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Wednesday, October 21, 2009

The Big Bollix

I was in the queue at Ben Gurion airport when the Israeli security forces finally caught up with me. Probably, I should have listened to that little voice telling me to exit via the West Bank and Jordan, but I simply didn't have the cash to hand to do it.

So I risked exiting as I came, and they pulled me aside.

First, I was taken to a side room and strip-searched. Then they went to remove my bag. I protested, as images flashed before my eyes of getting fitted up for heroin smuggling or the like. Eventually, unable to remove my hands from the bag, they agreed to let me dress and search it in front of me.

They took everything out and found nothing to be suspicious about. But that only heightened their suspicions.

They swabbed every single item in my bag and tested the swabs for explosives residue. I felt like telling them that the closest I had come to armaments was their Uzis in my face, and the shots pinged at me in Beit Jala from the nearest Jewish settlement, but stifled my tongue. In the end, reluctantly, they decided to let me board my plane.

As they escorted me past the security desk, past my co-passengers (thus arousing their concerns - none would sit next to me on the flight), I decided to match their spite with my own. Rather than go to the gate meekly, I insisted on going to the loo and shopping in duty free.

I was frogmarched to the front of the queue in both by my security detail.

My last memory of Israel was a tourism poster of Tel Aviv on the airport wall as I finally boarded my plane. 'Come to Tel Aviv - The Big Orange!'

How pathetically tragic, I thought. But not so unlikely in a town so suffused with transplanted New York Jews. Here they were, missing the point about how their apartheid city was utterly unlike the magnetic multiculture of NYC.

How sad to be concocting such a transparently derivative nickname for a town once known by its Palestinian name - Jaffa.

As I drifted off to sleep on the plane, across two other seats vacated by my co-passengers (both Hassidic Jews), I thought that no other city would be so idiotic, so basely dumb as to seek to piggyback on the organically derived NYC nickname.

Surely, I felt, only a town with such obvious negatives for tourists (merely a century of history, little culture, the ground zero of Jewish nationalism in an apartheid state at perpetual war with its neighbours) could feel the need for such transparently borrowed plumage.

And I was right, until this weekend I came across tourism references to Bangkok as 'The Big Mango.'

That's even more pathetic than the Big Orange (which at least has the Jaffa orange heritage to recommend it.)

The Big Mango? Like mangoes don't grow anywhere else, or as if they originated in Thailand? Does a city of immense culture and 13 million people really need to promote itself thus?

I mean, what's their competition? They've got the Western market nailed on for South-East Asia. Burma is a dictatorship, Cambodia suffered a massive genocide in living memory and Laos is as close as you can get to the 13th century outside of Central Africa.

But if this is going to catch on, perhaps we should get in on the ground floor. Galway could be the Big Rainy. Cork, the Big Langer. I'm open to suggestions for Dublin. So are Failte Ireland, most likely.

Please offer your best suggestions ASAP before they start promoting the Big Bollix in America next Spring.


Missing Neighbour said...

My suggestion for Dublin would be 'The Big Hoover'. This is because every time you set foot outside the door it feels like someone has a hoover in your pocket sucking up all the cash.

JC Skinner said...

Aye. His name is Brian Lenihan.

Manuel said...

Belfast: The Big Orange....no, no Portadown has that....eh maybe The Big Bap...not much too look at but tastes great....does Belfast taste great...probably not.....what?

Anonymous said...

Suggestion for Ireland would be THE HAPPY HOST and for Dublin it would have to be THE BIG SQUEEZE.


Sweary said...

Has to be "The Big Jaaaaayyyysssuss" for Dublin. I insist on it.

I also insist on calling Cork "The Big Comedown", and Limerick "The Big Bang".

truthisfree said...

The Midlands is "THE BIG BOG" no doubt about that...

Own said...

Dublin - The Big Cabbage

Own Arris

Rua said...

The big needle exchange-Dublin or Limerick

Hubris said...

Dublin: The Big Rip-Off

Cork: The Big Whinge

Limerick: The Big Stab

Ireland Plc: The Big Eejits

JC Skinner said...

LOL at the Big Eejits.
Ain't it the truth.