Day 2: Safe and Sound

Trip Start May 19, 2009
1
3
30
Trip End Jun 16, 2009


Loading Map
Map your own trip!
Map Options
Show trip route
Hide lines
shadow

Flag of Israel  ,
Wednesday, May 20, 2009

(Day 2, Tel Aviv, 6:00pm) We've arrived safe and sound in the Promised Land. To my chagrin, our flight's seat reservations were not what we selected, so I sat behind Kevin, both of us in middle seats. Ugh. We were sure our aislemates wouldn't want to give up their window seats for one of our middle seats, so we didnt' try. C'est la vie. Kevin barely slept, so he's now taking a nap in the hotel room. I slept some, so I am writing this from the spacious fourth-floor deck of the Cinema Hotel in the heart of Tel Aviv, a breeze taking the edge off the heat, the city spread out below me, while I sip my complimentary lemonade and snack on cake and fruit.

During the flight, we were treated to the not-unexpected sight of our religious neighbors standing to daven (pray), covered by talitot (prayer shawls), and "laying tefilin (phylacteries)." On the other hand, my very secular young Israeli neighbor, heading home from two months in America, spent much of the flight standing near the bathrooms with a friend, both drinking copiously from a large bottle of liquor. By a new Israeli law, all passengers and crew were required to sit for the last 30 minutes of the flight, and the bathrooms were closed. "That Bibi [Prime Minister Netanyahu]," said the young man in reply to the announcement. On arrival, the passengers burst into applause, something that happened on the El Al flights I've been on, but which I wasn't sure would happen on Continental.

After that, it was all a rush, in both senses. We passed through passport control and baggage claim quickly and bypassed customs entirely. The tour agency we contracted with (we're on our own but they booked most of the hotels and arranged for transfers to and from the airport and for our car rentals) had an agent to meet us, who put us in a cab. Our speed (in mph) on the busy freeway to the city matched the temperature, both in the low 80s. Being back, seeing and hearing Hebrew everywhere, the different mix of people, the terrain, the architecture, the cars, the advertisements, the men and women in uniform--that was a rush, too. I can barely believe I'm here. Somewhat surreal.

Our cab driver refused a tip with a big smile. Maybe he didn't want dollars, which is all we have. The hotel is a converted cinema, smack next to the famous Agam "fire and water" fountain off Dizengoff Sq., a famous spot. There's a lot of cinema memorabilia, cameras, etc. on display. The room is simple but fine, and it has a decent view. Soon I'll wake Kevin, then we'll probably wander the area. Oh, and when I asked the receptionist for something to cut the lock off my luggage, I discovered that my missing keys were still in the lock, having made the trip safe and sound, too.
Slideshow Report as Spam

Comments

weekilter
weekilter on

re first report from Israel
Richard: 'To my chagrin, our flight's seat reservations were not what we selected, so I sat behind Kevin, both of us in middle seats. Ugh. We were sure our aislemates wouldn't want to give up their window seats for one of our middle seats, so we didnt' try.'

You should have at least asked. The worst that could be is they'd say no.

RMI: 'During the flight, we were treated to the not-unexpected sight of our religious neighbors standing to daven (pray), covered by talitot (prayer shawls), and 'laying tefilin (phylacteries).' '

Standard for flights to Israel. More so on El Al flights, but pretty much on most flights to Israel as long as I've been flying to Israel (over 30 years.)

RMI: 'On the other hand, my very secular young Israeli neighbor, heading home from two months in America, spent much of the flight standing near the bathrooms with a friend, both drinking copiously from a large bottle of liquor. By a new Israeli law, all passengers and crew were required to sit for the last 30 minutes of the flight, and the bathrooms were closed.'

Interesting that on most flights that I've been on the cabin crew don't let people loiter around the toilets and in fact announce that this is not allowed. As far as the requirement to sit I've been told the last couple times I flew to Israel that this was a requirement. I have no idea of what the reasoning is, but then again I even question some of the regular requirements such as shades are to be opened, seat backs upright curtains gathered back from steerage .. er economy to first class, etc. Look forward to your further reports.

Add Comment

Use this image in your site

Copy and paste this html: