Car from Cypress

We're getting a lot of things done and soon we'll be all settled here. Shira takes care of 90% of everything but I actually do a few things (as long as Shira gives me step by step instructions). So today was something that was my job ... going to Haifa to get our new car at the port. Shira will have to blog about some of her other experiences but I'll write about my own.

First a little background: in Israel taxes on cars are really, really high. Tourists, though can buy/bring cars from chu"l and avoid the taxes. We thought about shipping our car from the States but were persuaded not to do that. If you buy a used car from an Israeli or a new car in Israel then you have to pay the taxes. You can either buy a used car from another tourist or buy a car from outside the country. There is a guy here, Ari P., who specializes in selling cars from Cypress to tourists. Someone gave us his name and he had a van that had been owned by Shira's friend's cousin for the last year. So Ari just had to send this car back to Cypress and then ship it back into this country and we'd buy it from him. He had sold the van to this other guy last year and was buying it back from him. So he bought it a week or two ago and sent out of the country and he had it shipped back in to this country today for us to get at the port.

Ari arranged for a lady who specializes in bringing cars in from Cypress to take me to the port to get the car. She was a very nice frum lady from Bayit Vagan (was born in Denmark about 60 years ago but has lived in israel for a long time). We met in Tel Aviv at the train station and we took a train together. She was saying tehillim half the time and the rest of the time was saying "b'ezrat Hashem it will all go smoothly .. sometimes it goes quickly and sometimes it takes a long time ... we just have to remain calm and have lots of patience." She seemed like a very patient, calm lady so I assumed she was saying it for my sake. I think though that she was really saying it for her own sake. I had no reason to get upset because I was just following her around and she was doing the talking.

We took a 9:40 train from Tel Aviv and were in Haifa by 11. The first step was to go to the shipping company. We had to pay them money and they had to give us a form that we were allowed to get the car. That was pretty simple and then we walked across the street to customs. I don't really understand what happened but she had called from the train to ask someone (I think from the shipping company) to send clearance ahead to let us into the port. Apparently, they're very strict about who gets into the port and you need clearance. The guy (she said he was an Arab) refused and said he wouldn't do it until we got there. We waited for an hour for the clearance and we didn't get inside customs until around 12:15. There was one person in front of us in line - a Belgian UN guy. My escort told me that she had been there the previous week and it was the same guy working behind the desk and he was awful. I couldn't tell for sure if he was bad but he was having lots of computer problems and it took a long time. He almost messed mine up also. First he was only going to give me the rights to the car for three months (and then I'd have to renew it) and I had to argue with him to get it for six months. Then he forgot to sign something and it took him a long time. Then we went to another customs office (one of these wasn't actually a customs office but I'm not sure what it was so I'm just calling them both customs offices) and they had to finish off some paperwork. The problem was that the people at the port were leaving at 2 and we had to get there to get the keys. My escort was getting very anxious and every step took a long time. We had to pay 187 shekel and they had no change so we had to scrounge up all our change and we managed to get it together. Finally we had it and then they just had to print the form. They finished just before 2.

My escort had called the people at the port and they said they'd wait for us until 2:20. We ran to a taxi and we got in the taxi and she told him where we had to go but she said that last time the taxi driver went the wrong way so this guy had to call the guy waiting at the port. The Arab taxi driver got lost and she was yelling at him but finally he got us there at 2:20. We showed our paperwork that we had waited so long to get so we could go in and then we went to the office and they gave us the key to the car. That was the fastest. Then we had to leave the port with the car and that took a while. The lady kept insisting that we were missing paperwork. She chose the wrong time to start up with my escort. My escort yelled at her and finally she let us through.

We had a nice quiet, uneventful drive back home and I was home around 5. My escort was a very interesting lady and maybe I'll share some stories about her another time but for now I'm just happy to have my car.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Very interesting story.

Thanks for the write-up.