Sunday, January 08, 2006

Airport Security

Chatting up travelers, while maybe new in the US is standard procedure in Israel. For example, at Ben Gurion airport by the time you are at the point of walking through a metal detector and having your carry-on scanned, you've already been stopped three times. The first time in your car when you are driving in you are stopped by soldiers and said hello to. If you happen to be American with white skin and an American accent, your "shalom" gets you waived on. Presumably, different skin color or different accent would get a different response. Then at the door to the terminal building you are stopped again and said hello to and asked if you are travelling alone or...You then put all your checked bags through a bomb scanner and while waiting in line you chat with security personnel about what you were doing in Israel, where you were staying, who you were staying with and, in some cases, where and when you learned Hebrew. The extended conversation also happened in Zurich checking in for the El Al flight to Tel Aviv and, more suprisingly, in Brussels boarding an American Airlines flight to New York.

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