Wednesday, January 02, 2008

The Backstory & the Trip Over

I kind of jumped right in with a few pictures of Mitzpe Ramon, but I do want to go back and explain exactly how I ended up in Israel for two weeks. It all goes back to several months ago, when my friend Natan told me that he was planning on heading to Israel to visit his family and extended an invite to me. My initial reaction was that I couldn't possibly manage something like that, but the more I thought about it the more it seemed like a perfect opportunity. I'm glad I came to this conclusion, because it was exactly that.This is a picture I took of the kibbutz. As you can tell, the December climate in Israel was much nicer than that of Wisconsin. Natan and I booked flights together from Chicago to Tel Aviv via Frankfurt. I decided to come back a couple days earlier so that I could spend the holidays with the family. Early on December 10th my father came up to Madison to give Natan and I a ride down to the Memorial Union to catch the bus down to O'Hare. It was the start of a very long day. We needed to catch the early bus so that we would have plenty of time to get through security and check in for our flight. As with most situations where you show up early, we made it through fine and had a good couple of hours to kill in O'Hare. Natan and I both brought our laptops, and Natan kept trying to get me to watch scenes from Transformers. I did run into one small hang-up: my suitcase ended up being a couple of pounds overweight, and I had to quickly remove my shoes and a sweatshirt into my carry-on to make weight. This didn't leave me with a good feeling as to the return trip, and all the while in Israel I tried to avoid buying any heavy souvenirs.

The flight to Frankfurt wasn't anything special, and we arrived in Germany about 8 hours later. We had five hours to kill, and even though it was early morning in Germany the terminal was packed. I got to experience first-hand the weakness of the dollar versus the euro when I changed in a twenty for coffee - there wasn't much left other than a few coins after we had our coffee. There is even a small casino in the airport, and Natan lost a bit at the blackjack tables. Once the gate we were flying out of opened up we started our way through security. I was confused as to the process: everyone went through the standard metal detector, but then a burly Teutonic screener gave everyone a thorough check with the wand and a pat-down. What was the point of the first detector? The flight down to Tel Aviv wasn't bad, but at this point we had both been traveling for some time and sleep had not been on the schedule. Thankfully getting through passport control in Israel was not a concern for me. Natan ran into a few snags, since his Israeli passport had just recently expired. He had tried to go through on his American passport but he was told that he would have to renew the Israeli passport before he left.

Once we retrieved our baggage we made our way out of the airport. Natan's sister was picking us up. After an hour and a half drive south to the Kibbutz I was at the point of exhaustion. But the night wasn't over yet. For we all sat down to a nice dinner followed by a Hanukkah celebration, where Natan gave everyone presents. Here's a picture of their menorah:After all of this we got to sleep. I managed about nine hours while Natan did thirteen. But I was pretty much over the jet-lag the next day. Next time I'll go over some scenes in the Negev.

2 Comments:

Anonymous anna leigh said...

That sounds like a pretty long trip. Can't wait to see more pics!

8:53 AM  
Blogger PrincessGreen17 said...

That's great that you had an opportunity to go on a trip like this and you took it! Traveling is always so eye-opening in so many ways.

3:56 PM  

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