October 29th, 2006
There’s an old joke that goes something like this; “What do you call someone who speaks three languages? Answer - Trilingual. What do you call someone who speaks two languages? Answer - Bilingual. What do you call someone who speaks one language? Answer - American.”
I was reminded of this joke by a recent email conversation I had with Elisenda Bou from the Spanish Recens team. In her emails to me, she apologized for her “English”. I pointed out to her that “her English” was good enough to allow us to converse and was, in any event, much better than “my Spanish.”
As followers of this year’s Space Elevator games know, Recens supposedly had their Climber “lost” by UPS somewhere between the shipping point in Spain and the receiving point in Las Cruces, New Mexico (the particular story I heard was that it was “lost in Kentucky”). I had written earlier that I was very upset with UPS for losing this Climber - how badly does this reflect on American competence when one of our corporations does something like this? As with many stories like this, however, it is not always as it first appears. It seems the problems started in Europe when, upon the advice of their Cargo Agent, Recens declared the value of their shipment to be no more than $100.00 (to try and bypass any customs issues). The package was opened in Germany and was worth obviously more than that and this is where the trouble began. According to Elisenda, this is where their Climber is now. I wonder how the story of “lost in Kentucky” got started? Or, maybe it made it that far and then got shipped back to Germany? Anyway, as I have unwittingly passed along something (UPS lost the Climber in Kentucky) that now appears to be untrue, I wanted to post the facts as I now understand them.
In any event, Recens seems to have taken their setback very graciously and worked with USST and other teams (see Matt Abrams posting over at the Starclimber blog) in order to be a positive force at the just-concluded Space Elevator games. Elisenda did confirm that they temporarily purchased the USST climber so that they could share the resource they did have at the Games, their spotlights.
Elisenda also emailed me some pictures of their Climber, shown below. Recens prime sponsor was a museum in Spain and so their Climber, when it’s returned to them (not the USST Climber) is going to be shown at this museum, first at their Madrid location and then at their Barcelona location.
Click on the picture thumbnails to view a larger version.