Thursday, January 5, 2012

This is Why

This is why not everyone lives on a Caribbean island. It's expensive!  It's that time of year again when we order our year's supply of cat food. I'd love to get kitty litter too, but you'll see why we don't.

First we pay for the goods in the States. That'll be $183.86. Thanks to Christmas,  I got free shipping from Petsmart's warehouse to Miami - yippee. I got word about 2 weeks later that the package was here, but so were the holidays - it would have to wait. We went to pick it up yesterday. Three hours later...

First we had to go to Tropical to pay up and sign some paperwork. There goes another $51.45 (+ $30 in insurance I didn't want). We were told if we didn't get to the custom's warehouse to pickup the food in the next day or so, we'd start getting charged warehouse fees. Alrighty then. Before we left, they asked us if we wanted them to complete an Entry form. Sure. Then they told me that would be another $15 - which they waved to make up for the unwanted insurance. Finally, we were off to the custom's office. I don't know how Michael found this place the 1st time.

A half hour later, they decided they didn't have the package yet and sent us to the Port Authority. Back in the car we go.

We weave in and out of cranes and end up next to this week's Tropical ship. Again, I have no idea how Michael found this the first time.

Yep, they have it. We pay $6.20EC (about $2.30US) for...something. Here's a piece of paper that we can take back to Customs for some stamps. Back in car; return to customs. Go into one door - stamp; go out and around to another door - stamp; back to original door - stamp and pay $95.89EC ($35.50US). We now have our receipts and get to drive back to the Port Authority. Watch those lifts!

We pull up to the warehouse and Michael disappears for 10 minutes.

Out he comes carrying the boxes himself. Jeez, I'm glad I didn't attempt to do this myself via taxi (local people do not offer to help you carry things; they don't hold doors open for each other either).

So all in all, we paid $288.11 for 9 bags of cat food; about $32/ea. Ouch! You cats better appreciate this stuff!

Seriously though. Three hours to pick up a shipment. We've had packages sent to us while in the Bahamas, Turks & Caicos, St. Martin, and Grenada and never had to go through such a convoluted system. If you can afford a broker to pick this stuff up for you, go for it.  I will say that I do recommend Tropical, and all the officials involved were very nice, but it reminds us how difficult it is to do certain things here. After three years on island, I have to admit we are starting to miss...stuff. Or just having access to stuff. The quality of life is good here overall and we still love the weather and views, but the island is beginning to feel a bit small. We're not done here yet, but are learning more about ourselves and likes/dislikes. Does any one place have it all? Not sure, but we're always up for a travel adventure to find out!