Sunday, 25 April 2010

DEAD LIKE ME - Welcome to Israel

"Dead Like Me", like the little girl protagonist of the homonymous TV series. The irony of dying hit by a toilet seat falling from outerspace due to the explosion of a Russian spacecraft is just the beginning of a new life of adventures and misadventures for Georgie. 

I have not yet been affected by spacely WC's but instead I have been suspected for 6 long hours of wanting to blow up the El Al flight from Rome to Tel Aviv on April 23, 2010. Dead like me, or like all passengers travelling to Israel, according to the twisted minds of the guards at Fiumicino Airport.
For once in my life I arrived at the airport very early. I was ready in line for checking-in three hours prior to my flight as insistingly suggested by my travel agent. "Flights to Israel require more controls therefore more time" she said. 

Fifth in the queue at super armed Terminal 5 I am happily thinking about the Vanity Fair already awaiting to be purchased once passed the metal detectors. 

But my check-in/interrogation becomes very long. After having repeatedly answered the same questions ten times I am asked to sit on a red chair while all the other passengers smoothly go by. Three different men come back to me with the same questions: Why are you going to Israel, who touched your suitcase, what do you do for a living, is there a website of the company you work for, why are you not working at the moment?? Can one be unemployed without being suspected of terroristic plans!!?!?!

After two long hours I am told the guards have decided to search my luggage (only once in Israel I will find out that creams and antihistamines are gone) and myself. As I  am taken to a private room I notice the police officer is wearing latex gloves. I point out my concern about the search. I am promptly reassured it won't be internal.
An Israeli man tells me they have checked-in for me and that my computer will be shipped (nooooooooooooooo !!!!!) in a red box separately from me and my suitcase.

I pass all controls and tests and am entrusted to a young native of Haifa who escorts me to the gate.The flight carries a three hour delay. My young guard is then forced to follow me to the café where I treat him to breakfast. We talk about Israel and about the soon to start Sabbath. So I begin to grow suspicious that once I land my driver will be on religoius strike and leave me in Tel Aviv until the end of the holy occasion instead of driving me to my destination. 

My new friend must return to check-in. I am left with a less polite colleague. But I need a loo and this new guard is forced to follow me. On the way to the restrooms I pray he won't force me to pee in front of him as I know I won't make it under pressure and therefore will make him even more suspicious! I succeed and we go back to the seat where I am asked to stay put till boarding.

So I am sitting there while a press conference is held behind me with priests and nuns involved in some project with faith and sports and I realise why I am the victim of this misunderstanding! I am the only one who is not wearing a cross and I am the only one under 60!

Changing of the guard and I am entrusted to a young woman from Tel Aviv who tells me they do not believe that I am a terrorist but that someone has given me, without my knowledge, the explosive. I begin to think it might be true. List of suspects because in contact with my suitcase before leaving: my grandmother, famous Palestinian, Federica's chihuahua, known anti-Semite, the Chief of the Leonardo Express train direct from Termini station to Fiumicino Airport, obvious unionist par excellence and therefore anti-American and therefore anti-Israeli!
Someone behind me says on the microphone that Fiumicino must become the hub of faith. My itching is uncontrollable. I also pray that the flight will leave soon.

We board. I am assigned a window seat. To make sure i can't move they have placed a paralised woman next to me. I sit for three hours needing to pee again. I only find relief once in Tel Aviv. Not for long though. I retrieve my suitcase and my computer. I open immediately the red cardboard shoebox in which they had located my laptop (might as well thrown it directly from the plane ...) to notice three long scratches on my MacBook's shiny titanium cover. Oh, now it is war on Israel!

No comments:

Post a Comment