Post 139: Seattle, USA (Still)
The vessel, 'HJ London' transporting the Triumph from South Korea arrived in Seattle on time, Friday 15th August 2008. Today, Monday 18th August the bikes should be ready for collection. I check the website of Mercer Logistics who are handling the container and find that I need to acquire a Customs Release Form, .... and then the Tiger will once again be mine. I make calls on my new cell phone, 'our menu has changed, please listen carefully, .... for X press 1, for Y press 2'. I know the drill by now, ... nothing quite matches my requirements, I hold for the overly polite but non the less incomprehensible operator, ... 'your call is important to us, please continue to hold'. Eventually I receive an answer that I can understand. I must come to the Customs House with three documents and my cheque book. They can not tell me the 'Cost' because that apparently depends upon the quality of my paperwork, .... but sadly they fail to inform me that the Customs House address on the Internet is incorrect.
I head into town and I'm immediately struck by the efficiency of Seattle's bus service. $1:50 for the ride into central Seattle, ... it takes 35 minutes. As the bus approaches the centre of town, it enters a tunnel and rides beneath the city, .. no congestion, no rain, .... one day all bus services will operate this way. When I'd first arrived here, it had been cloudless skies and 95 degrees of burning heat, ... one day onwards and its below 60 degrees and pouring with rain. Apparently such contrasts are common in Seattle, ... it will remain this way for three more days and then sunshine and clear skies for the weekend. I hope that by the weekend I'll be down in California, ...... but I'm dealing with Government Agencies, .... my future is not my own until they verify that fact in triplicate.
I visit the wrong Customs House in downtown Seattle but they do give me the correct address, ... I put it down to experience, ... I should have checked the details before setting out this morning. Whilst in town I decide to take a walk around Seattle, I see a Suzuki V-Strom with aluminium panniers and wearing the stickers of many adventures, it's parked a little way up a side street. it's rider struggling into waterproof clothing as the heavens open and the rain begins to pour again. I chat with the rider, Burke Kron, a local Seattle biker who seems to have a second career helping fellow two wheeled travellers. We talk for several minutes as the rain falls and by the time Burke rides on his way, several things have happened. Firstly, I've been introduced to the people at Tacoma Triumph, a Triumph dealership just south of Seattle and once Poor Circulation is mobile again, I promise to call in for tea. Secondly, like Roman and Slava in Volgograd, Burke and his friends love boats and sailing, .... I'm invited to join them on the water later in the week, .... it's turning into a fruitful day after all.
As I return to the suburbs and attempt to dry out, I power up my ailing laptop and check my emails, .... I have several new messages. Mr Hussein Ibrahim and Lady Rosemary Squires both want to temporarily use my UK bank account in order to deposit multi-million dollar charitable donations, both the Halifax Building Society and Nat West Bank are asking me to confirm my personal details and several messages are offering me various solutions for 'erecti1e dy5function' (sic). At the bottom of my inbox is a message from Colleen, ... 'DantesDame'. I open the message and see that Colleen is a local biker from Seattle, she has travelled extensively in the USA and Canada, ... she is a friend of Burke and like him, ... is offering assistance. Travelling around the world on a motorcycle is easy, ....... your invisible support team is huge.
Tomorrow I will take my documents to the correct Customs House, obtain my Customs Clearance Forms and hopefully, ..... collect my Tiger from the bonded storage depot in Fife, ... just south of Seattle. This is after all America, .... what could possibly go wrong?