Across Continents

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Other side of the tracks

I’d scrambled up the steep embankment, over the rail tracks. Sliding down the other side, struggling to stay on my feet. Past the fish processors sat on plastic drums, enjoying a short break outside. Barely a glance from them. Stand knee deep in fish guts I suppose and a lost Englishman shuffling past barely warrants a raised eyebrow. But if they’d not really noticed me, I really wasn’t that bothered. I’d DHL’s Anchorage air freight centre in my sights. About to be reunited with my trusty steed.

Conclusion of the on-move from Australia within my grasp. Retrieving Emma the last piece of the jigsaw. A handful of paperwork to present to the shippers. Inside, a small line of people waiting to retrieve their goods. That could wait, for I’d spotted the complimentary coffee. Chance for another caffeine fix as I struggled with lack of sleep. Not that I’d be able to even if I’d tried. Cursed with insomnia.

Host Linda had dropped me a little earlier back at the airport’s North Terminal. Deserted. Much of it being renovated. I’d drifted around for quite a while until I eventually found Customs. I was sure I’d smiled a lot. My recollections a bit hazy. The officer at the counter very methodical. Kept thinking, as best I could, temporary importation. No duty to pay. He made several phone calls. What, I wondered, was the issue? I’d explained I’d been careful to thoroughly clean my bicycle. Definitely no soil on it.

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The difficulty was, as far as I could make out, how he should classify the bicycle. I really didn’t care, provided he’d release the bicycle. A few of his colleagues packed up and left. I began to wonder if I might be obliged to return the next day. No more calls. Instead asking another officer if he’d a particular form. I didn’t catch the details, but it sounded encouraging. Rummaging in a drawer. He then returned to the desk. A few scribbles, boxes to tick, my signature. And then the release stamp I sought to retrieve my steed from the shippers.

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