Saturday, June 21, 2008

On Bingham's March Trip to Israel

Earlier this year, in March, my former student, now priest and friend, Bingham, made a fantastic journey to the Holy Land, and sent us several fascinating emails and pictures. I've finally had a moment to make this blog posting in celebration of his trip. Below are two of his photos, one from Bethlehem and one from the Jordan River.

His final email from the trip reported on the hassle he had at the airport in Israel. His account reminds me of similar enraging experiences that I have had, so (with his permission) I'll post it here:

In the Israeli airport, you have a security check-point before you can check-in. They again asked me why I had been here and other questions along those lines. And they repeated the question of why I had been here several times. Then, I had to have all of my luggage x-rayed (everybody did), but unlike everybody, I then had to have every piece of luggage hand searched. Young men traveling alone is a trigger for them. I was already running late and this did not make things any better. They rifled through my stuff, did the bomb chemical tests, and did more x-rays on individual items in my luggage. They also moved items between the bags "for security reasons." In my last bag was my collar. They looked at it very strange and asked what it was. I explained that it was a collar and that I am a priest. After that, they were much friendlier to me. After determining that my luggage was safe, I was "escorted" to the check-in where I got my tickets and checked my bag. Then, I was again "escorted" to the next security check-point where my carry-on was x-rayed again. And I had to go through a metal detector. At this point, my plane had started boarding. Now, most people are not "escorted" through this process. It's usually not a good thing to be escorted through the process, though in my case, they said it was because I was so late. Then, I went through immigration/customs.


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