Simon's Diary

Israel 2004

Day 8


I thought I wouldn't have much to write about today as I spent most of it either sleeping or writing the Diary. My flight home was scheduled to take off around 5.45 am, and check in was to start at 2.45 am. So with this in mind I felt it was important to make sure I had energy to cope with the demands of the journey.

I said my good-byes to Boris got a taxi to the airport and then the day started to get interesting. Israel's security check is renowned and this time I got a bit more of a taste of it than I've experienced so far. Who knows what it was that made them suspicious of me but maybe traveling alone, having a different name to my father's, being dressed in black - well you never know!-, and carrying bags full of technology. Whatever it was it added up to me getting a full search of all the contents of my bags. Every item has a swab run across it and then the swabs are analyzed by a machine, most possibly for traces of explosives. My laptop bag seemed to attract some attention so they said it had to be put into the cargo hold and not taken as hand luggage. That then left me with a laptop which I couldn't carry, they then said they'd put that in to the cargo hold if I didn't mind them x-raying it. They then wanted to x-ray my artificial foot and make me take my braces off before going through a metal detector. This was my first time so I found it all fascinating but if it was to happen on every journey I might have been a bit fed up.

After all that excitement I checked out the duty free shops which were no cheaper than our high street shops and were far greater than prices on the Internet. The worst thing about that was I couldn't indulge in any retail therapy. So I found where our plane's gate was and waited there. I'd seen the psycho analyst woman who I'd sat next to on the incoming flight and a couple of minutes later the two teenagers who had joined in on the telling people to get out of the way game mentioned on day 1 sat down quite by chance opposite us.

On the plane we weren't seated together, I was next to a woman who was scared of flying, so much so that every time the plane bumped a bit she clung to her seat. However between the bumps we solved the problems of the world between us. This time the main film was the same as the one we'd seen coming, so I tried to get to sleep but couldn't so I put on my headphones and tried watching the film, I was asleep in no time. There's a scene in "Saving Private Ryan" where one soldier says "if you want to get to sleep try to stay awake". That line has had as profound an effect on my life than the film's main message.

For some reason, maybe my subconscious was on sentry duty, I woke up just as the second film was starting. This film, "Big Fish" was one I'd wanted to see for months. I was spell bound by it, so much so that I didn't even realize we were landing until I felt the jolt of the wheels hitting the runway. Luckily the film ended within seconds of the landing so I wasn't left high and dry wondering what happened. If you've see this film you probably know where I'm going with this. The film is partly about the relationship between a father and son. The father has brought the child up on wild romantic stories about his life, so exaggerated are they that the son rejects them as pure fantasy and wants to know what the truth is. The film ends with him realising that the truth is wrapped up within the embellished fantasy and perhaps it's the essence rather than the detail of a story that's important. The film ends with the father's funeral at which many of the characters from his stories come to pay their respects. At this point the son realises that his father was in his own way a great man. I couldn't help but see the parallels to my own father who is both weak and strong, a success and a failure all wrapped up together. Just like me and you.



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