Flew through the night and was glad to see 4 empty seats next to me. So I stretched out and slept most of the way to Amsterdam.
Arrived Holland at 11AM. What an amazing place: a whole country below sea level with dikes keeping the sea from flooding everything. The land is criss-crossed by canals which are used like our interstates: to get from town to town by boat. In winter, when these canals freeze over, people actually ice skate from town to town along them. Between the canals are huge fields; but instead of corn or wheat or cotton, there are miles and miles of tulips. Windmills dot the landscape, pumping water from the canals to water the flowers.
I was supposed to have a day and 1/2 in Amsterdam and I was going to visit Corrie Ten Boom’s home and walk the streets of Old Amsterdam. But, my airline decided not to go to Israel right now and put me on another carrier. My layover time was cut to 9 hours so I didn’t really have time to leave the airport. This was probably a good thing because I used the time to finish going over Yossi’s book and take a nap.
I found out just before boarding for Israel that the airplane was making a stop in Lanarca on the Greek part of the island of Cyprus. (The US is taking people there who are escaping from Lebanon).
Landed on Cyprus at 2AM. The Captain told us airlines are using the island to refuel and change crews so they won’t have to spend that much time on the ground in Israel. Left Cyprus at 3AM and landed in Israel at 4AM.
Scott had not received my “change of flight” email and was not there to pick me up. I waited until 5:30 until I had gotten so hungry I went to the deli for an Israeli breakfast. I really wanted a bacon and egg croissant, but had to settle for an eggplant, goat cheese, lettuce and tomato sandwich. But, by then, I would have eaten just about anything.
Finally reached Scott by phone at 7:30AM and he told me I would need to take a taxi to his apartment in Jerusalem as his day had gotten really full. I finally got there at 9:30 and he returned from his errands about a half hour later. Scott & Theresa’s apartment is really nice. It is a garden apartment, meaning each apartment is set back into the hill further than the one in front of it. There are lots of flowers and plants and plenty of room for me. His apartment complex is the last building in the southern part of Jerusalem so that the area across the street is out of the city and is actually an Arab village. Those of you with Google Earth should be able to see this.
Scott spent some time making me feel at home before he had to take off again. I do feel at home here. There is no air conditioning, but the days are mild (upper 70’s to no more than mid 80’s) and the evenings are cool (low 60’s). Very comfortable.
Scott indicated that I will probably spend most of my weekends in Ma’ale Levona including the one coming up. Don’t yet know how much traveling I will do with Yossi right now since tourism has “basically” [inside joke] come to a halt.
If I hear from Seth how to add pictures to this blog, I will start doing so. Also, by tonight, Scott will hook up my laptop to the Internet and I’ll be able to make phone calls to all of you on Skype.
Blake: as soon as I opened my suitcase at the airport I put on my Chocos. They are great! Thanks so much for the going-away present. Very thoughtful.
If there is an emergency and you need to contact me, call the apartment. The number is 2-672-2375. The first “2” is the area code as Israel has only a 1-digit area code. I think you have to put an “011” before you dial and, perhaps, an 011-1. So the number might be 011-1-2-672-2375. I’m actually not sure, but will give you my cell phone # when I get one. Scott encouraged me to get a cell phone due to the current “situation”.
Feel free to “comment” so I know all of you are totally mesmerized by my blogging talents. There’s more to come, so stay tuned…