Friday, December 25, 2009


Adventures start before we leave San Francisco. We stay up all night to pack, and actually manage to zip our suitcases two minutes after the cab arrives. The only thing that we run out of time to do is mail an annual Hanukkah card to Woody Allen. Dave has it ready to go, so the only thing we need is to find a mailbox at the airport. This goes without a hitch. There are mailboxes on both sides of the terminal.

We're flying to Tel Aviv through Philadelphia that's been under "travel advisory" all week due to snow. The night before we decided to book ourselves on an earlier flight to Philadelphia -- just in case. Now that we're at the airport, USAir is looking for volunteers to give up their seats for a $500 voucher. $500 to fly on the flight we were originally going to take? We line right up. While we wait in line, Dave gets recognized by somebody he'd lived in the dorms with 15 years ago.

"RIT?" she asks.
"What?" We have stayed up all night, and Dave's reactions are a little delayed.
"RIT 1994?"
"Yeah. Yeah."
"Hillel House?"
"Fish C West?"
"Did you know Amy?"
"Yeah! Did you live in Fish C West?"
"I was friends with Amy."

She is vague about it, and Dave doesn't feel comfortable asking, but it is possible that in 1994 she was a man. Fish C West was a predominantly male floor. The conversation doesn't get a chance to develop because we have to deal with the ticket situation. We are too brain dead to even ask her if she lives in San Francisco or back East or ask her for her email address or if she's on Facebook. Dave thinks he can find her friend Amy on Facebook. At the end, USAIR doesn't need us as volunteers and we end up on the earlier flight. We pass out the minute we get on board.

We get to Tel Aviv 20 hours later. Even the 11-hour flight from Philly to Tel Aviv feels like it's not nearly long enough. We eat boiled chicken and chocolate mousse, nap, I finish one book (Octavia Butler's "Fledgling" -- amazing), work on my computer until the battery runs out, start a movie ("State of Play," a thriller with all kinds of names and Robin Wright Penn) -- and that's about it. The flight is over before I even get a chance to finish the movie. It's warm here and the air smells good, maybe olives and sage. We get a car, drive into the city, go for a walk on the beach. The sun has just gone down, and we don't dare to dive in.

Later that evening we have dinner at the house of the family we met as a result of our trip to Hungary earlier this year. They own a pomegranate farm an hour south of Tel Aviv, and they serve us the few pomegranates remaining from the last harvest for dessert. Dave writes more about this part of our trip on his blog.

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