I am currently in Zurich, Switzerland and really like it here, except for the fact that my laptop was stolen by the government of Israel… more on Zurich soon, but here’s the scoop on yet another run-in with government idiots.
I was going to write about how great Tel Aviv is… I had a really good time there, right up until I was about to leave the country.
I was going to write about how I saw very little, if any security forces at all in Tel Aviv and how nice and peaceful it is there…
But upon arriving at the airport to depart Israel at the end of my trip I was immediately taken aside and grilled with a plethora of ridiculous questions. They took particular note of the fact that I had been in Dubai recently. They asked me what I did in Tel Aviv… I told them that I just went out to some clubs and hung out at the beach, mostly. They told me that Tel Aviv isn’t known for its nightlife and asked why I didn’t visit Jerusalem. I told them I couldn’t care less about Jerusalem.
This went on for 15 minutes or so and about 5 security guys were all involved in the onslaught.
Finally they said they were going to take me into the back for questioning.
We went to the large back room… I was apparently the only one being questioned in there at the time. They took me behind a screen and removed most of my clothing and searched me.
Then about 10 guys and girls meticulously went through my bag, spending like a minute or two looking at each item and asking me stupid questions like, “what is this?”… I’d reply, “it’s a computer mouse”, then they’d say, “is it yours? when was the last time you used it`?”… this went on for nearly everything in my bag… they took most of my electronics and were running it through a number of machines behind a wall.
Then it got interesting… all of a sudden, sirens started wailing and lights started flashing and everyone went into a sprint out of the room… 1 person grabbed me by the arm and we were running out of the room… everyone looked very concerned. I just looked at them all looking so stupid and laughed and said, “uh is there a problem?”… but no one would look at me or talk to me.
Then they brought a pretty big guy over to watch over me. He started staring me down and cracking his knuckles… I gave him a look of “are you kidding me?”… I could tell just from his posture that he was a trained fighter and given that I was wearing sandles and fairly tight jeans, he probably could have easily taken me out if he wanted to, although I’d definitely give him a fight.
He didn’t end up doing anything though and we just stood there for about 15 minutes as security people kept rushing in and out of the room.
Finally after all that, someone appeared to give the all clear and everyone started making their way back into the room.
No one would tell me what all the fuss about, but my best guess is that something in my stuff came up in their machine as having explosive residue. I think this because about 3 years ago, in the US, when they swabbed down my laptop and put it through their machine it came up as having explosive residue on it. It is more than likely a machine malfunction or misreading as I haven’t been around any explosives as far as I know…
Then after about another 30 minutes of continuing to check and re-check every single thing in my bag they informed me they were going to keep my laptop and a number of other things like my cell phone charger for extra testing at another facility and once that was done they would ship my laptop to the airport in Zurich.
I was massively irritated by this. Everyone who knows me knows that the only material item I care about at all is my laptop, which I always need to have with me.
I said to them, “you do realize I am LEAVING Israel right? I’m not coming INTO Israel… if you were concerned about something I have, you should check it BEFORE I come into your country, no? If anything, if you think I am carrying something dangerous, you should be happy I am leaving with it, no??”
That just got a blank stare. Then I moved on to, “you guys have never seen a computer before, is that it? Its a L-A-P-T-O-P computer”
Now they started to look more angry… again, while I would have loved to verbally and physically beat down these bastards, I knew it would only end up with more problems, so I just bit my tongue.
They gave me some forms and told me that when I got to the airport in Zurich that there is a lost and found place there that i can register this info with and they will inform me when my laptop arrives.
The people in Zurich were very good about it and told me that this is a fairly common thing for flights from Israel and they laughed at the stupidity of it as well.
That was 2 days ago and still no sign of my laptop.
I am leaving Zurich tomorrow, so if it doesn’t arrive by then, it’ll basically be gone for good.
Tel Aviv was an amazing city full of a lot of really cool people and tons of beautiful girls… it is based right on the beach and the beach is really nice, with all sorts of bars and restaurants on the beach. The nightlife is very dynamic and a lot of fun too.
I place Tel Aviv now into my top 10 best cities in the world… and I would have wrote even more glowingly about the place and would have definitely wanted to return very soon, if not for my airport experience.
But the government of Israel has declared war upon me and so therefore I am now at war with it.
The really stupid part about all these security things in places like the US and Israel is that, if these countries didn’t do things to other people to make these people hate them, then they wouldn’t have to have security to “protect” them from those people.
As usual, another very enjoyable time was ruined by a governmental experience.
I’ll update soon, hopefully from my own laptop on beautiful Zurich and on my trip south to Italy tomorrow to go cruising in the med.