Sunday, January 29, 2006

A weekend of Espionage


Alright, let’s have a short break on this Austrian ski experience holiday series, as too much discourse on the same subject matter can result to our nostril hairs flapping [bored sigh] and retinas dilating [eyes rolling]. I will post the entry about the European Winter Sport Culture and the Accident after this.

So, what’s cooking for intermission?

MUNICH

Yes MUNICH, Germany [Munchen in Deutsch]… but Munich Massacre, Black September, Israeli Athletes, 1972 Summer Olympics.

Dutchman and I just watched this recently released controversial movie, MUNICH, directed by none other than Steven Spielberg himself, which I believe has sparked a hefty and generous debate in both Israel and Palestinian camps. The film was based on the 1984 novel by George Jonas, Vengeance: The True Story of an Israeli Counter-Terrorist Team.

Here is an editorial review of the Vengeance book in Amazon, or shall I also say, the Munich film:

“Avner was the leader of that team, handpicked by Golda Meir [1972 Israel’s Prime Minister] to avenge the monstrous crime of Munich. He and his young companions, cut off from any direct contact with Israel, set out systematically to find and kill the central figures of the PLO's Munich operation, tracking them down wherever they lived.”

“The mechanics, the horror, the day-by-day suspense of what they did surpass by far anything John le Carré or Robert Ludlum could imagine, as they themselves were tracked in turn (and some killed) by PLO assassins, changing identities constantly, moving from country to country, devoting their young lives to the brutal task of vengeance.”

Being a keen enthusiast in police and detective work, forensic science crime solving, covert action, international propaganda, conspiracy theories and foreign intelligence, and also enjoying the paranoid view of camouflage, sabotage and subterfuge according to the CIA, PLO-BSO, KGB, MOSSAD, MI6, IRA, NAZI Party and so forth [I was a Robert Ludlum devotee]; I took tremendous pleasure in watching the MUNICH movie.

I’m giving it 4 stars angled towards 5 stars. Fast paced, powerful and gripping with suspense action-packed drama. The film recounted true to life tragic events [about 80% true story, 20% made-up], history of animosities, love and pride of one’s country and of one’s family, emotional war of trust, loyalty, morality, revenge, survival and paranoia.


So if you are like me [not paid to plug this though, I wish!], into the sinister game of espionage and clandestine operations, then do not miss this. Watch the film.

Other reviews online said that the movie is a copy of the 1986 HBO film, Sword of Gideon, also based on the same 1984 Vengeance novel. This I haven’t watched so I can’t compare.

FYI, a movie in this part of the world costs € 9.50 per person [US$11.60/PHP607.75].

Bar Scene Espionage

After the Munich movie, Dutchman and I went to Janskerkhof, which is just around the corner of the City Theater we went to. It was a chilly -5C evening but the Janskerkhof area was brewing hot with the lively nightlife activity.

We usually go to this FILEMON bar at the adjoining corner, but that night, we decided to try something else and went instead at HOFMAN.

Cartoon foto taken from spyequipmentguide.com.


To our delight, the Hofman bar, a restaurant and café by day, was playing a series of 1980’s pop and rock music hits. They also have a signage on the wall by the bar counter, in Dutch of course, but the English translation is this:

ALL DRINKS ORDERED AFTER 11:00PM ON FRIDAY AND SATURDAY NIGHTS WILL COST € 0.20 EXTRA.

We looked at our watch. It says 11:20PM. Oh well, talk about capitalism, must be a new thing brewing in the Dutch Horeca [Hotel, Restaurant and Cafe] system on weekends.

The bar was swarming and since I have inadequate measurements [the typical Asian height], I only see backs and shoulders of people. Another disadvantage, when snaking my way in the sea of clog heads is, I easily get tossed, turned, squeezed and sometimes flattened. You see, that night, I wore my low heeled boots, so you can imagine what I suffered, a mixture of minor suffocation and claustrophobia.

The good news: I am not pressing charges against the clog heads.

Anyway, party animals we aren’t but from time to time, we find joining the social evening charade very entertaining. It gives us the opportunity to conduct our little crafty and nasty espionage tricks such as: people watching, profiling and manufacturing fictitious accounts of bizarre looking individuals that stand out in the crowd.

So what did this nosy duo noticed, er accomplished I mean, inside the Hofman bar?

“Dit is een bar voor eenzame mensen.” [This is a bar for lonely people], whispered the Dutchman. “Ah, I knew why you said that...” I grinned profusely, following his sharp observations. “ ...everyone is in their designated gender groups, the XX chromosome circles and the XY chromosome circles.”

“A lot of really old people too.”, I said. The context of old here means 30 and above. “That’s a positive point, at least we belong.” laughs the Dutchman. I too laughed.


“Hmm, shall I safely hypothesize that there are many single old people roaming around in Utrecht then?” I asked after finishing my second glass of beer. “Definitely...” nods the Dutchman in agreement while sporting a sarcastic grin. “ ...and well, they are lonely too, that’s why they are here... that’s their motive.”

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