Netanya, Israel.  8:30 pm.


It has been a very long Tuesday.  And Monday too.  Not sure how long I will last without falling asleep (but the longer I can stay up the better I suppose).  This long day began yesterday.  We got all packed and things in order fairly early in the afternoon on Sunday.  When Christie’s folks arrived some time after 5, we were packed and ready for the adventure to begin.

We were in bed before 10 pm.  Rare.  At 1:48 am I woke up rather abruptly – not sure why, but just because I did.  Sleep was not returning to me on that night.  The alarm was set to go off at 3 am anyway, so it wasn’t that big a deal.  I got up in a bit and got the day started.

Everything worked like clockwork.  Christie and her folks were driven by Danny to LAX, with a stop to pick up Jennifer Carson on the way.  I picked up Judy Law and the other 8 of us met in the church parking lot.  The Prime Time shuttle was parked up the street (the driver was sleeping) and came down just befor our scheduled 4 am pickup.  It was a nice van with plenty of room for luggage.

We were on our way to LAX by 4 or so, and we were at the airport by 4:30.  That’s the time of day to go to LAX.  United checkin was simple and friendly.  They took us all together in a special line since we were/are a group.  It was nice to be all together on our arrival.  So much easier.

We made it through security smoothly (all but three had TSA pre-check) but those who didn’t (Shoff’s and Jon Buck) made it back to our group in 15 minutes at the latest.  The airport is still undergoing some remodeling and most of the restaurants were not yet open. 

So we settled in at the gate and then headed out to find some breakfast.  It was not a difficult task.  I picked a DELICIOUS breakfast burrito, Christie and her folks opted for a breakfast sandwich.  We at them and then headed back to the gate to do our turn at luggage watching.

The plane began boarding early.  It finished boarding early too.  And we left the gate before the scheduled time of departure.  It was a picture perfect departure.  It was about 4 ½ hours to Newark, so we were there in plenty of time.  Good thing, it was a bit of a hike to our next gate.

The view from Newark (like a five hour view!)
The view from Newark (like a five hour view!)
And then….it was a bit of a wait for the next plane.  There was a special secure waiting area for our flight to Tel Aviv, but no plane, and nobody there to screen us.  And so began the long wait of 2016.  Our flight was scheduled to leave at 4:40 pm.  By 8:45 pm we were finally taxiing down the runway and ready to head to Tel Aviv.  We ate lunch at a Mediterranean place that was good, not great.  The lentil soup and pita were delicious.

We waited some more.  And some more.  You could see the NYC skyline out the windows and the new World Trade Center building.  It was lovely – but it wasn’t the view I was hoping for.

Once we finally got on our way, the next flight (9 ½ hours) was uneventful. And smooth.  It wasn’t very full either, which always makes for a very pleasant experience.  Christie and I didn’t have anyone sitting between us so the extra space was great.  After din

ner was served I could settle down for a nice long nap. And it was lovely.  I slept probably 4 hours.  Wow, did that feel good when I woke up.

Then it was some more flying and breakfast and more flying – and then Tel Aviv.  So good to touch down and get off that plane.  Lots and lots and lots of folks wer

Taking off overlooking Manhattan
Taking off overlooking Manhattan

e coming into Israel.  It was the last day of the Jewish new year, so folks were returning from place like the Greek islands (according to the NET rep waiting for us).  But really, immigration didn’t take long at all.  Easy.

Got the luggage.  Met the IGM rep again – and then off to meet Andre.  There is a bit of construction going on around there – so we just met the bus in the regular pickup line outside the terminal.

Then hitch #2.  It is the end of the holiday – so Jewish people on holiday don’t leave their hotels until after sunset.  It’s now like 2:15 pm.  What to do?  We decide to head to Jaffa and kick around a bit.   That would kill some time – and add a site to our itinerary.

It was a warm day – and humid – and not a lot of breeze.  Some weren’t prepared for some touring – but we are a rugged bunch.  We saw the house of Simon the Tanner (traditional house) and the harbor from where Jonah left to run away from God.

Shoffs looking up the coast.
Shoffs looking up the coast.
It was a beautiful day and the coastline of Tel Aviv sparkled along the blue Mediterranean.  I was really beautiful.  We almost fell victim to some heat stroke, but it was beautiful.

We made it back to the bus and on to the hotel (about an hour away from Yaffa).  The Seasons is right on the water and is a lovely setting.  They had called Andre and said the rooms would be ready early.  By the time we arrived – ONE room was ready (Karen Wickline’s).  The rest dribbled in for over an hour.  The last couple of rooms (ours and Mike Potier’s) were ready just before 6.  Not a problem really (at least for us).  I worked on getting my wifi to work, and finally succeeded (after we made it to the room).

We showered and changed and did a little sorting and headed to dinner at 7.  It was delicious.  So many choices – even a pork roast (how is that kosher?).  Oh well, we sampled it all and then came back to the room.  Some went for a stroll by the ocean.  The Bucks had already been down to the water before dinner.  But were a bit tired and I had a journal to compose (and pix to put online). 

But we got everything repacked and sorted for touring, not flying.  We are leaving in the morning at 9, so Andre is giving us a bit of a break.  It is much appreciated.  A leisurely breakfast and then we hit the road.  Our first stop is Caesarea.  Lord willing.

But we made it.  All the luggage made it.  No one is sick.  So it was a great two days.  The adventure is just one night of sleep away.  Can’t wait.  Of course.

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Myrl Hicks says... (Reply)
"So grateful you are all together and safe. Praying you all get the rest you need to have an amazing and blessed trip. " (10/4/16)