I arrived in Israel yesterday and began very quickly learning how things work here. After requesting that my passport not be stamped to limit my travels later on, I was red flagged for questioning. I tried to answer as truthfully and as briefly as possible, but suddenly I realized as the answers came out of my mouth that I must sound horribly suspicious to a governement official. My unemployed freewheelin’ life leading to a trip that I genuinely didn’t know the itinerary for raised eyebrows and prompted lots of cell phone calls to various people standing in other parts of the same room. “Did I know anyone in Israel?” Not really. “Did I know where exactly I was going?” Nope. So much for being an unattached golden boy.
And so it began. I detained for about 3 hours. They patted me down to underwear, went through and ex-rayed everything in my bags, flipped through and caressed every page of my journal and wrote endless reams of paper in Hebrew about the experience. Lots of cell phone calls, lots of waiting, lots of lots of the same questions about my life, why I was in Turkey anyway, etc. I felt totally violated and if I ever thought I would slide in here unnoticed, I was totally wrong. I did not matter that I didn’t consent to searches and when they were finished with me I felt totally numb. I never even really told them what I was doing here.
And now I’m here. I am now intimately aware what mentioning any little detail about any aspect of myself might mean and at any time.
So I will keep everyone in touch about my travels for sure to let you know I am safe and sound, but for some reason right now I don’t feel really inspired to offer a whole lot of myself or what’s happened since then up to the maw of the internet. While I know they probably couldn’t care less what I hapless fool like myself is doing in Israel once they turned him loose, they’ve succeeded in making talking about myself seem dirty.
The experience you describe upon entering Israel sounds not terribly unlike some of the stories which I have heard from people from other countries such as Canada trying to enter the US. Observe carefully and as accurately as you can. This is an experience which will remain with and influence you for the rest of your life. Remember it. Grow from it.
Evan, that sounds horribly violating. So sorry to hear about that. x