, English speaking. She has her hair up in a bun and a bit of an attitude. Plus wears too much make-up. Anyways, she finally issues me a ferry ticket. 2 Meals included. Seat, not cabin, for myself and Big Bertha 2006 pesos. Cabin with for 4 bunks is 800 pesos more. No gracias!
Home free! Got all the formalities out of the way...time to eat. Omlette, toast and coffee in the cafeteria upstairs...not too bad. Or maybe, I was just too damn hungry. 2 more hours to kill. Ferry leaves at 17.00, line up starts at 15.00.
I roll up to the BajaFerry shortly before 3pm. In front of me, waiting in line, is a dude from Brazil. He came down from LA to surf the famous Baja wave. He is in a Plymouth minivan, all his belongings and 5 surfboards inside. His name is Caio. We hit it off, and chat about his travels and my route through Brazil and Uruguay. He is chasing the surf, I am chasing the sun. Cool!
Suddently, it's time to board the ship. I ride my bike up the ramp into the belly of the ferry, right next to heavy semis and traktor/trailers. One of the "deck hands" directs me to a spot between a big rig and a cargo truck. I back in Big Bertha, take some of my belongs and cover the bike. Perfect spot!
Then I head upstairs to the passenger compartment on several metal staircases, until I reach the "reception" area. An usher shows me to me seat No. 73. Right next to my new buddy, Caio. Turns out, not all seats are taken. Nice, I can "spread out". Hehe, what does that remind me off...?
I switch out of my riding gear, slip in to something more comfortable and break open an ice cold Modelo ...ready for my 17 hours overnight journey to Mazatlan....sit back, relax, enjoy. I'll do just that.