The Melbourne winter weather is a lot like German autum … grey, rainy and a bit depressing. We wanted to at least get out a little bit before the rain settles in fully, so we explored St. Kilda a little bit.
I like the very particular mix of this neighborhood: The weathered glory from a 100 years ago, forgotten for a while and now half way through gentrification, with hipsters, hookers and the homeless side by side. We got best feel of the new and coming on the main streets, Acland and Fitzroy St. and the flair of a bygone era down at the waterfront, completed by the the 1911 Lunar Park and the kiosk on the pier.
So we had breakfast at a cake shop in Acland St., a stroll around the suburb and were back at headquarters in time for lunch.
The afternoon was fully dedicated to paperwork for me. Find out what to do, where to go and what to bring. Temporary self managed importation seems to be something no one really knows how to deal with, but I got an address and a promise of help. Brief spoiler: I ended up needing only half the documents I was told to bring, but better than the other way around.
The customs house is out back at the airport, about 1 hr from headquarter with the expensive express buss and 1.5 with normal lines. But first I had to stop in town to find a place to print the bill of landing send to me earlier that day. I lost about 45 minutes until I found out that “copy shops” are professional printers for businesses and what I needed was an internet cafe. That at least gave me a reason to take the express bus.
The customs proceeding were then relatively painless, except for a small hickup where the local shipping handler did not post the data correctly in the electronic systems (2 calls and a 10 minute wait to fix). It should speak for itself how uncommon a private foreigner is in the customs halls that they even forgot to charge me for any of it. I got my stamp in the carnet, I won’t complain.
All that is missing now for the bike to be released to me is the biosecurity inspection. I am not worried about the success, but I want to make sure this happens as soon as possible. Just to give you a small idea of the complexities involved (and this is just a western port): I payed MCL to put the bike in a box and Mondiale to ship it, who payed AGS World transport to deal with the destination side who pay Patrick for the physical handling of the crate who I now have to broker with for a Ministry of Agriculture inspector to come in at the right place and time to check the bike … and all I have done so far is pay everyone.
I made it back (yes, express bus again) just in time with Tim, who has finished pretty much the same trip as we are planning last year. It is always good to meet fellow travelers.