We have just left Istanbul.  It is 10 pm – and we should be in Tel Aviv already.  Well the tour has begun in one most unconventional way.  And I should say – ways!  Oops, I am not responsible for typos – it is quite bump y as I type  Where shall I begin to tell the story of this 2014 tour.

For me, the day was calm and peaceful.  My carry-on luggage broke last night so I was off to Sport Chalet to get what I wanted.  That was interesting, but they had what I wanted after a 20 minute hunt and I was back headed toward hoe.  Christie was at work, Danny asleep.  He came back from his first year away on Tuesday so it was nice to have him home for a bit before I left.  And, Christie is thrilled to have someone in the house while I am gone.

But the first sour not of the trip was sounded when my cell phone went off about 20 min from the airport.  Jeff’s friend, Eric, arrived at the airport without his passport.  Yikes.  He had to drive back to North Hollywood to retrieve it.  With LA traffic clogging things at every turn, it was not going to be an easy prospect.  And it didn’t provide a restful check-in process for me.  I can only imagine was he was going through.

Everyone else made it to the airport on time and we slowly worked our way through the process.  I asked the check-in manager if Eric could make it in time – and what “in time” meant.  He needed to be at the counter by 5:20.  His map said he’d be there by 5:50. I prayed a lot.

To make a long hour short – he got to the counter at about 5:45 or so – we were standing in line to board, and all the personnel from Turkish Airlines aws now transitioned to the gate to expedite boarding.  They wouldn’t/couldn’t go back and see him through.  So we boarded our plane with Eric back at the counter.

Because our reservations were made as a group through IGM, when he called Turkish there was nothing they could do.  They made a tentative booking (I thin) for the next day’s flight.  Dale at iGM said he would arrange ground transportation for Eric so he could meet us in Galilee a day late.

At this time, I don’t’ know the result of all of that.  IGM offices had to make the final reservation – and they didn’t open until after I lost internet connection.

Anyway, we were late in leaving LAX (there was some glitch in Lancaster traffic control – so the plane was late getting to LAX but then everything moved at a snail’s pace in boarding.

I think we finally took off (long line of planes too) at 7:00 or after.  And the food service as slow back in steerage where I was.  What was nice about the first leg of the flight was that we had free access to wifi, so I could text from my phone.  I had left my computer in the overhead compartment, and should have gotten it done for the internet.  Oh well, it was nice to get the news about the King’s victory over the Sharks. I was a hero at the airport with that information, Jewel Nicholson is a HUGE King’s fan.  So let’s keep the score updates coming!!

It was odd to me – and still s – that we didn’t make up any of that time on the flight to Istanbul.  In fact, we lost even more time.  So we were well over an hour late in arriving in Istanbul – and we lonely had an hour layover.  But the flight was delayed 40 minutes – so there was hope.

But I should get back to the flight.  Folks in Comfort Class loved it.  I, back in steerage, was not quite as thrilled.  It was one very full flight.  But just as we were leaving, some folks switched seats and I ended up with no one next to me.  Oh wow – what a difference that made.  A window seat with no one in the middle seat.  That was amazing.
Food came – eventually.  It was OK.  This is not Emirates.  But it was fine.  They just weren’t all that friendly of  staff.  But I ate and watched “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty.”  It was OK.  I think I slept through the part where he decides to live – so I wasn’t really sure if the rest was a dream or not.  But I got the gist – but note the climax/twist.  Oh well.  I was really sleepy.

So as soon as the food tray was gone, I prepared to sleep.  I had turned back by watc to Turkish time – so that was 8 pm (10 pm in LA).  I slept without knowing a thing for 3 solid hours  That what was nice.  Well, maybe it was 4, seems I remember it being midnight.  OH well, doesn’t matter.  T For the next leg of the flight I dozed in and out – and then discovered it was 4 pm – and thought we should be landing at 5.  I was happy.  Well, we didn’t land until 6:15. And we had breakfast before landing too.  It was a decent omelet.  But I just couldn’t believe we had lost so much time.

Adventure #2 is about to begin.  We were a=on the tarmac with about half an hour to got.  But big plane means slow debarking.  Bus.  Another security check —not sure where I was supposed to get something hazardous.  But…it was really just another delay point.  Some bathroom stops.  We finally found our gate and I thought we made it the connection.  Jeff and Kelly and Seanna were leading the pack and made it ot the gate a couple of minutes early.  I was my own wave – and then everyone followed.  We waited a bit – then they took us somewhere else.  We had missed the flight.  It could wiat no longer.  OH well.  Close is not quite good enough in air travel.

They took us to get new boarding passes and a voucher for the food court.  That was nice.  Chaos.  But they tried to be nice.

The  next flight was to board in an hour, so that was not too bad.  We got the a voucher for the food court – but it wasn’t that great.  Burger King, Sabarros, plus four or five other places.  The conter told me the chicken kabobs were the best.  Tried to find that – but the voucher wouldn’t accommodate the kabobs. And I wasn‘t going to pay for anything.  Jeff and I had meatballs in gravy with rice.  And bread.  And a Diet Coke.

We enjoyed some conversation over dinner with the group.  Pretty soon it was time to head for the gate – whose number was unknown to us.  It was to begin boarding at 8:15, and we dint’ want to be late or take a chance at all.  Not on this treip.  Ha!

Got to the gate on time with the rest of the population of Istanbul.  We were crossed into the waiting area.  Everything is hot in Turkey – the airplanes and the terminal.  So we stood and waited to bard. And waited. And waited.  I think that we started boarding about 9 pm.  With the rest of the population of Istanbul, of course.  Lines.  Waiting.  Almost a claustrophobic experience in the long long tunnel to the plane.  It seems most flights use the tarmac and buses – so it was nice to have an actual gate.  I think.

Dinner is now done.  It was slices of “fried” chicken.  Cold.  It was good.  But we had just eaten at the airport, so I was not that hungry.  Took the food tray away and now I can finish up this leg of the journey. I can’t see screen, so typing is interesting and the typos will be abundant.  But better to have it entered and fix it alter than create when I am really tire.  I’m ok now, could use a bed tho.  And a shower and toothbrush.  lI have given an up to date instructions for landing – we will all meet at the restrooms at Ben Gurion.  Then we can regroup and head for passport control together.  What are the odds that maybe at midnight the line won’t be as long?  We shall see.  I had Seanna email Andre (the guide) so hopefully he knows what flight we are actually on.

Can the rest of the flight and “day” be uneventful?  Let’s hope so.  It started so long ago, but it won’t be long until we land in Tel Aviv.  An hour left.  But it’ll be chaos getting off – such a full plane.  But we are ready. And patient.

The group is very cooperative and laughing its way through these hurdles.  The delay was not so song and it is good just to be this close to our destination.  I just wish we could see tings – but it is night, of course.

Might as well stop writing now.  Israel is ot very far off now.  Yay.

11:15 pm.  Getting ready to land I guess.  Sweet.  I will check in later.

1:40 am.  To my room.  Andre has snacks in our rooms.  This place is AMAZING.  We are going to leave at 9 tomorrow – just because it is so late.  Got internet.  I’ll just send this, shower, and go to bed.  Great place, did I say that???

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