Space Tourism, Science Fiction, and the World Cup
From: baker@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx <baker@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
To: sf-discuss@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx <sf-discuss@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Friday, July 03, 1998 10:40 AM
Subject: Re: Space Tourism in Science Fiction
>I will raise a bottle of French red wine for Space Future Web...
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Amanda et al:
Speaking of French wine, good luck with the World Cup final match between
France and Brazil.
Last week I had a busy travel schedule in Brazil which took me from Sao
Paulo to Iguassu Falls to Rio de Janeiro and back to Sao Paulo. My flight
went from Sao Paulo to Ciudad del Este, Paraguay, where the taxi driver
drove me across the bridge (i.e., border) to the Bourbon Iguassu Falls Hotel
and Tower on the Brazilian side. Although I have a valid passport and
Brazilian visa, there was no visible immigration check at the bridge
(border). I then flew to Rio from the Iguassu Falls (Brazilian) airport.
When it came time to leave Brazil from Sao Paulo after a stop in Rio, the
immigration authorities demanded the landing pass -- a little slip of paper
that I had given up when I flew to Ciudad del Este, Paraguay, but not
replaced when the taxi driver drove me over the bridge back into Brazil.
This incident resulted in a fine of more than US $5,000 and a switch of my
allegiance in the World Cup final from favoring Brazil to favoring France.
In fact, I told Officer Cerqueira that, as a result of his unreasonable
attitude, a dark cloud would descend over the Brazilian team in Paris on
Sunday evening, frustrating many Brazilian attempts to score, and resulting
in Brazil's loss to France.
Once this happens, I would like everyone on Earth and throughout the Galaxy
to know how Officer Cerqueira's refusal to consider the circumstances of a
missing piece of paper was indicative of the bad attitude that cost Brazil
the 1998 World Cup victory.
Brazil is one of my favorite places to visit. My wife lived there for three
years as a kid (7th, 8th, and 9th grades), has many fond memories, and
retains some competence in their language. Nevertheless, the amount of this
fine is excessive for the circumstances and should be viewed as a major
public relations blunder on the evening of July 9th by Officer Cerqueira at
the Varicopas International Airport near Campinas, outside of Sao Paulo,
When a different kind of error was made in 1984, and I ended up with my son
in Moscow without a visa for him (even though he was listed on my visa
application as traveling with me), the Russian officer in charge of
immigration at the airport made a decision in less than a minute and simply
stated "We hope that your son enjoys his visit to our country." There was
no million ruble fine. No hand held out for a bribe.
Just gracious civility. What a concept!
One wonders how we could live on a planet where at the end of the 20th
century the country that has held the World Cup since 1994 could employ
someone who more closely resembles a common thief than a dutiful bureaucrat.
Please feel free to post this message on the World Cup web site and
throughout France as my anticipatory congratulations to the French team for
a job well done.
As the only public supporter of England and France during the Concorde
landing rights controversy in New York during late 1977, it gives me great
pleasure to cheer for a French victory even though I cheered for Brazil's
victory over Holland, which I enjoyed watching in the lobby bar at the
Bourbon Iguassu Falls Hotel and Tower in Brazil. For reference, see an
article entitled "AIAA Lone Voice for the Concorde" in the November 1997
issue of Astronautics & Aeronautics -- now published as Aerospace America.
This article documents how my testimony was the only supportive testimony in
contrast to more than forty individuals and elected officials who opposed
landing rights for the Concorde in New York. Judge Milton Pollack ruling
favored my logic and allowed test flights for the Concorde at JFK
International Airport, which led to regularly scheduled flights because the
Concorde compared favorably with even the Boeing 747. The rest is history
for a great airplane with no fatal accidents in the more than twenty years
since its introduction.
Vive la France, vive the X Prize, and vive high speed, high altitude flight.
Earth Space Transport Systems Corporation
P.S. I visited Paris several times earlier this year studying the
possibilities and operational requirements for landing at CDG during my X
Prize qualification flights which will use a Boeing 747 freighter aircraft
to launch a reusable X Prize capable vehicle. While in Paris, I was able to
pay a visit to ESA and then take my younger daughter to dinner at the Eiffel
Tower. I told her that we were in training for winning the X Prize. We had
a great time, although I don't think that she took me seriously at age 13.
On the other hand, Lindbergh was not taken seriously until he won either.