My Crazy and Somewhat Scary Experiences in the Middle East

Whilst traveling the Middle East last year, I had this funny experience where if I had a haircut and shaved, everyone assumed I was from Israel, and if I allowed my hair to grow a little and didn’t shave for a while, everyone automatically assumed I was an Arab and starting talking to me as such. Little did they know I am neither! Nor is my cultural background!

Anyhow, as you can imagine, walking around looking like an Israeli soldier (with short marine style hair) did not go over too well in the Arabian countries, and this was reflected during my first day entering Egypt, Cairo when I was picked up at the airport to be taken to my cheap budget hotel.

Very curious, and slightly overwhelmed by the very long flight from Australia and my first day in a third world country, I didn’t fully notice at first that my driver was giving me strange looks in the rear view mirror.

Finally he speaks up and he asks “do you remember the war?” and having no idea about what war he was talking about, I just looked at him curiously. “THE WAR, when many thousands of innocent Egyptians died at the hands of the Israelis!”. Having no idea that he thought I was a Jew, I just shrugged my shoulders and said… “No??”. Then he points to me and says “Israeli! Israeli!” Oh shit I thought. What the f***? my first day in the Middle East and this guy is gonna take me somewhere, clean me off and dump the body. So much for a relaxing holiday!! this was not on my itinerary!!



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