Striding through the metal detector, I stopped at the customs officer’s upturned hand. Taking my bag from the x-ray scanner, She motioned for me to move to a nearby table. She spoke and I said, “My Turkish isn’t very good… Yes, you can open my bag.”
I smiled, having been through this story many times before. Reaching inside, she pulled out my headlamp, moleskine and pens. She yelled to the x-ray operator who responded as she took hold of a handle and brought out a metallic structure from my bag. She turned it over and examined it closely, scowling at the composite frame. Motioning to a third officer, she spoke to me once again.
He approached and translated, “Uh, what is this?”
I responded and reached for the handle, “It’s a steadicam” Confused he took the steadicam from the other officer as she reached into my bag once again. This time, she pulled out a tablet, two concealable wallets and a small black box encased in plastic. I looked at both of them, “Oh, that’s a camera. Umm… it’s a GoPro camera. The steadicam is for the camera.” all the while using crude sign language for ‘camera’ and ‘steadicam’.
The officer propped the steadicam on his shoulder, “Like this?”
“Oh, no – like this!” I grasped the handle of the steadicam and shook my hand with the camera attached. “Oh, It doesn’t shake,” he quipped, slapping the table before quickly turning to the other two officers and explaining in Turkish. By this time the officer looking through my bag furrowed her eyebrows with immense intensity, having pulled out another black box with an antenna and blinking red lights. Eyes bulging, All three stood in silence…
“Umm, it’s a satcom. Satellite? It’s like a cell phone, but anywhere in the world?” I offered.
Heavy silence passed as my translating officer glanced at the satcom and then back at me. Three pairs of suspicious eyes burst into curiosity as he laughed heartily, “Ok, please turn it off on the plane.” “Thank you” I responded as I started to pack my bag again. Upon finishing, I looked up to see all three officers still watching as I placed a coiled rope in the head pocket. The first officer, looked to the translator and then the x-ray operator. She turned back to me with a perplexed look and spoke in English,
“Who are you?”
My name is Kris, ‘Krijali’ if you prefer.
I’m an adventurer.
Hmm, let me explain.
I want to show that excitement, that utter bliss and awe inherent to scientific ideas through film, poetry, and public speaking.
I’m just a guy.
An adventurer, my name is Kris, ‘Krijali’ if you prefer.