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Visit to a Third World Country

My brother in law, who is a prominent doctor in Geneva and a fairly successful writer sent to me the following comments on his last visit to our country. I think they are worth a quick glimpse.

He wrote:

I really had no desire to spend my six week holiday away from my home. After considerable discussion and analysis of the benefits that would derive from an overseas visit, I had to go along with my wife’s wishes. Also, it helped me make up my mind her announcement that if we did not travel overseas, she would invite her sister, brother in law and four brats to spend their vacation at our home. At the prospect of being exposed to the inanities of my brother in law, his pedantic manner and the unbearable-to-watch manner in which he treated his wife, was enough for me to accept going anywhere. Not to mention the four energized brats that would play havoc with our furniture, my library, our garden, and consume our six month inventory of those selected provisions we kept in our climate-controlled cellar.

We arrived in the middle of the afternoon at the busy airport in the largest and best known city in the country. My curiosity began to increase.

“Maybe it is not such a bad idea to visit this country, about which so much has been written and from which so many things we adopt and imitate in our own country”
I thought, as my attitude was beginning to change and I no longer viewed the trip as a safe escape from an unpleasant family invasion.

The customs inspector in a nice, freshly pressed light blue shirt adorned with several patches, emblems and name tags, sat behind a glass enclosed booth with a computer in front and other electronic equipment whose purpose I could not easily divine. He looked at my passport with a great deal of interest.

Then he raised his head and looked at me with a suspicious intensity that caused me to fidget. Now, I have never been very good at standing the analytical appraisal of uniformed officials. If a policeman were to ask me for traffic directions, or even the time of day, I would suffer an immediate temperature increase, noticeable in my cheeks, and pearls of perspiration would be automatically invoked and installed on my forehead, followed by involuntary, but all-dominating, stuttering sequences. So I stood there while he compared my passport photo against the real article, turned into his computer and quickly punched a few keys. I could not see what he was doing under the counter but I had the feeling that he was pushing some sort of pedals and pressing some mysterious buttons.

“How long will you be staying?”

His look said it all: “I got you, now. I know who you are. I want to hear your voice. . .”

With an Olympic effort I managed to blurt out:

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“Six weeks, sir”

“Business or pleasure?”

New pearls of perspiration appeared over my forehead. I could feel my senses entering into a 6 alarm mode. I managed to unglue my teeth so that I could exhale an answer his question.

“Actually, it is bit of both, sir”

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