Wednesday, January 21, 2009

RDX and Ice Cream

Its a scientific fact that ice cream, if it gets on your hands will instantly transfer itself to all parts of your body, your clothes and any items and articles that you may be carrying with you. What I recently learned is that this strange property is also shared by RDX.

RDX is a type of explosive. I used to work a lot with the RDX during my years in the middle east. Hah! I know what you are thinking but I had a license to handle the stuff. See? sez so right there (in arabic).

When you work with RDX there is always some powdery residue that gets on your hands and clothes. From there it may get on to your laptop computer and your luggage. Once it gets into your luggage its never coming out. Its quite happy to remain their for months or even years. And if you are travelling out of Israel and they decide to swab your luggage you are in a world of shit. These boys/girls swab EVERYTHING. Imagine their surprise! It took me 2 hours to explain that I work with the stuff so its perfectly normal for traces of explosive to turn up in my rig bag. It helped that the rig was in the news over there so the police at least knew what I was talking about. Still you are always a little bit uncomfortable around airport police no matter where you are.

I'm so glad to be home.


johnorford said...

that's interesting. it doesn't wash out??

Rob Baiton said...

It must be quite a site getting swabbed then mobbed at the airport.

pj said...

John - It will wash out of your clothes. Different story getting it out of laptop knapsack that is full of gadget pockets. I hadn't really done much with explosives for at least a year or so before travelling to Israel, so yeah that powder is hard to get out. The police rather dryly suggested that I get a new knapsack. My bags have been swabbed before especially since 911 but never quite so thoroughly as Tel Aviv. I really was not expecting a problem.

Rob - they were actually very civilised. Midnight rxpress it wasn't and there were no alarms or searches that involved rubber gloves. I'm not sure of the rationalle but most of the airport security at the airport are young women - about 90%. Most of their questions seemed to be about what I had been doing in Haifa.

Apparently I will now be getting a special pass if I have to go back there. These are about as common as hens teeth but they are just to give the security people a heads up.

isman said...

And what does it say exactly on the card? If I were in your position, I wouldn't be able to tell the difference if a co-worker made a cruel practical joke by swapping the card with one that says, "Yes, I'm a Licensed Suicide Bomber. Can't ask, can't tell."

pj said...


Haven't a clue actually. I would have to find a colleage to translate.

All I can tell you is that whenever I had to get explosives I would show this card to the police and they would hand over the keys.
After a while I got to know most of the police in the station so the card was really just a formality.
That would be a great practical joke. (Just as long as it was someone else...)