Monday, November 28, 2005

Nobody Thinks of It In Asia

This is Asia? I must have taken a wrong turn in Albuquerque. Either that or yarmulkes have become tres chic.

Actually, Israel is in on the western edge of Asia, but there aren’t a whole lot of what the U.S. PC Police would call “Asians” here. Those “Asians” are on the eastern part of the continent and make up my customer base. The technology I am peddling, however, was developed on the western end, which is why I am here: I need to give the R&D guys a list of what they need to invent next

This is my first trip here, and thankfully, not part of a circumnavigation. With customers in China and engineers in Israel, it sort of makes sense to start in one direction and visit both sets of people before returning home - without turning around. It looks like I will have plenty of those trips in the future, but this isn’t one of them.

The funny part about telling people you are going to Israel are the two, totally opposite reactions to your travel plans:
  1. Worry – For this group the mention of “Israel” on the itinerary creates a furrow of the brow as the listener tries to remember the date and death toll of the last bombing and the likelihood of another one happening during my visit. To ease their worry I usually remind them that the U.S. has 41 murders a day (15,000 a year based on the latest FBI data), but no one gets worried when I tell them I am heading to Seattle.

  2. Jealous – These are largely people interested in the country for archeological or religious reasons and respond “I wish I could go there!” Definitely the minority. I thought most of my Jewish friends would fall into this group, but most of them just told me “Don’t take public transportation.”, putting them in the first group.
For the Worriers I plan to buy souvenir t-shirts that read “My Friend Went to Israel and Didn’t Get Blown Up”. However, I will admit that the week is still young.
Note: The Pirate gets bragging rights for guessing correctly where I was going.

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