The Summer of ’78 | Technology and Magic

Preface: In Profiles of the Future (1962) Arthur C Clarke (2001: A Space Odyssey and others) postulated his three laws. Also an inventor, a philosopher, and a futurist the author’s glimpses into the future changed a lot of opinions. Clarke’s famous three laws best describe his ideas: Law#1: When a distinguished scientist states that something is possible,…

Travel Tuesdays in the Middle East | The Only Way to Fly

Travel experts argue that Tuesdays are the best days for travel. They point out factors such as competition, demand, the economy, and seasonality. It’s always nice not to stand in long lines at departures. A flight can be more comfortable with a vacant seat next to you. But there are other reasons for traveling on…

Baghdad, Iraq | Arrival Resistance

April 1978 My cohort at the American Consulate Karachi, Al, had warned me. Regional Communications Officer Bob Roberson was adept at “expanding” our scheduled trips once we got out in the field. Bob’s well-crafted messages not only exonerated him but put the onus on us techs. Robertson’s message referenced the Office of Communication’s “Request for…

Middle East Travel | The Road to Damascus Ends at the Emerald City

March 1978 (Aboard a Jet Airliner 33,000 feet above Syria)  In biblical scripture the “Road to Damascus” referred to the sudden turning point in the life of the apostle Paul (when God shined the light on him) while literally on the road to Damascus from Jerusalem. Prior to that moment, he had been called Saul,…

American Consulate General Karachi | The Return of Tony the Tiger

March 1978–Karachi, Pakistan After several days of fighting “Karachi’s revenge” I awoke in a pool of sweat sans a fever. My steadfast servant Basheer smiled. I asked him what day it was. Friday morning hearkened the beginning of the weekend in Karachi. For the first time since before I got sick I felt hungry. Basheer…

Caught on Film | The CIA Girl Who Waitressed at a Virginia Disco

[Part Three] February 1978 Looking back the CIA girl incident unfolds as a series of scenes, like a one-reel wonder. To bring the reader into the fold I will treat this message as such… <feature photo by lightbulbs.com Scene One—Rewind: The American Consulate General Karachi fourth floor hallway. I first meet the CIA girl… When…

The Pharaoh’s Curse Reaches Out | American Consulate General Karachi

February 1978 [Part One] After an arduous two weeks in Cairo trudging over one sand hill after another (not literally) I packed up and returned to Karachi. The majority of my time at the “sand pile” had been waiting on a radio repeater that was intended to extend the radio network coverage from Am Embassy…

The Cyrus Vance Cairo Detail | Radio Interference of the Third Kind

January 1977 At the Cairo International Airport ARRIVALS hall I looked out for the embassy driver dressed in dark trousers, blue cotton long-sleeve shirt with perspiration patches in the armpits, and a well-worn black tie (the drivers all seemed to wear the same uniform). <feature photo by ghettyimages.com When the American Embassy Regional Security Officer Childress…

Portrait of a Foreign Service Secretary | Welcome Aboard!

January 1978 | Am Consul Karachi—Stuck in an elevator (continued) After claiming she had accidentally sat on LBJ’s ten-gallon hat as an eight-year old youth BJ waited for the smile to melt off my face. Then she continued her autobiography while I fought to keep the elevator walls from inching closer … <Feature photo of…

Portrait of a Foreign Service Secretary | The Early Days

January 1978 | Am Consul Karachi (stuck in an elevator) My cohort Al had said to me on day one: “Watch out for BJ. She’s paddled around the world in a boat with one oar for the past thirty years.” When I got stuck in the Am Consul Karachi elevator with her I cursed myself…