Terrorist-type travel tips
I offer my fellow
Iranian travelers four helpful suggestions
July 16, 2003
Do you know who David Smith is? He is 45, slightly
portly and unkempt in the used-to-play-basketball-had-2-fat-ungrateful-kids-and-then-gave-up-on-life
kind of way. He has that balding, comb over, leftover kitchen grease
hair and he wears those big
clunky cheap looking and costing plastic glasses. Also the ladies
may want to note that he wears a uniform every day to work.
Still don't know David Smith?
If you are of
Iranian origin at some point in your life, you will.
Let me introduce
David Smith will be at the check-in booth. He'll wave you
over, while saying: "next please". He will then start
looking at the ID you've taken out and handed him. Next he'll
look at your ticket, look up at your face, back down to the ID
which he is now holding as if it is a time-bomb, across to the
computer screen which he'll tap a few times, back across
to the now imminently exploding ID, up again to your face, down
across to the computer, back up to your face, scratch of the head,
lean over and whisper to a colleague, wave a supervisor over, start
pointing at you with squinting eyes, then finally: "Mr. Seyed
Gholam Mohammad-Reza Hasheminasab would you please accompany Mr.
Yes when your parents blessed you with the name
Gholam Mohammad-Reza Hasheminasab, they let you bathe in the glory
light. However the bathing can only happen after Her Majesty
Queen Elizabeth's employees insert their thumbs in your rectum
or the US Government's always friendly federal bureau take
finger prints, DNA samples, bank statements and your 'Mohammad
Ali Collection' lucky boxer shorts.
I myself am a fortunate one; I was born in England
and a citizen no less. Born and kind of bred in Her Majesty's Empire
hey, I've even met her. The name Nooriala is not even overtly
Muslim sounding. I travel for work and pack like a business
traveler. However, if there ever is an occasion that I have not
to shave, well It's on that occasion that I seem to always
get selected for the 'random search', which all tall,
dark handsome stubble/beard-wearing foreign-looking terrorist
So it is with this in mind that I offer my fellow
Iranian travelers four helpful suggestions:
1) Always bathe and shave just before traveling.
This applies as equally to the hairy Iranian men who shave five
a day and
Iranian women who go through the daily Islamic ritual
of cleansing 5 times: shave / wax / tweeze / thread / bleach.
2) Do not carry a Sultani Kabab in your hand-luggage
back form Tehran. My cousin Reza did this and was duly stopped
bag was searched. It was then that they opened up his
hand-luggage and saw a 100cm thin cylindrical object wrapped in
foil. Yes a famous Sultani in Nan. Try explaining that
3) Try to speak the native language of where you
are traveling from/to and not Farsi loudly. If English is
'de jour', do not sing nursery rhymes to your children
"Toovink-kel toovink-kel lee-tell ess-tar
How I vander vat youuuu arrrre"
You will immediately be red-flagged and made to
watch CNN for indoctrination.
4) Knowing that as an Iranian it will take you
more time than others to get to the boarding
earlier than it is supposed to. This way you
may actually arrive on time or, let us whisper this
part 'be early'.
I remember in 1998 a flight I had form London
to St Etienne for
the Iran vs. Yugoslavia World Cup match. We
arrived 1 minute before the doors
closed and ran to our sold out plane, only
to find it half-empty. It wasn't for a good 45 minutes
to an hour
till every Arash,
Ali, Mohammad and of course Javad got on the
plane smiling, bowing their heads saying "Bebakhshid". (It is
also important to note that during the flight all the vodka
was sold out before the stewardesses got halfway down the isle.)
I leave you all with my best wishes and pray
you have safe rectal-exam-free flights.
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