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(From New Straits Times (Malaysia))
IMAGINE a world where your best friend is a gun neatly secreted inside a cigarette packet, and where part of your daily routine requires checking to see if someone has left a chalk- marked "X" on your letter box before leaving for work.
The murky half-world of the spy is filled with danger, intrigue and gadgets. It's also one many of us would love to inhabit - blame it on our fascination with Ian Fleming's James Bond and The Avengers (both the old and new - cat-suited Diana Rigg and Joanna Lumley - versions).
And for a brief evening recently, I joined this shadowy world, courtesy of the International Spy Museum, now one of the hottest attractions in Washington DC.
Here I learnt how to test my powers of observation by viewing photographs of spies and trying to pick out the same suspicious characters lurking in surveillance videos. I also learnt the kinds of signals a spy might leave for a fellow operative as well as potential drop-off spots.
I even learnt how to pick a lock. A skill I suspect I shall be able to put to good use, given I have a knack for losing my keys, followed by my driving licence and reading glasses - in that order.
Located round the corner from the Ford Theatre, where US President Abraham Lincoln was assassinated in 1865, …