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Monday, 24 September 2007

Ahmed Namazi & Me - Page 3

Written by Steve Bramucci
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Ahmed Namazi. That's the name that nearly ended my first trip to Israel before it could get off the ground.  Ahmed—“Excuse me sir, please come this way, yes right over here, and please take of your sandals…”—Namazi.


“How often do you surf?”

“Did you SCUBA dive in Indonesia?”

“Where did you stay in Dubai?”

Each question loaded like a coiled spring.

Then there was a conference in Hebrew to which I was not privy.  A ticket agent my age, who I had assumed would be the most favorable to my cause, began to shake her head in a way that made me start internally debating the most economical method of getting back to my apartment in Orange County from Los Angeles.

Finally, the security chief returned from the fray.  He smiled at me again and read the entirety of a travel article that I had written about Komodo Dragons.  And of course:

"What are your plans in Israel?"

"How long will you be there?"

“Where are you staying?”


But my new answers were consistent with the old ones, and eventually I was given my passport back.  But before I could ask about my flip-flops or my carry-on, the security chief put a sticker on the passport and circled the fourth bubble on a scale of five. Four out of five.  I assumed this was a bad thing and made a clever quip.  The security chief responded by telling me plainly that I was lucky: at least he hadn’t circled bubble 5.  That would’ve meant a cavity search. 

As it was, I was politely ushered to a small room.  There I was asked:

“What were you doing in Dubai?”

“Did you surf in Indonesia?”

"Why are you going to Israel?"


(Page 3 of 4)
Last modified on Sunday, 16 December 2012

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