So You Think You Can Fly By: Ilania Abileah

 

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So You Think You Can Fly?

Or, Egg McMuffin Anyone?

A Trip to Israel February 2009

This past winter made people wish that they could fly away. But it ain’t a bowl of cherries! As a matter of fact, once you become a traveler, you are a victim of abuse by airport and security personnel, who have no respect for your time and money. In other words – you pay for a virtual nightmare. Photos: King Solomon Pillars in the Negev Desert and poppies growing on the roadside on Ayalon Highway-Tel-Aviv-Haifa.

You start with a check-list! All liquids and gels, in minute containers are gathered in a transparent plastic bag. All “Weapons” such as a nail-file were removed from the cosmetics regalia, shoes, easy to remove. One carry-on bag (8 kg or less) plus a handbag, valid passport, and an e-ticket…..out to the car in the ungodly hour of 4:30 p.m., driving in the fog to make it to the airport long-term parking, and to the first line-up of the trip…..waiting for the shuttle bus to the terminal. The airline ticket counter, advances at a turtle’s pace 10 cm at a time, through a maze of red stretched strips….this takes between 30 minutes to an hour …..then, passport and boarding-card in hand, you pass through an inspector, then to the immigration and customs…..another half hour…..then on to security…..another half hour or more….depending how fast you can take your shoes off, remove s belt, suspenders, watch etc. Then if you are lucky the gate to your flight is near….otherwise you stand a chance of missing your flight despite arriving two to three hours prior to take-off.

Photo: A sign on Ben-Yehuda Street, advertising an exhibition of unique art objects at the museum.

There are many trials and tribulations that you are subjected to, such as paying $6 for an inimitable culinary experience of an Egg-Mc-Muffin a 4 1/2-hour flight….But this is part of yet another chapter in the travel journal. Somehow, you reach your destination at about 2 a.m. your time and then jet-lag sets in.

Return flights leave at the wee hours of the night. By the time you get to the airport, you have already been up for almost 24 hours….first leg of the trip is four and half hours, then after a three-hour wait you board a flight to North America. Landing in a United States airport, make sure you seek a washroom before you join the hour-and-a-half immigration check point, pushing your luggage on the floor through the spiral maze to get to an officer who says: “So you are just in Transit!”. By that time, you missed your connecting flight to Montreal. At the airline’s Customer Service counter, you are told that the next flight to Montreal leaves at 10 p.m., five more hours at the airport. You are given the choice of a distressed traveler hotel coupon at a special rate (between US$ 59 to $89 + tax), but you pay for it….and on to another line up for the hotel courtesy mini-bus.

The drive in the Washington DC area, during rush-hour is lengthy. You get a business-meeting cum-Golf resort in the middle of nowhere, where the restaurant, has a $35+ tax and tip dinner buffet …..with a non-discernable collection of sunken bowls enshrined in round metal covers carrying name tags of funny names such as curried-couscous with roasted whatever….made from some grains (not couscous )….hard lamb meat balls that can be used as a golf ball, various rice concoctions, and so on – the Espresso was very good though. Back in the room, dial for a wake up call, and at 5 a.m. and start the cycle all over again.

But this is not so bad, on the final stretch to Montreal, the guy in the next seat told me another horror story. His flight delayed for hours but he made the connection, which was fine. However, after a long wait in the plane the flight was cancelled. He spent ten hours in the airport, three of them in a small plane on the ground with the engines running!

Photo: The view of the Bahaii Gardens on the Carmel mountain in Haifa.

So this summer, if you can’t afford to fly off to some exotic destination, do not despair, you can stay right here in the Laurentians. Other people pay thousands of dollars to come enjoy our black flies. Why shouldn’t we?

Have a lovely summer everyone!

Here are a few more shots from a trip to Israel February 2009:

Sunset in Tel Aviv Old Bauhaus buildings in Tel Aviv The best Falafel place in Tel Aviv

The Tel Aviv-Jaffa Promenade. The Palmach Museum & Sunset in Ramat-Aviv

Ben-Gurion grave & the view from the Burial spot. Rosh Hanikra -border with Lebanon

Kibbutz Eilot-Eilat Shoreline Flowers B&B Kibbutz Eilot Eating Ice-Cream in Yotveta Spice Store outside Eilot.

The Wailing Wall Jerusalem Bringham-Young University Concert Hall The new wall on the far hills. Shouk Machane Yehuda Jerusalem

An evening of dinner and singing even on tables at the Rishon Winery.

Ramleh (a house listed for conservation) The old convent in Ramleh.

 

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