After a tortuous night sleeping at the airport in Tel Aviv and without a shower, I was grumpy and tetchy and my mood didn’t improve when I inevitably got searched on the way out. Entering Israel proved no hassle. Two questions and I was. However exiting, like exiting the West Bank, Israeli customs are looking for evidence of anti-Israeli/pro-Palestinian activity.
So I got the #5 written on my exit pass and walked off to be searched. I looked my investigator in the eye and smiled suddenly understanding this can go two ways. We went through my sidebag and then the rucksack. I was helpful and answered her vague questioning gently but directly. We were getting along fine but I was always aware this could be a ruse. She had long black hair tied back round her head which sat on top of her small frame. It seemed a serious job for more of a brunt than a waif but in Israel, as I had experienced at other borders, the girl learn to be tough and deceptive.
Despite going to Berlin, she picked my accent immediately. The sight of Dickens’ Hard Times continued to warm the mood. She had read it in Hebrew. I started repacking my bags and she thanked me for my co-operation. She asked about the external hard drive and I offered to play some music to her and informed her of some bands she should look up.
She asked when my flight was. Despite being over an hour away, she insisted on taking me through check-in, security control and passport control. I jumped each queue like I was some celebrity. I asked her name and she replied Miri. I could have the spelling wrong. We chatted as we wandered along and Miri informed she had been to London once when she was 12. I told her to look me up. Just ask for Dan at the airport taxi rank.
Miri left me at the gate and walked back to work. I sat on there on the floor, using the free wifi, listening to the Silver Jews and looking at the silver-lined animal shapes between the clouds.