“Who Dunnit”?

Tulip herself arrived unscathed.  I had a scare in the port office when she couldn’t be found at first.  There are cameras in the office that can search all the lots but Tulip was in a spot where the cameras couldn’t reach.  However, some low-life scumbag thieves got inside and stole many things.  The Oxygenics showerhead and even the wall attachment, most of Steve’s clothes, bicycle rack, step ladder, battery tester,  voltage meter, picnic table, chairs, Corelle set of dishes,  soup spoons but not the unmatched 9th spoon or teaspoons and knives that were all part of the set,  the salad forks, about 1/4 of the pantry contents, blanket,  pillows, all the clothes hangers, the one good expensive kitchen knife we had,  and more.   I had left just one white embroidered sweater hanging in the closet that at the last minute decided not to take in my bag.  That was gone.
I believe we can exclude the Jacksonville port because what is curious is there are many 110 volt appliances in the RV and not a single one was taken.
And would thieves living on a ship need a  bicycle rack that can only be attached to a ladder, a GPS holder,  or a  Corning Ware baking dishing?  Whoever it was took everything out of the pantry and chose exactly what they wanted.  All the tea, cereal, oatmeal, nuts, salmon, but not the liquor for Margaritas.  Plus, all the cabinets were unlatched.  Our kitchen and bathroom cabinet tend to open when driving and spill all the contents on the floor.  So I don’t think the cabinets were unlatched while at sea.
As of last night I decided it was someone at the port.  But, there seemed to be a feminine touch to some of the items missing.  A pink soap dish instead of the yellow one, the red blanket instead of a new cream down comforter, and a garlic mincer and my garlic.  What dock worker steals a garlic mincer and takes instant diet raspberry tea?  Maybe there are some female dock workers that I didn’t see.
But there is one more suspect.  Parked next to us was an old US school bus sloppily painted grey and black.  The type of foods taken point to someone that is health conscious.  And the big clue:  Steve’s leather sandals that he has been wearing since I met him 17 years ago were taken.  Only an ex-hippy or a present day wannabe hippy would want them. 
Whoever it was methodically went through the RV and cherry picked exactly what they wanted or needed. 
And how did they get in when we had the front partitioned off from the back?  The Jacksonville port official refused to hold the coach keys in the event customs needed to get inside.  But he said if we didn’t leave keys in the cab and customs did need to look inside, they would break the door.  So I had to make a snap decision and tell him where the keys would be and they were found.  When we got to Tulip, the coach keys were sitting on the passenger seat.
And one of the many other awful things about yesterday was the taxi ended up being 70 EU ($105). 
We stayed last night and (and will again tonight) in a small RV parking area on a canal so that I can try and recuperate from a respiratory ailment that is one to remember.  Good thing the thieves didn’t take our supply of tissues because I’ve gone through a whole box all ready.  Those creeps also took a huge 8 roll package of Bounty paper towels. 

Scrambling Today

Since we are driving to Miami in the morning, today was the day to wash clothes, pack, and clean house.  Two days ago I  emailed our contact at the port in Belgium and had not received an answer.  So first thing this morning I emailed a shipping agent whose name I had from another traveler and asked about taking delivery of Tulip Monday, April 18th and what paperwork did we need, and could we show up at the port in the morning.  I got an immediate response that first, several questions had to be answered and documents provided.  They wanted the proof of European vehicle insurance which we have and also a copy of the Bill of Sale.   Plus the title, our passport copies, and the Bill of Lading.  The last three were no problem as I have them on our PC so I emailed them right away.  Not providing these answers and paperwork in advance would prohibit us from taking delivery of Tulip for an additional 48 hours.  
Then I spent all morning trying and failing to connect to the wireless printer that’s in the house so that I could scan the insurance paperwork.   Finally, I just made copies and will mail that paperwork to Belgium tomorrow.
Bill of Sale:  I haven’t seen that paperwork in years as it’s not something we have needed other than initially registering the motor home.  So I emailed the Lichtsinn RV dealership in Forest City, IA on the off chance they might be able to retrieve a copy.  It’s been over five years since we purchased the RV.  Within minutes I received an email back from them that they had it and where should they immediately send it.  Now that is service!!   


Tulip Sailing Tonight

Seabridge shipping agent Michael sent us confirmation that Tulip was loaded last night and departs tonight.  The scheduled departure was delayed by two days but that should not affect the delivery since we arrive in Belgium a few days later anyway.  Sure glad we are past this hurdle. 
2.23.11 RV Friends 028
Other travelers to Europe have experienced their RV’s departure being delayed for as much as two weeks due to one reason or another.  As far as I know, K-lines has a pretty good track record for shipping motor homes as originally scheduled.  When we dropped Tulip off in Jacksonville, I asked a K-lines employee how often vehicles are bumped and he said practically never.  If it does happen, it’s usually large construction or farm equipment that breaks down.


All went well this morning dropping off Tulip at the Jacksonville port.  The entire process took about an hour.  We actually were a day earlier than required but wanted to give ourselves leeway in case we had to have the propane tank purged, as is the case at some other ports. We left it pretty close to empty anyway.  There were other motor homes sitting in the lot that Tulip was parked in.  One big Class A was going to Nigeria and another to Zeebrugge.  We were required to use an escort ($35 for one hour) but this was actually a blessing.  The young lady who took me around while Steve waited near the gate with the rental car, was very helpful and told me a lot about the port and various lines that ship out of there.  She even climbed up on the overhead bed to close an upper window that someone left open.  The ladder couldn’t be used because of the partition so it’s a good thing she was an  athletic young lady. 
Three different security personnel checked the coach part of Tulip.  One man told his partner to look under the bed to see if anyone was there.  (A year ago we removed the couch and built a box with platform to have a real mattress).  The top was fastened down and so I had visions of them wanting me to take the screws out to see inside.  But they seemed pleased that it was closed so that no one could get underneath.  I said I thought the worry was people being smuggled INTO the country but they said it works the other way too sometimes.
I wanted to take a goodbye picture of Tulip but no picture taking is allowed at the port.