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Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Musings – On Shipping S&P and The Noses Home

If I have blogged this once, I have blogged it a million times:  Experiences get so much easier the second time around.   Below is a table of decision points and or actions we had to take in order to transport Salt & Pepper and The Noses to Europe and back:  (For more details on the US to UK portion, please see the US2UK label in the "Postings by Labels" section of the blog.)

To Europe Decision
From Europe Decision
With whom do we ship Salt & Pepper?
SP spent weeks corresponding with multiple shipping agents and analyzing their answers to 10 standard questions before deciding on Hill Shipping from the UK.
One email to Hill Shipping asking for our European port options.
What can travel inside Salt & Pepper?
This was one of SP’s 10 standard questions and the answers were all over the map from “what would normally be in a camper” to “nothing that isn’t screwed in.”  We left nothing in either vehicle; spending over a thousand dollars on extra baggage charges (ten large, check bags) and storage upon our arrival in London Heathrow.
Everything remained inside except for clothes and toiletries.
Dropping Salt & Pepper at the docks for shipment.
We arrived at the appointed time in Galveston, Texas and were escorted to the parking spot.  We spent about 30 minutes with S&P taking our last looks before the agent drove us, and our aching hearts, off the dock.
We arrived, unannounced, a day ahead of (our own) schedule in Zeebrugge, Belgium.  The clerk at the desk allowed us to drive onto the dock and leave S&P despite not having all the required paperwork with us (it was still pending from Hill Shipping.)  We walked off the dock about five minutes later.  Only looking back once.

The Noses
My posting for exporting The Noses from the US can be found here.  A quick refresher:  Four visits to two different vets, one visit to the APHIS office in Austin, Texas = many, many days, and lots and lots of money spent on the endeavor.  Top it off with a bill for over $1,700 PER NOSE to fly them on British Airways.
One visit to a vet located two blocks from the Paris flat.  $150 per Nose to fly them on our Air France flight home.

It seems everything is easier:  Part of it is just doing business in Europe where there is not such a strict set of rules governing everything (or people just feel more free to work around them to serve a higher purpose); prior experience, as mentioned above, helps in every situation; and, I am hoping, a new attitude on our part has taken hold.  Life is too short to sweat the small stuff—or even the big stuff over which you have no control.