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Melissa & Dave - Adventures at Sea

Mexican Bureaucracy needs some PM help

We woke early with the plan that we would drop off the laundry and then head to immigration.  Kinston and Melissa dropped off the laundry after being charged $1 each for the privilege of walking off the dock nearest to the laundry.  We were sure this was a scam as they wouldn't give us a receipt, but it wasn't worth arguing over as we were in a hurry.  We stopped at Starbucks for coffee and then walked down to immigration.  We arrived promptly at 9am to find there were already 30 people in line.  Fortunately they had set up a priority line for the Baja Haha’ers so we were in and out in about 40 minutes.  Though it was a zoo even still.  One of the cruisers "lost" their passport while at the counter and they got into an argument with the immigration agent about whether he had given them back their passports or not.  After much pointing of fingers going back and forth, the cruisers eventually discovered the missing passports had been put back in their pants pocket.  Ooops.

Then onto the port captain’s office to check in to the port.  Having observed the operation the day before, Kingston and Melissa realized that they were accustomed to processing one or maybe two people at the same time.  Today the lobby was packed with boaters – completely overwhelming the place.  And of course, the operation wasn’t particularly efficient.  You signed your name onto a waiting list (which most people didn't realize was the process and would hence stand in what they thought was a line for quite some time before realizing that they had to sign in), and then when your name was called, they would give you a form to fill out.  Since the form was in Spanish, it would take 15 minutes of questions with the port captain service agent to figure out how to fill it out.  Then another 10 minutes to process it.  Since there were only two windows open, and there were at peak about 8 boats trying to checkin, the wait was crazy long.  So Melissa poked Kingston and he asked if we couldn’t get some blank forms to pass out to the waiting boaters.  At first, the port captain workers were very suspicious of what Kingston was up to - despite his perfect Spanish.  They wanted to count the number of forms people needed (like we wanted to steal them?) and looked very uncomfortable.  But once Kingston passed them out, and then started explaining to everyone in the waiting area how to fill them out, the workers quickly caught on.  And suddenly there were forms for everyone in the waiting area.  Kingston then told the Baja Haha’ers that they now had a duty to start helping the people who came in the door after them same as he had helped them, so that the learning’s were passed along the way to the next boaters.  So by the time we left the paperwork was taking 10 minutes per boat at the window instead of almost 30 and things were flying right along.  When it came our turn, the folks behind the window were all buddy buddy with Kingston and there were handshakes and smiles all around.  And sure enough the boaters we left behind were assisting the boaters who came through the door with instructions on how to do the paperwork.  Doubtless things will return to normal processing procedures tomorrow.

We then hired a taxi to take us around to various places - Costco and Wal-Mart in particular to do the boat provisioning, pick up a new 1 Terabyte drive (as Melissa's went kaput on the 2nd leg of the trip from San Diego), pick up some locks and chains for the kayaks (you gotta lock up EVERYTHING here that stays on deck).  The driver was very nice and would drive us all around helping us find whatever supplies we needed.  He even followed us into the stores and carried our purchases back to the taxi.  When we loaded up the dingy with the supplies we found we couldn't all fit.  So Alex stayed behind.  The wind had kicked up, so we got completely soaked on the way back to the boat.  Good thing the boat paperwork, passports, cell phones, and new disk drive were all packed in a dry bag!

This afternoon was a Baja HaHa beach party.  We decided on a water taxi on the way to the beach to attempt to stay somewhat drier.  But because the water taxi's have an awning, and our deck is so high, getting from the deck into the water taxi without being beheaded by the awning was a challenge as the water taxi was pitching about in the waves.  But we made it safe and sound.  We elected to sit with Jerry & Carol and chat and have a nice lunch while watching all the craziness on the beach with the “party” crowd.

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