One Wild Journey, One Crazy Couple, One Life to Live
After months of waiting, negotiating, calling, chasing, and pulling our hair out, we finally have them. Those two magic words that are essential to all else that needs to follow: License Plates.
We are over the moon! Of course, the price was high and the wait was long, but we are drivin’ on! The shiny new license plates even look legitimate. We hurriedly hop on the bike and make our way to RMA. We arrive, all smiles, and show our new shiny plates to Valon. He is impressed, I can tell. He does stop what he is doing to take us over to our car. With great hoopla and fanfare we take out a screwdriver and remove the old plates. I decide that I would like to keep one of the plates for posterity, and choose to keep the back plate, which is somewhat more legible than the front. We lovingly place the new license plates on their new home and take a million photos.
Chuffed, we go to the ‘motor room’ to take a look at the motor, which is now on a table, rather than in the car. Valon gingerly presents us with the bad news. The motor, along the way, has been stripped, adulterated, battered, and abused. Holes have been bored where no holes should be, crankshafts have been skimmed, and parts are oversized. I knew parts of the body were falling apart, but we did not expect the motor to be in such a bad condition. Valon tells us he will write up a list of the essentials and we can decide what we want to do.
Somewhat deflated we decide it is best to wait and see what the list looks like; no point in ruining the good vibes we have from the license plate progress. On our way out, I am informed that I cannot keep the license plate or the new ones will be revoked. I am sure that is not actually the case as every second car has only one plate in Kabul (or none, as is often the case). Begrudgingly, however, I agree to return the old plate to the Ministry. We have enough to contend with and I know when to pick my battles.
On the way home I ask my husband if the car is registered in my name or his so one of us can start work on the road pass.
It turns out, foreigners are not permitted to register a car in Afghanistan, and so the registration does not bear my, or my husband’s name; but rather, the previous owner’s.
Interesting. I wonder what problems that will pose at every border-crossing…. one step forward, two steps back!