I had to meet someone at the Lyon Hilton last night. It was a work thing - meeting someone who wanted to be a distributor for us in Morocco. The Lyon Hilton is at the Cite Internationale, just a few steps away from the sinister looking Interpol HQ.
So I walk into the reception area and start to look out for my contact - no idea what he looks like, but I'm guessing he has olive skin and dark hair. This doesn't really help me, what with this being France and all.
I spot someone in the bar who looks like a likely candidate and I go over to him.
"Excuse me Sir, are you Ahmed al-Habdi*?" I ask him, politely.
He fixed me with a deadly stare, and replied "I can assure you, Sir, that I most certainly am not Ahmed al-Habdi*".
A little unnerved, I moved away. Alas, the only other seat in the bar was at a table from which I could see his back and the screen of his laptop. Being naturally nosey, I was intrigued by his screensaver. Straining my neck a little to get a closer look, I read the words on the logo wandering around his screen.
It read 'Israeli Ministry of Defence'. Shit.
As I looked closer at the Israeli, I noticed that he not only had an ear piece with curly cable disappearing into his suit jacket, but he was also wearing a collar microphone that he was talking into from time to time.
Ten minutes or so later, his laptop all packed away, he jumped to his feet as an older man in a very sharp suit stepped into the lobby. He muttered something into his collar and whisked the older guy into a lift and out of sight.
A long while ago, I lived in Jerusalem for the best part of a year - and I quickly learned to be wary of men in sharp suits with hidden microphones.
And here I go accusing such a spook of being an Arab.
I'm only happy that I live to tell you the tale.
*names have been changed to protect all of us, innocent or otherwise.