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13. Dr. Bowman arrives at the port of Jaffa. The Ottoman customs officer looks at his documents for a long time and in his eyes a suspicion of an improper act arises



Behind the counter stood the Ottoman customs officer with a noticeable displeasure, a thick black mustache under his nose, and a red bandage on his head, wiping the sweat from his forehead with a handkerchief. "A valid travel document and transit permit," he demanded in a firm voice as his black eyes fixed sullenly on the passenger standing in front of him. Streams of sweat dripped from Dr. Bowman's armpits. The day was hot and steamy like a Turkish bath house, and the tweed jacket and silk scarf that was wrapped around his neck increased the sense of suffocation he felt. The officer pored over the documents for a long time, flipped through the pages again and again, cleared his throat and demanded to know the reason for the trip. Dr. Bowman took a deep breath, pondered for a moment and answered briefly: "I am going on a journey of familiarization to the land of my ancestors." The officer directed his gaze at Dr. Bowman in bewilderment, cleared his throat again, and with a thin smile demanded to know where in the country his ancestors lived. Dr. Bowman was afraid of getting into a entanglement from which he would not get out easily and hurried to correct his words: "The honor of the officer, I meant to say, the land of my biblical ancestors." The officer did not clearly understand the meaning of the words but was offended by the condescending tone. He shook his head, looked straight again and demanded to know what was in the honorable doctor's luggage.


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