Wednesday, January 17, 2007

On American Soil

For many people in this world, this (on right) is life's Holy Grail. Especially in this part of the world, America is both despised and longed for (one of the many contradictions one has to accept without explanation).

Americans tend to take their citizenship for granted, but living in another country inevitably makes most people appreciate and/or understand our country more clearly. Although America has many virtues, the universal scourge of bureaucracy afflicts everyone regardless where one lives. So, the simple act of renewing our daughter's passport required me, my wife, and my daughter to personally appear at the US embassy in Tel Aviv (many cities away) early in the morning with a pile of documents proving that we're not attempting to commit an act of fraud.

I was hoping to get some pictures of the ordeal but as we approached the embassy prudence dictated that I should not get the camera out lest the numerous security agents suddenly become interested in me. Anyway, my camera was confiscated by security when we entered. So much for that idea.

What I noticed and thought was interesting (as with every US embassy I have ever visited) was that the line for people wanting some sort of visa to enter America was six to seven times the length of the line of Americans needing to take care of business. Of the other embassies we passed on the way, there was no line to be seen. Quite telling.

On the bright side, the embassy is located right next to the beach and weather was nice today (cold, but nice) so I got a few pictures along the way.

Delapidated charm of older Tel Aviv
Up and down the beach
My "introverted" daughter Galia at the Opera Tower building
Soothing fountain. Notice on the wall on the back right is a display (if I had bothered to photograph it) telling that the first Knesset asembly in Israel in 1948 convened here at the Opera Tower. The modern day Knesset is in Jerusalem.
Home sweet home
In the end, everything was taken care of and we returned back in time for a late lunch of fish from the Sea of Galilee (they have teeth, you know). Not bad for one morning.

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