Buenos días de Medellín!
Blogging has taken a bit of a back seat lately, but arriving in Medellín is a pretty good excuse! We’ve been a little preoccupied with getting our house in Panama rented, car sold, “stuff” packed, and pups ready for the big move. The short version is that all people, dogs, and “stuff” made it safe and sound Nov. 22, and we’re loving our new life so far.
If you’re just coming in on our saga, here’s our earlier post announcing our move.
The Long Version
Our journey began a day before our flight, when we left Boquete, Panama early in the morning to make the cross-country drive to Panama City. We enlisted ace driver/helper/all-around good guy Luis Arce and his van to ferry us, Rosie and Tango, their bulky kennels, and our 12 pieces of luggage (including carry-ons).
After almost eight hours driving almost the entire length of Panama, we fetched up in late afternoon at the Riande Aeropuerto, our go-to airport hotel in PC that is also pet-friendly. After a few short hours of R&R and sleep, we rousted ourselves out of bed at 2:30 the next morning to get to the Copa Airlines cargo office and drop off the “kiddos.”
Luis got us there and made the process super-smooth, although it took a full hour and a half to process the REAMS of paperwork and get the dogs and kennels checked in. And then came the sad and scary moment when we watched them wheel the two kennels back into the huge warehouse with all the other cargo. All we could do at that point was go catch our 7:30 flight to Medellín and hope that a) they’d get on our plane with us and b) they’d be safe.
Then a lovely thing happened: we got an upgrade to business class, which gave us a bird’s eye view to watch the cutely painted Copa “Mascotas” van drive up and unload the kennels onto the ramp into the plane. I could even see Rosie’s little face looking out of her crate! I’m sure the other passengers thought I was completely loco, because I was calling out to her and telling her everything would be OK, that we were right over their heads. Kudos to Copa for giving the pups such a sweet ride to the plane and waiting until the very last minute to put them into the scary cargo hold. Item a) done; item b) still to come
Carlos was a great help, but he doesn’t speak English and wasn’t too familiar with the locations of the THREE offices we had to find (yes, three – the shipping company, the agricultural ministry, and the customs office). That, coupled with a silly paperwork glitch that gave us a couple of anxious moments, made the process much longer than expected. We weren’t able to see the pups until almost three hours after we landed. But finally, there they were, safe and sound and so ready to get out of the crates! Bam – Item b) DONE!