Air Travel Hassles… And finally, Israel

“Are we ever going to fly?” the other passengers and I wondered out loud. It was our second day attempting to and the flight was being delayed further still.

Having traveled a fair amount over the past decade I saw things coming the first night. There’s a distinct pattern that develops and I usually can predict how it’s going to end. “Well, they’re going to put us on the plane, we’ll sit there for about two hours, then they’ll take us off and get us to a hotel at around 6am so that you’ve lost a full nights sleep. Then you attempt to sleep for a few hours and it’s back the next day to try again.” If only my prophecy had proved wrong.

The flight was delayed until late into the night and then we boarded. While sitting patiently in our seats the captain informed us that there was an issue with the hydraulics that would affect our ability to taxi (or to subsequently land) and we waited as the lights flickered on and off in the cabin as systems were tested and promises were made of “just needing a new part,” etc.

After a couple of hours of sitting and then being instructed to de-board there was the brief, loud round of cursing by a nearby passenger and an inward smirk on my part, “I called this one, unfortunately,” I thought to myself. I then made a mental note to go ahead and rebook the next time I see this coming and get a full nights sleep.

Then it was time for the long line. Fortunately I met a funny Jewish girl who was on her way from LA to visit family in Israel and her delirious laughter made the whole event somewhat bearable. About an hour and half later I was handed vouchers for the following day, instructions for finding a taxi to the hotel that night, or should I say that morning, and an apology. At least there was that.

The next day I wandered the airport shops looking for the proper way to spend a voucher. I picked up the book “What the Dog Saw” by Malcolm Gladwell, some juice and chips and figured I’d done okay. You’ve got to squeeze those lemons the best you can.

Upon arriving in the passenger lounge, I was asked by two other passengers for the night’s prediction, seeing as I’d become something of a seer. I boldly stated that all would go smoothly that evening. When it was announced that the flight was delayed that evening too, dagger like eyes turned my way. A false prophet was among them. I did a quick survey of the airport floor to make sure there were no stones. As good fortune would have it, their despising glances were turned towards the airline counter.

We sat on the plane for a couple of hours that evening too. When finally it was announced that we were departing for Tel Aviv a rousing cheer arose from the cabin.

A couple of days later I arrived in the Holy City of Jerusalem. Over the next couple of weeks I’ll be working on a project that shows daily life in Israel as it is during times of peace. Along with the psalmist I pray for the peace of Jerusalem.

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