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 | The Casablanca Nightclub

April 1978 TDY (temporary duty), Baghdad: The U.S. government was starting up an “interest” at the Belgium embassy. I was part of a team of OC (Office of Communication) technicians tasked with installing a High-Frequency radio system there that had the capability to handle classified telegrams. After drilling into very hard walls using very dull…

Middle East Peace Initiative | The Jerusalem Advance Team

December 1977 When I left RCO Karachi the repair bench was clear of radios. My cohort Al was happy. After returning from Riyadh next week Al hadn’t planned to go anywhere during the holidays other than attend a Christmas Thai dinner at the Thai Consulate General. I gave my servant Basheer a couple of hundred…

Amman, Jordan | Visiting King Hussein of Jordan

Mid-November 1977 The Royal Jordanian Airlines flight had touched down at Amman International Airport with as little fuss as possible. No hand-clapping nor a mad rush to vacate the aircraft. I passed through passport control without holding my breath. <feature photo Amman, Jordan by atlas tours.net Although it wasn’t a modern air terminal my baggage…

Beirut, Lebanon | A View Through a Narrow Lens

November 1977 We arrived at the U.S. ambassador’s part time residence atop Mount Lebanon around ten a.m. unscathed. George had borrowed Ryan’s Saab sedan. He said it was less obtrusive that an embassy vehicle. I didn’t ask him what he thought about the ambassador cruising around in a black Lincoln Continental. I did ask George if…

Confessions of a Diplomatic Courier

November 1977—Somewhere Over the Adriatic Sea The Egyptian Khamsin (sand storm) and the ghosts of the past remained at the American Embassy Cairo. I was headed to Athens on Thai International Airlines via Rome. Al, my cohort at Am Consul Karachi, had recommended it. Why not a straight flight to Athens? That’s what I asked the Egyptian…