I had to write up a funny story that happened to me for an email swap on swap-bot.com so I thought I'd share it here!
In October of 1994 I was nearing the end of my stay in Cyprus, which is a small Greek island in the Mediterranean. I'd been there several months, and wanted to go on one of the cruises to Israel and Egypt - since I figured I'd never get a chance like that again, and it was only around 90 cyprus pounds at the time which equalled about $180! A steal! Since I'd come to stay for so long in Cyprus, I had brought a foot locker with me, I didn't have a small suitcase at all. I had to borrow one from a new friend I'd made in Cyprus. First mistake - I didn't remove their luggage tags so it didn't have my name on it. Second mistake - no one wanted to go with me, so I went alone.
So, with my borrowed suitcase in hand, I was dropped off and left at the port to board the cruise ship. I headed towards the Israeli officials with my passport and ticket, and there's where the problems started. I happened to be the only American on the ship - everyone else was pretty much Greek or British (Or other European). I was traveling alone and then my suitcase didn't even belong to me. I was moved out of the line and taken back behind everything where they proceeded to question me. "Why are you here?" "Why did you come from America alone?" "What's in your suitcase?" "Why are you going to Israel?" etc etc etc over and over again with 3 or 4 different officials. I was told that I fit the look of a terrorist! They accused me of being a terrorist. Not fun.
They ran the metal detector over "my" suitcase and it kept going off - oh no. So, it was opened and searched thoroughly, finally they figured out that a golden page in a book I'd brought was setting the metal detector off (for those that know what it is - it was the gold page of my CEF bible!). They searched me, they ran the detector over me - I was in tears. I didn't know what was going to happen to me. I was still pretty young (21) and this (going to Cyprus) was my first trip overseas that I remembered. (I lived in Germany as a toddler). You hear horror stories of people tossed in prison for minor infractions....
But, eventually (after at least an hour or two) they finally let me board the ship. There was a cruise guy taking photographs as people arrived and he snapped my picture - imagine what I looked like after crying for over an hour, my clothes were falling out of my suitcase where they'd just closed it without putting everything in it (like a cartoon character) and I was unkempt from the searching. The next day I looked at the photo hanging in the main area of the ship and it was sooooo terrible, that I didn't buy it. But now I wish I had because it would have made a GREAT addition to the story!
By the way - to add insult to injury, I was placed with a roommate that spoke German, French, Spanish and I'm not sure what else - but NO English.
I was followed onto the bus by someone in Bethlehem asking to marry me, the bus driver had to threaten him to get him off.
Our bus in Egypt had a huge bullet hole in the front window. There are so many more stories I could tell about this trip...
But, overall I had a super time in Israel and Egypt and though the start was bad, it's something I'll definitely never forget.