Saturday, May 7, 2011

The Customs Saga

When we landed at Schiphol, we hauled all our luggage to customs and after they were put through the scanners, naturally the officials eyebrows hit the roof.
Some serious jewellery there.
But Anne had done her work well and we had all the clearances necessary right?
Wrong. As with any fracking bureaucrat, there is always another paper that you need.
In this case, if the jewellery is over a certain amount, it has to be cleared by the customs house out of Schiphol.
So we had to put it into a safety deposit locker, ( which we pay for), and then schlep to this other building outside of Schiphol.
Luckily, Steve and Lisette were meeting us , and they knew where the building is. They were a godsend.
Lisette had already rented a car for us so we parked their car in the customs parking lot and used the rented car.
We submit all Anne's carefully prepared papers.
She had been working on this thing for MONTHS.....
After two hours of back and forth at the customs building, nope, says the Antillean cow behind the counter. ( can you ever get away from them? )
Turns out we need a different certificate of origin. ( to prove the jewellery was made in St Maarten). Form A, that is.
And where do we get this form A?
At the clearing agent.
And where is a clearing agent ?
At this address.
We go there, no clearing agent, they have moved premises.
Eventually we get to the new address and no, they are to busy.
But there is another guy who can do it.
He come down to the foyer, takes out papers shuffles then goes oh,oh, buggers off upstairs and comes down half an hour later and says that the CoF is not acceptable and we have to pay 2800 euro tax.
A little officious prick, if there ever was one.
And I am paying him to do this stuff.
Tax on my own jewellery . Ha!
We need form A, stamped by the St Maarten chamber of commerce.
Right, and where do we get a copy of this form?
At the Dutch chamber of commerce.
They closed until Monday.

Okaaay, so our jewellery must lie in a half baked locker box, all ten years of work, until Monday.
Fuck them.
So we schlep back to the customs building and beg the official to please release our jewellery.

He is a normal dutch person, and he takes pity on us and signs a form that releases the jewellery.
We go to schiphol and fetch the jewellery from a very suspicious airport official.
We still have to pay the money in a week, however.
All this took to about 3 pm, from six that morning.
Another boulder is that St Maarten wanted their own payment receipt when the Certificate of Origin was processed.
What are the chances of traveling with such an insignificant piece of paper?
Anyway, Anne had it.
This is a summarized version of the saga and suffice to say we eventually got the form, got it stamped in St Maarten, ( with great difficulty and help from our good friend Marlene in St Maarten) and sent it to the little boulder rolling prick.
And that is the last I have heard so far.

Anne filling out form No. 2,700,000.

Having a 'Paling broodtje' with Steve and Lisette, at a delightful roadside eatery run by lovely lil' old Dutch lady, while waiting for the clearing agent.

Then we went to the bank, which Lisette had also organized ( the bank account, that is ) and put our jewellery in the safety deposit box, which she had also organized. Bless her.
Then to the hotel where we fell into a night of jet lag.
We had been an the go for more that 36 hours non stop.
Next, buying the car...............
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