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Friday, May 05, 2006

Shabbat Shalom from Tel Aviv

Still bleary from jet lag, Yaron, Ben, Mai and I (pictures maybe tomorrow) just ate felafel in the middle of Tel Aviv. For various reasons, I am on the road and the first stop is Israel. I arrived here from Beijing at a gawd-awful hour of the morning; a smiling Yaron welcomed me to the Holy Land, but quickly said "you'll find not much is holy anymore."

When I arrived at the El Al station at Peking Airport last night, more than 3 hours before my flight, I endured a 40 minute tag-team security interview. They were a big suspicious of my one-way ticket with no definite continuing travel plans. I eventally passed the interview, which included describing my son's Bar Mitzvah to prove that I was Jewish! But I understand why this has to happen and when it was over, I thanked "Ron" for working so hard to keep us safe. I was worried about overweight luggage and more than the allowed one piece of carry-on baggage (I could have stuffed it all into one piece, but thought it'd be easier on security to keep the computer separate)--but they didn't even bother with that. (!!!)

Over 112 Chinese men and a couple of women construction workers took up almost the entire rear cabin. They were contracted to work in Israel under (and only for) the contractor/foreman that led their group. China is exporting cheap manual labor to Israel! Amazing.

It was probably because of that rather than passing my rigorous interview with flying colors that I was upgraded to an economy plus seat in a cabin between business and economy with only six rows. And I was the only one in the cabin that had the window plus the aisle seat to herself. What a nice luxury. Still, the 12+ hour flight (it was somewhat late, but who's counting) was more comfortable than usual and I certainly appreciated it. A good omen. This will be a long journey.

Before we went to Yaron and Annabel's new apartment on Sokolov, Yaron took me to the sea. There is nothing like the color and the scent of the Mediterranean. The waves lapped against the shore in the early morning light and sang me home.

So here I am. Here I am. Shabbat has started, traffic is gnarly and tomorrow, says Yaron, everything to do with business is closed but everything to do with having fun is open.

Shabbat Shalom.

// posted by Ellen @  06:37   //Permalink// 
Ellen says hey
Mainer, New Yawka, Beijinger, Californian, points between. News, views and ballyhoos that piqued my interest and caused me to sigh, cry, chuckle, groan or throw something.

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