Saturday, May 7, 2011

Name That Country

I’m off to Greece next week and as I was pondering what to write for my last U.S. based piece for quite a while the gods intervened in the form of an email that popped onto my screen from one of my best friends.  His plane had just landed in the United States and he couldn’t wait to tell me what had happened at the airport in his country of embarkation.

Knowing my friend as well as I did I couldn’t help but laugh, because I knew he was never concerned for his safety and most likely playing the other characters in his tale along until the ultimate moment of enlightenment showed them the error of their ways.  But then it hit me: if he hadn’t mentioned the name of the place where it all went down I’d never have known, because it could have happened in any number of countries—and does.  So, my question to you is, what’s your best guess on the scene of the (attempted) crime?

Here’s the story as told in the first person by a tall, fit, fifty-year-old man who looks like the quintessential American businessman, flag in the lapel and all.  The only changes I made were to references that would give away the country…in order to protect the non-innocent and make this piece a mystery (of sorts). 

At the Charlotte airport now.

It was a crazy trip. Going through [the foreign country’s] departure process they checked my briefcase and saw a lot of cash (I won the tournament and a bunch of $$$).

My [foreign language] was about as good as their English so it wasn't easy to communicate.  After going through my briefcase three times I wound up in a back room with five agents. 

They took turns going through my bag another couple of times stopping each time to finger the cash that was in a travelers checks plastic wallet. Then they asked me to count it.  I was then frisked and when they touched my cargo pants front pocket they asked what was in there. 

I told them it was my wallet.  They told me to take it out.  I did and flipped it open.  “Police!” they said [in their language] when they saw my badge.  Then they laughed, gave me back my stuff, had me sign a release that my stuff had been inspected and that I had in no way been intimidated. 

They then escorted me through the VIP line, gave me a big handshake, and wished me a great trip. 

Lucky that I'm a sworn officer of the law or at best I'd be a few dollars lighter today. 

Sent from my iPad.

Perhaps the moral to this story is that we all should make a stop at a toy store before taking off for certain parts of the globe.  But, frankly, the part of the message I found most significant was that my long time PC buddy had gone over to the other side.  Yes, Mr. Microsoft was traveling with an iPad!  Almost makes this long time Mac-man want to get one before leaving for Mykonos.  But then again, I didn’t win the tournament. 

Yiasou, ya’ll.  Catch you next week while I’m in the air.



  1. I am going to go with any country that is on the Euro given that the rate of dollar to Euro this morning is sixty-nine cents.

    It isn't too far off the value of Monopoly money.


  2. Hint: Mario Vargas-Llosa.


  3. Should have known it was South America. Still, considering the main gray-area export of Llosa's country, you'd think customs would be inured to people leaving with absolute bricks of cash.

    And remember, the same thing has happened at JFK, courtesy of the TSA Income Supplementation Program.

  4. Hint Number Two (with assist from TH): PERUse elsewhere. How's that for a clue to feast on?


  5. i-Pad in Mykonos, whyever not? I felt bathed in virtue as I sat in the Starbucks last Friday and pecked away at my e-mails. Dragging a laptop around is such a royal pain. E books and French Elle from Relay kept me from brain death on the Wifi free ferryboat. Infomercial? Not. But one very happy user. Library at fingertips. Priceless. I am also seduced by's better in bright sunlight. Btw there are issues with getting some copy(w)right protected digitized materials into both the Kindle and the iPad whilst abroad. so add any videos you want before you get on that flight.

  6. An iPad, Starbucks, Wifi free ferryboat, French Elle, why you almost make Mykonos seem (over)civilized, shrew:). Five more days.