Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Loosing a suitcase but obtaining license plates

Ontario International Airport in California, USA, is a very pleasant port of departure in the Los Angeles area.
It is just off Highway 10.
To park the car nearby the airport costs only $ 7 for 24 hours.
Ontario International Airport is small scale, quiet, relaxed and modern.
Easy and convenient to check in and go through security.

A European build Airbus 320 plane from Ontario, California, to Denver, Colorado.
Used by United Air Lines.
A mere 2 hours flight.

Denver has a nice airport as well.
But many more people though arriving and departing compared to Ontario International Airport.
There is a food stand where they can make you a delicious vegetarian sandwich.
Six hours at Denver Airport before the connecting flight is leaving.
Reading “Dr. Goebbels, his life and death” by Roger Manvell and Heinrich Fraenkel.
Joseph Goebbels was the Minister for Propaganda and Public Enlightenment during the Third Reich in Germany.
A fascinating book.
To realize, reading this biography, how history repeats itself.
The events and politicians of our days mirroring the ones from the past.

For example, Dr. Joseph Goebbels saying:

“It is always necessary to be strict in principle but elastic in application.”

“To dominate Europe will be to assume the leadership of the world. In this connection we naturally cannot accept questions of right and wrong even as a basis of discussion.
The loss of this war would constitute the greatest wrong to the German people; victory would give us the greatest right. After all, it will be only the victor who can prove to the world the moral justification for this struggle.”

“Gentlemen”, said Goebbels, “in a hundred years’ time they will be showing a fine colour film describing the terrible days we are living through. Don’t you want to play a part in this film, to be brought back to life in a hundred years’ time? Everybody now has the chance to choose the part which he will play in the film a hundred years hence. I can assure you it will be a fine and elevating picture. And for the sake of this prospect it is worth standing fast. Hold out now, so that a hundred years hence the audience does not hoot and whistle when you appear on the screen.”

Flying from Denver to Rapid City in a Brazilian made Embraer 120.
A turboprop plane: an aircraft with two propellers making sounds how flying always has been.
Arrived in Rapid City, no suitcase.
To the hotel in cold South Dakota without a coat.
Without the warm woollen sweater, clean clothes, tooth brush, shaving utensils.

The purpose of this trip is to register with the Rapid City DMV (Department of Motor Vehicles) the new Fuso Santek.
Fortunately all the necessary documents for the registration are in the hand luggage.
The MacBook Pro as well.

The next morning the suitcase has not been delivered by United Air Lines to the hotel.
Americinn Hotel kindly supplies a toothbrush and a shaving knife.
Friend Harland Beach of Americas-Mailbox makes a warm coat available.
United Air Lines says they don’t know where is the suitcase.

Why go all the way to South Dakota to register a vehicle?
In all States of the United States it is required to be an official resident in order to register a vehicle.
A person needs a Social Security number and proof of Residence-ship.
This means that a person from abroad can buy a car but not register and use the vehicle.
There are three exceptions in the United States: South Dakota, Texas and Florida.

First to an office where Rapid City citizens get their driving licenses and ID’s.
It is only possible to register a vehicle with the DMV when having a South Dakota ID.
This can be obtained for the duration of the tourist visa of the European visitor.
A form needs to be filled out.
The civil servant studies it carefully and next the passport from the Royal Kingdom of the Netherlands.
He sees a visa permitting to be in the USA for 3 months.
But then he sees a page in the passport on which a visa for the Islamic Republic of Iran.
He gets suspicious.
Looks at it for a long time.
Studies it while in his mind probably a thousand thoughts.
Finally he says: “I don’t understand, this is a passport from the Netherlands but also of Iran”.
He confuses the Iranian visa for being the passport.
He doesn’t believe the explanation.
“I can’t read those Iranian letters !”
If he would look carefully he would see that the Iranian document is on a page called “Visa” and that in between the Iranian letters, in English it says for how long entry was allowed to the Islamic Republic.
Civil servant goes with the passport to a colleague.
She also doesn’t know what to do.
Next, the supervisor is made involved.
Supervisor studies this interesting case and decides it is OK.
But photocopies need to be made of the Iranian visa to be kept on file.
Half an hour later the ID is obtained costing $ 7.

Phone call to United Air Lines.
Did you find the suitcase?
No, we have no clue where it is.

To the Town Hall of Rapid City where the DMV is having its office.
A fantastic building.
Security is serious when entering.
Bags through scanning machines and persons through scanning ports.

There are only women working at Rapid City’s DMV.
Very friendly and helpful women.
On the counter next to them is a sign warning that any person harassing the employees, insulting them or showing up in front of them intoxicated, will be escorted out of the building.

Having the proper documents, the registration is quickly made.
Within half an hour the sales tax on the Fuso Santek is paid, the documents ready and the plates presented.
Very efficient and pleasant.
Bravo Karla !

The new South Dakotaian license plates have a slogan printed on it.
It says: “Great Faces. Great Places”.
This refers to the background image of the South Dakota license plate.
Showing an image of Mount Rushmore: the National Monument where the faces of 4 American Presidents, Washington, Jefferson, T. Roosevelt, and Lincoln have been carved in the rocks.
Also well known from Alfred Hitchcock’s 1959 film “North by Northwest” with Cary Grant and Eva Marie Saint.

Another phone call to United Air Lines.
They say, we don’t understand it ourselves. Your suitcase has vanished. What was in it?

It is decided, not having clean clothes and the registration of the Fuso Santek successfully completed, to return to Riverside, California immediately and not the next day.

United Air Lines, employee Adam at the airport of Rapid City, changes the booking and understands why: no suitcase.
But charges $ 100 to change the travel plan anyway.

Safely returned at Santek Trailers in Riverside, California with two shiny license plates to be put on the Fuso Santek now reaching completion.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

You must be pretty excited. Can't wait to see more pictures.