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30 MAY - Cape Town, South Africa

Date received: Wed May 30 2001, 10:06 AM PDT

I'm still here. I finally got a hold of FedEx to inquire about my camera which I had shipped here, and they told me that I need to pay both import duty and VAT (Value Added Tax) in order to get my camera into the country. The total is more than R1000 (US$125!) So, I have to file for a temporary importation permit, so that I can get refunded the money when I leave the country (which I plan on doing as soon as I get the camera.) The best case right now is that the camera shows up on Friday. Once I leave the country, I have to show the camera to the border customs so that they can confirm that it left the country. I then have to mail in a form to get my refund. A paperwork nightmare. I guess it will only get worse when I start dealing with a motorbike.

In the meantime, I've been trying to catch up on some writing. The weather has been alternating between nice and horrible; today was nice, which means tomorrow will probably be bad.

A couple of days ago, I rented a motorcycle and did a tour of the area near Cape Town. It was nice, but my friend who I went with didn't have a very good day; his camera fell of the back and got caught in the rear wheel, and it sprayed lens parts over about a 50m stretch of road!


Copyright 2000 Peter Birch All Rights Reserved.