Tuesday, 4 October 2011

Russians, speedos and a bomb scare on Tel Aviv beach

What is it with some Russian men and their speedo's? You can always tell them. They appear with pale, hairless bodies; some have tummies that protrude over their nether regions and they wear speedo's. There's absolutely nothing remotely sexy or enticing about a man in speedo's. Whatever his physique or youthfulness - or, rather, lack of it. Yesterday a man in a pair of pale blue speedo's was going through the transparent bin bags on the beach. He was looking for anything plastic - preferably bottles. I've no idea what he could be doing with them. There's cages on street corners specifically for plastic bottle recycling. I didn't think that there was a black market in plastic bottles. Who knows. Maybe he was a Russian involved in some kind of mafia type of bottle recyling that wasn't environmental. Nice oxymoron that. Russians and envionmentalism.

Lying as I was in my plastic chair, looking towards the sea and the lifeguard hut, I heard broadcast a warning. 'Would whoever has left a red and black bag unattended on the water's edge please come and reclaim it. Otherwise it will be dealt with.' A small crowd had gathered around the bag - not too closely. A couple, oblivious to events, were lying entwined in each others' arms but a few feet away. A young man in an orange t-shirt and carrying a walkie-talkie gave instructions to a faceless being in an office. No one came towards the bag who looked as though he was its owner. The young couple were asked to move on. The crowd were asked to move back. The swimmers in the sea were also oblivious, as were many others who a) did not speak Hebrew and b) were not paying attention. Again the warning was broadcast. This time with the addendum that it would be dealt with 'in no uncertain terms' should the owner not show/his her face.

I could see the bag about sixty feet in front of me. Poor thing, all alone as if it had the most awful BO or rampant halitosis. A red and black backpack standing upright, surrounded by beach-goers waiting to see if it was going to explode.The young man in the tee-shirt, speaking with his hands into the walkie-talkie turned around suddenly. Coming towards him was an older man in black speedo's. The man gesticulated. The crowd smiled. The young couple moved back towards their towel. Orange tee-shirt gesticulated back. He beckoned the older man towards him. No guessing what they were talking about. The older man nodded his head, opened his hands in submission. He was told off in no uncertain terms.

Who's to know what's in a seemingly abandoned back-pack on Tel Aviv beach? It could be anything. It could have been a bomb primed to go off when the bag was opened; it could have contained nails and bolts and poison, as so many of them have been. It was probably just a towel and some sun screen and probably a plastic bottle of water. At least Mr. Blue speedo may have been happy at that outcome!