Saturday, March 15, 2014

Sunday Snippets

We suffered a bit from the bus driver's inexperience. The best route was designated "Cars only." Back and forth through Brooklyn - Bay Ridge and Bensonhurst along 86th Street - in the evening rush we traveled, looking for the entrance to the BQE1. The bus driver asked directions of a gas station attendant. He didn't know how to inform his GPS that the Belt Pkwy wasn't an option.

Honestly, I thought we'd miss our flight out of JFK. 90 minutes driving around Brooklyn - how is that even possible? The entire trip wasn't supposed to be much more than that. But we arrived at the gate with thirty minutes to spare. EL AL begins boarding a full hour prior to departure.

I'd planned to kill time at the airport with dinner. Arriving as we did after 9, though, most of the restaurants were closed. Neither of us had eaten since 3, so he grabbed a sandwich and I got a salad from a counter service place.

As we lined up to board the plane, some in our party declared, "We made it. God wouldn't let us miss this flight!" I muttered in reply, "Anything can happen. Really." And it's true, especially when you're dependent upon someone else.

It's a ten-hour flight over and twelve hours back. Most of the time, it felt as if we weren't moving. I sat in the middle of the middle of the 777-200 with my son on my right and an (ultra-)Orthodox man on my left. The man tended to mutter to himself. At times, these were prayers. Generally, he seemed immature for his age. Or naive. Or sheltered. He wondered aloud how he was going to be able to sleep in this arrangement (being seated next to a woman who wasn't his wife). I was sorry for him but I planned to sleep! Honestly, I think he nodded off for a time, also.

About an hour after our first meal, I heard the sound of someone repeatedly vomiting. Just out of view - thankfully - I could make out a commotion by the exit doors four rows up. Plane staff were helping a woman who could not control herself. I suspected that she had morning sickness but it could have been anything.

Towards morning, the men gathered at the back of the plane for prayers. Several men, young and old, urged the man next to me to join them for prayer. He declined. He read several pages of his Talmud which lead me to believe he was merely skimming. Then he pulled out another oversized book, the Schottenstein edition of the psalms (Tehillim). He prayed several of them. When the men returned from the back of the plane, from their prayer, the younger men ribbed the man next to me for the size of his books. They advocated the travel-sized ones, but he defended his large ones because they had belonged to his father.

An hour before landing, a woman collapsed in the vicinity of where the vomiting had occurred the night before. I thought she had broken her leg. Her age, as well as her attire, indicated to me that she was a Christian pilgrim and I thought, "How unfortunate!" As it became clear to her that she would miss her pilgrimage, she began to sob. In fact, I learned later that she was a member of our group of 40 people and that she was hospitalized for an apparent stroke. She was not even released in time to fly back with us and, even though her doctor cleared her to make this trip, she should not have.

The sun was setting when we landed and was down completely by the time we left the airport. So unlike June. Our hotel that first night was in Netanya on the Mediterranean Sea. After dinner, Kenny and I walked down to the sea. It was out of season, of course, but nothing prevented us from going down to the water. Most of these photos were taken the next morning before leaving, driving up the coast.

Looking up from the beach at our hotel

Views from hotel balcony

View from street level

1 There was no reason to exit Route 278 after crossing the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge

1 comment:

Colleen said...

Beautiful pictures! Your description of your plane flight reminds me of mine when I made my trip to the Holy Land. God bless!