So here I am.
So far the move has been tiring but relatively pain free.
We ended up having 260 boxes of stuff – 1,200 cubic feet – 200 cubic feet too much to fit into a 20 foot container. If I had another couple of weeks, I’m sure I could have gotten it down to 1,000, but in the weeks leading up to the move I was busier at work than expected. I’ve heard some horror stories from other friends who made the move recently – some reporting goods stolen or broken, others saying the ship made it from Hong Kong to Manila in 2 weeks but then the goods took 5 weeks to clear the port.
At least everything went smoothly with our dog. We spent our last night in a hotel, so the dog export company boarded him that one night. We used a company based in Sai Kung called Export-a-Pet – I had used them back in 2001 when I brought my other dog over to Hong Kong from San Francisco.
We met Bogey at the airport at 6 AM and he was obviously not happy to have spent a night without us and to be stuck in that crate. He was checked through as “excess baggage”. Cathay has a special section in their cargo hold that is pressurized and climate controlled, and he was the last piece of “luggage” loaded onto the plane. I could watch from the terminal as his crate went up that little conveyor belt into the cargo hold.
Arriving in Manila, basically I was counting every second until he was back with us. Fortunately I didn’t have to wait long. And customs clearance for him was a matter of minutes since Export-a-Pet had arranged everything in advance. The plant/animal quarantine lady looked at the papers, stamped them, charged us 350 pesos, and we were done.
So actually collecting our 4 bags from the conveyor belt, getting our dog and getting him cleared – from the time we got off the plane until we were outside the terminal loading stuff into the van we’d already booked took 45 minutes at most.
Last night we went to a nearby supermarket to stock up our kitchen. I found Hebrew National hot dogs! But the big surprise was that when the guy boxed up all our groceries and we told him we were going to get a taxi, he asked where we were staying and said he could deliver it for us. “How much is the delivery charge?” “No charge.” “When can you do it?” “Right now.” He even said he’d bring over the bags of stuff we’d just bought in the department store (other household items we needed right away). (Of course we tipped him.) Need I mention that the supermarket was about 3 times the size of a Hong Kong supermarket and had much greater variety of stuff on the shelves?