The blog of a travelling psychiatrist and football lover. Who happens to be a halfway decent photographer. Takes a cynical view of the world

Archive for the tag “israel”

Travelling To Israel. Security Thoughts

Israel cannot be like any other place . For good and understandable reasons security is tight. However there are conundrums that do not make sense. Flying BA to Tel Aviv the UK security checks are identical to if you were flying London City to Southend. Landing at Ben Gurion airport in Tel Aviv, which like Heathrow and Gatwick is nowhere near the city Centre, I was expecting serious security and questioning. But little transpired. Passport control in fact was less onerous and quicker than Heathrow. No questions about anything really making me almost disappointed that I had printed off pages of letters explaining the purpose of my visit. To give a lecture at a congress . No customs of note either, although one oriental man was having to unpack his suitcase and the contents strewed over the top of a table, suggested he had packed 300 pairs of underpants. Maybe he had and had good reasons to do so.

Things changed however at the smaller city airport around 30 minutes by taxi away. Firstly SDE Dov airport was closed when I arrived at 04.00 with little option than to stand outside for an hour until the meshed gates were opened. Secondly the security here was beyond belief. Multiple checks on passport and reasons for being there. I was asked why my passport looked like it did, scruffy and faded. What can one say? That it is almost 10 years old? The couple in front of me had a much tougher time . Are you married? Why do you have different names? Do you realise you might be a terrorist target? Various further checks led to a plethora of stickers and forms being applied to tickets, passport and luggage.

My question is why the clear discrepancy? I don’t doubt the need for this security but the inconsistency was confusing.

The last curious thing to engage my brain at 05.00 was the very young age of the security staff. Mostly female and mostly surely no more than 20 years old.

I am not sure if this is offputting to coming to Israel or reassuring. Anyways I am here and let’s see what the country is like .

The Hoopoe bird

To come across this bird twice in a month is quite co-incidental .The first time was when the 12-year old conned me into buying a game called ” bird bingo”. This as it suggests is bingo but instead of numbers one pulls types of birds out a bag. Needless to say I never win just as with normal bingo. There were many exotic and odd birds in this game and in fact only a very few that  I vaguely recognised. The Hoopoe bird caught my eye with an interesting name and exotic looks.

the second visitation of this bird was in Dubai. Peering over my hotel balcony I heard some rustling noises and caught a shadow under a tree. On closer inspection it was a Hoopoe bird. The third visitation was when walking around the grounds of the hotel, I saw one maybe 10 yards away, too far to get a photo on a Blackberry, so these photos are not mine but do demonstrate exactly how this wonderful bird looks. When it flies it has a low trajectory but takes off rather fast. I have chosen a few photos that demonstrate well what the bird really does look like.

They eat mainly insects and live in usually warm climates, but did 30 years ago appear in Southern England. Wikipaedia is enlightening as always. These are a few facts that caught my eye.

In the Bible, Leviticus 11:13–19, hoopoes were listed among the animals that are detestable and should not be eaten. They are also listed in Deuteronomy (14:18) as not kosher. The Hoopoe was chosen as the national bird of Israel in May 2008 in conjunction with the country’s 60th anniversary, following a national survey of 155,000 citizens, outpolling the White-spectacled Bulbul. It is also the state-bird of Punjab province of India. The Hoopoe appears on the Logo of the University of Johannesburg, and is the official mascot of the University’s sports. The municipality of Armstedt, Germany has a hoopoe in its coat of arms.

bird common_hoopoe_09.03.13_a.das images

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