Archived posting to the Leica Users Group, 1998/09/11

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Subject: RE: [Leica] Re: Airport security
From: "B. D. Colen" <>
Date: Fri, 11 Sep 1998 10:21:32 -0400

. A police officer would mark it, and it would get
> loaded. No mark, no load, the bag got left. It was good to know your bag
> was on your plane, but this was in the 70's before it was fashionable for
> terrorists to blow themselves up for the cause, the process would probably
> not be as comforting today!!!
> Noel

Security? Security? I'll tell you about security...
Jan. 93, Passing through Ethiopia en route to Dijbuti (sp?) and northern

At the Addis airport the passengers were told to go onto the tarmac and
identify our bags. THEN the bags were sent to Xray. I was then summoned to
Xray by a military type, who pointed at one of my bags sitting in the
machine and asked "what is that?" He was pointing to an Xray image of a
package of 24 AA batteries - which, Lord knows, looked pretty sinister.
I said, "Oh, that's a package of batteries."
They all looked at each other and said, "Oh." And proceeded to load the bag
without opening it to see what was really there...
BUT...As we each boarded the plane we were patted down, literally head to
foot - they looked under my Tilly hat - and our carry ons, including photo
gear, etc., was carefully examine.
The entire procedure was more than a little puzzling, until I left the plane
when it landed. We exited through the rear of the plane and going out could
see that all the seats in the back half of the cabin were stacked with cloth
bags of sticks - they looked something like LL Bean fire starter kindling
bags. In fact, they were bags of kat (sp?), a mild simulant that the
Somalis, and many other peoples in that part of the world, virtually live
on. They spend their days doing what ever their work or leisure activity may
be, chewing on the sticks.

The bottom line, I was on the Ethiopian Air, government sanctioned, dope
delivery run from Addis to Dijubuti!

(And this has nothing to do with Leicas, as I was using Olympus equipment at
the time :-) )