I arrived in Tel Aviv on Sunday, March 5th, from Jerusalem. Those of you who are following me know I recently left Mexico, my home of several years, to travel through the USA, into Europe, India, Turkey and now Israel. You also know I’m a writer. What you might not know, if you haven’t read LOVE The Beat Goes On—my memoir–I’m also a great believer in visualization–but usually, it’s the good kind!
I always wanted to make an amazing trip like this, but I never took my thoughts seriously until this past year. Part of it was the desire to visit countries I’ve read and written about; and the other part was to follow a journey my heart has wanted to take for a long time. A journey into self.
Everyone kept saying: Why do you want to go to the Middle East? It’s dangerous. Watch out for terrorists!
My response to that might be, why take a trip anywhere in the world, or even the USA, today? I’m not even referring to 9/11 which was horrific in every way, but how about the Las Vegas mass shooting? It seems there isn’t any place safe in the United States. So why make a blanket statement about the Middle East?
I did acknowledge that the Middle East has issues. But I was totally unprepared for New Delhi. I like to think I’m well educated and aware of events happening around the globe. After all, I do write a thriller, action, suspense series, Code Raven. I’ve covered terrorism, trafficking, cartels, abductions, the refugee crisis, and many other current affairs and issues we face today. But to land at the Delhi Airport and witness the police barriers casually located everywhere throughout this amazing city, brings a whole new meaning to the word terrorism.
Unfortunately you quickly become immune to it. If you’re a world traveler, you are familiar with airport security. But that similar level of security is visible at every hotel in New Delhi and most tourist attractions. Cars are checked underneath, and trunks are opened. Handbags, backpacks, and luggage go through detectors. I had to pass through a screening process to enter my hotel, any time of the day or night. An Indian friend of mine explained it this way: “Terrorism is a fact of life in India. Pakistan, our neighbour, is the home of terrorism.”
Which brings me back to the purpose of this blog. I’m a strong believer in visualization. Last summer while visiting my son in Paris, I jokingly said I could live out of a suitcase. And now I am! When my friends and acquaintances told me to be careful on my journey, I jokingly responded: “Hah! With my luck, they’ll probably be dropping bombs in Israel when I get there!”
As usual, there is conflict in Jerusalem, especially at the Western Wall, where I was staying in the Old City. But I didn’t know that. It’s not widely reported in the news. And whatever was reported in the Times of Israel, I glanced over never thinking it would affect me. However incidents were happening while I was there and the military actually closed the Damascus Gate, my entrance to the 800-year-old house I was renting, on the morning I left to come to Tel Aviv!
But nothing prepared me for the reaction I felt to the air raid sirens going off last night in Tel Aviv.
It was surreal. In some strange way, it felt like I was in the middle of a movie set. My apartment is on the 6th floor in the artsy district of Tel Aviv, and I could look out and see many other buildings, plus the street and the emergency vehicles racing down the thoroughfares. I stood transfixed by the sound and witnessed many others on their balconies looking towards the skyline. I watched several jumbo jets ascending going to faraway places, leaving Israel behind. And then I heard the explosion! I stood transfixed. No smoke rose up. No one moved from their patios. Television screens continued whatever shows were being streamed. Life stood still, and at the same time, life went on…
For many Israelis who were in Tel Aviv in 2014, air raid sirens are not a new thing. But I don’t generally enter war zone territories as a daily event in my life. Unfortunately, my powerful mind did visualize this event. Or maybe the mental/emotional part of my mind, could feel it coming. Either way, like one Twitter friend, said, in response to my tweet, “I bet she felt safe in Tel Aviv.” And she was right. Although my body was stressed, my mind was calm. I knew I was exactly where I was supposed to be, and I would be safe.
It’s the morning after. I sent a lot of messages last night to friends I’ve made in Turkey, Dubai, India, Canada, and Mexico. No one knew what I was talking about. TWO ROCKETS LAUNCHED INTO TEL AVIV, ISRAEL WAS NOT REPORTED IN THE INTERNATIONAL NEWS.
When did acts of war become so mundane that they were not worthy of coverage? I guess if you don’t have bodies strewn on airstrips, or shopping mall floors, or rock concert stadiums, no one cares.
When did terrorism become the new normal?