travel #8: Middle East and Europe part 2

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Blog entry by motthunter posted 07-15-2008 02:47 PM 1335 reads 0 times favorited 11 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 7: Middle East and Erope part 1 Part 8 of travel series no next part

Part two begins in line for security at the airport in Israel. Now this is real airport security. Before I describe how it went, I first want to complement the people who operate the security there. Unlike the TSA people I deal with on a regular basis at US airports, Israel’s security team is professional, careful, respectful, methodical and thorough. They actually seem interested in making your flight safe.

If I had a dollar for every time I have seen the TSA act like jerks to me or others, I could afford a new shop. I remember a few months after 911 being in the US and having the misfortune of having a beard. An airport security jerk said to me,”Hey Osama, we need to search you over there” while pointing to a screened area. Now I am not by any means an “Osama” … I am a white guy from Ohio.. and if I were of middle eastern descent I would have been even more offended. Well, since then I travel without a beard and nobody bothers me.

Anyhow, to leave Israel you need 3 hours. First you get in line to be asked 20 questions. I had been in Saudi prior to Israel so I got the 50 question version. The questions were a bit intrusive, but respectfully asked. Next, all of my luggage was x-rayed and my laptop was opened and scanned separately. After this, I was led to a counter where my luggage was opened. The guy had two computer screens showing the x-rays of my bags. They went through the bag using the photos as a guide and swiped all of my items with a special pad that later was put in a machine to look for explosive residue and who knows what else. More questions were asked and obviously compared to the results from the first questioning.

Next I was given back my luggage and allowed to go to the counter to check in. They took my checked bags and I was off… no wait, one more carry on check and I was able to stand in line to have my passport checked. Because I also go to Arab countries, I ask Israel not to stamp my passport. They agree since they know the reality of the region. An Israel stamp would make my future entries into Saudi and other nations complicated. I had only 20 minutes to wait at the gate and I was off to Amsterdam.

Amsterdam is a paradise. I love this city. I don’t drink alcohol, smoke dope, do drugs, and I am happily married so the hookers mean nothing to me. I do see that Amsterdam does in fact prove all of the right wing self declared moralists wrong though. This is a city were all of this is legal and they have an extremely low crime rate. They have low cocaine and heroin addictions, almost a non-existent murder rate, low burglary rate, and hospitals that provide real care without putting its citizens into the poor house.

I won’t go on a political rant since it will stir up too much fodder on the site. If you disagree with what I say, remember that I do have a first amendment right to free speech, and the greatest freedom in being an American is to be able to express yourself freely without fear of retribution. I am tired of being told that my opinions make me less patriotic than I truly am. I travel the world and know the true advantages of being American. I also know that there are other places that get many things better than we do.

That said, Holland is a paradise. Great people, great food, Great things to see and do. No need for a car or even a taxi. You can rent a bike to get anywhere or take public transportation that is clean, efficient and easy to use. One thing that I note is how people devour a newspaper there. Everywhere you look, you see people reading. People in Holland see the value of being aware of the world. When was the last time you had a meaningful conversation with a hotel clerk or convenient store worker?

An interesting new law went into play in Holland when I was there. I got to see the first day of their tobacco ban. I say tobacco ban since the smoke free law does not include marijuana. It is still fully legal in coffee houses. What I did not know is that outside the US, people who roll a joint put tobacco in to slow the burn. A coffee houses where they sell weed and people smoke it with their coffee and friends. It is like a bar in the states but no drunks looking for a fight or vomiting on my shoes. So in coffee houses now, people who mix tobacco with reefer need to go outside to smoke since it is illegal to smoke tobacco indoors. Kind of ironic…… Now the fun guys that work in those places have become the tobacco police.

Enough weed talk. I saw an actual saw mill that runs 100% on wind energy. It was really cool. Imagine gang ripping full logs with no electricity. It was slow, but the cost was low. They even use the wind energy to pull the logs from outside into the mill. I also traveled to the south of Holland where I saw an old wall the Romans build in the late 1200s. I didn’t have much time to screw around since I was there to work, but I can’t think of a better place to pass my time.

If you have never been to Europe for a vacation, this is the place. You can get around easily, get around with English, and have a great time.

-- making sawdust....

11 comments so far

View SteveKorz's profile


2134 posts in 3793 days

#1 posted 07-15-2008 02:59 PM

Wow, I’d love to do some traveling like that. There are so many things to see and experience… thanks for the tour!

-- As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another. (Proverbs 27:17) †

View Mario's profile


902 posts in 4130 days

#2 posted 07-15-2008 04:11 PM

Thanks for another very entertaining and educational post.

-- Hope Never fails

View OutPutter's profile


1199 posts in 4069 days

#3 posted 07-15-2008 06:59 PM

“I do see that Amsterdam does in fact prove all of the right wing self declared moralists wrong though.”

You may be making a mistake of logic here motthunter. Observing that there is low crime, low addictions, and good hospitals at the same time as legal drug use and prostitution does not mean that one of these things causes the other.

For example, if you observed that the hospitals are great and that there is also a law against woodworking, you wouldn’t (I hope) conclude that woodworking causes bad hospitals. Therefore you fall into one of the easiest traps of human thinking – proximity in time for the existence of two things must mean that one thing caused the other. This is not necessarily true.

Anyway, I sure would love to travel and observe so many things and people like you have. What business are you actully in if you care to share?

-- Jim

View Miket's profile


308 posts in 3851 days

#4 posted 07-15-2008 07:58 PM

Amsterdam is a great city, but hardly crime free. If you don’t mind all the graffiti that is.

It has the second highest crime rate in Holland. I think that this can be attributed mainly to all the
immigration (legal and illegal), and not the native Hollanders which I took to be very friendly and great hosts.
I can see where left wingers would applaud this as a paradise, but I can’t imagine taking their laws and
applying them to a major US city and getting the same results. Just imagine a Los Angeles, Chicago, or New York where drugs are legal. Who would be left not stoned to do the work.

I am greatly enjoying your accounts of your travels, please keep them coming.

-- It's better to have people think you're stupid rather than open your mouth and remove all doubt.

View motthunter's profile


2141 posts in 3878 days

#5 posted 07-15-2008 08:23 PM

First, I work in sales of industrial packaging materials and machinery. Second, I don’t drink or use marijuana.

The logic does hold water. All countries that legalize marijuana obviously have reduced arrests in marijuana use since it is legal. What I am noting is that they have low murder, violent crime, domestic violence, rape, and other similar crimes. It is not left wing to believe that these laws in this country waste our money and keep our police off the focus of real crime. There is no evidence that weed is any more a gateway than alcohol. The real difference is alcohol is difficult to make at home and weed is a weed. In places where it is legal, most users grow their own and sales for alcohol decrease. If you grow your own, the government does not have a way to collect sin taxes.

Real drugs that kill including cocaine, heroin, and others are not legal in Amsterdam. If you do get caught, you go to treatment. The US spends hundreds of billions of dollars on the enforcement of Reefer laws.. What else could we do with the money? how many more real criminals would we catch if the police could focus on real crime?

These are not leftist ideas.. They cross party lines.. Next time you get your political stance from a hack like Rush, remember that he at one time was awelfare recipient and a major drug addict.

As for big cities with folks on drugs in the US… Who are you fooling. the workplace is already full of drug addicts and users, hung over partiers and the like.

-- making sawdust....

View OutPutter's profile


1199 posts in 4069 days

#6 posted 07-15-2008 08:40 PM

“Next time you get your political stance from a hack like Rush, remember that he at one time was awelfare recipient and a major drug addict.”

Another fault in logic I’m afraid. You are implying that the only people that can have valid opinions about welfare or drug addiction is those that are not welfare recipients or drug addicts. But lets not get all fired up about politics on a woodworking blog. Just keep the travel accounts coming.


-- Jim

View motthunter's profile


2141 posts in 3878 days

#7 posted 07-15-2008 08:56 PM


false logic … nope… a comment about getting your talking points from a hypocrite.. yes.

I certainly do not hope to fire anyone up. We live in a country now where things continue to be labeled as left and right, democrat or republican, conservative or liberal when so few of us are actually 100% of either. And hypocrites from both sides throwing out talking points to distract us from what we should be focused on.

Who knows, maybe if we had some freedom of speech left and an education system that taught children to think instead of pass tests, we could get above all of this. My simple observation is that a guy like Rush who made a career about talking down to someone that needs some help and rejoicing in the idea that all drug offenders should be locked up should be transparent and talk about his time on the government dole and how many illegal prescription pills (AKA Drugs) he took and why he is exempt from the same consequences he believes in for anyone but himself.

Lets get off the political and look at reality. America is great. We can always do better. Lets find hte common ground ot do it.

-- making sawdust....

View Miket's profile


308 posts in 3851 days

#8 posted 07-15-2008 09:51 PM

I’m sorry for expressing my opinion. It would appear that, unlike others, I don’t know everything. Please accept my humble apologies.

Still looking forward to your travel stories.

-- It's better to have people think you're stupid rather than open your mouth and remove all doubt.

View Betsy's profile


3391 posts in 3975 days

#9 posted 07-16-2008 02:39 AM

Come on guys. Mothhunter is doing a good job describing his experiences and has put a lot of time into telling others, like myself, who have never traveled what it’s like. Don’t discourage him by being impolite and challenging. That’s for another stage and/or site. Everyone is entitled to an opinion but doesn’t mean you have to express it.

This is a woodworking site that allows us to occasionally spread out a bit to share our non-woodworking experiences with others. Let’s not turn it into a verbal slug fest.

Just my two-cents.

-- "Our past judges our present." JFK - 1962; American Heritage Magazine

View poopiekat's profile


4369 posts in 3813 days

#10 posted 07-16-2008 08:22 AM

I like the fact that you chose Frank Zappa as your photo ID, from the cover of his “Sheik Yerbouti” album. Now, there was a man who was constantly at odds with the mindset of conservative America. Amsterdam is constantly used as a model when discussions of public morality take place, and people do make the sometimes unfortunate apples-to-oranges comparison between the two cultures.

-- Einstein: "The intuitive mind is a sacred gift, and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift." I'm Poopiekat!!

View OutPutter's profile


1199 posts in 4069 days

#11 posted 07-16-2008 11:52 AM

I think I can safely say I haven’t been impolite and I agree with you that another stage is best for expressing political opinions even though motthunter is definitely entitled to do so. I also appreciate the attempt at cooling the discussion.

I’m afraid I’m getting the feeling that you think “a comment about getting your talking points from a hypocrite.. yes.” applies to me. I’m going to assume one more time that you mean “your talking points” to apply to the general population and not me and let it go.

However, saying that the argument you use about Rush isn’t faulty logic doesn’t change the fact that it is. There are many former drug addicts with valid opinions about drug use that have never and will never disclose the fact that they used drugs at one time. Rush may be one of them. That means that unless you are recommending that all people never take advice from anyone they don’t know everything about, you are making a mistake of logic. Consider your doctor’s advice or, not. lol.

Anyway, I don’t think your life or mine will change much if you change your opinion or if I don’t change mine. I just wanted to point out that you can improve your argument by not using faulty logic. Try something like this next time. How ironic that a man who became a drug addict had taken years describing drug addicts as the dregs of society. That way, no one can argue. lol.

I’ll give you the last word so keep the posts coming about your travels motthunter. And be safe.

-- Jim

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