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Monday, July 11, 2005 

Licence Plates & Textbooks

While travelling to Xylocastro this weekend, I noticed that all the new cars were missing licence plates on the road. I guess it's official then. Greece really HAS run out of licence plates. I remember reading the article a couple of months ago that the Ministry of Transportation had problems regarding the tender for a supplier of EU compatible licence plates. I thought it was an odd story then and foolishly thought they'd have found a some sort of feasible solution for the problem by now. Their idea of "feasible" and my idea of "feasible" seem to be light years apart. I would have thought even using the old licence plate format until a new supplier could be found would have been a practical solution. Apparently, the Ministry of Transportation disagrees and decided that laser-printing new licence plate numbers on paper and then affixing it to the rear windshield of a car with cellotape seems more appropriate. With such preposterous examples of government ineptitude, I keep wondering how the State manages to extract such exorbitant taxes from its population.

If this were an isolated example, I'd find it laughable pecularity rather than the norm it seems to be. Greece also seems to be having problems printing school textbooks. Because of a another 'snafu' in the tender process, thousands of Greek school children will show up school without textbooks because the government can't seem to acquire the 15,000 tons of paper necessary to print the books. They might be able to get their hands on 3,000 tons of paper to print the most necessary books but no word yet as to whether or not they've even managed to do so let alone print them. Considering the solution found for the licence plate problem, I wouldn't be at all surprised if my son started 6th grade with just the photocopies of the covers of the books he's supposed to have and a note from the teacher encouraging students to imagine what the content of the books would be.

Ah, so that´s why so many cars have no licence plates! I just used to assume they had no plate for the same reason I don´t... the police have taken it! :-)

PS: Greetings from España

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