That Israeli security is really ‘somethin’ . April 1st, 2011

Posted: August 4, 2013 in Past Trips

65 One of 4 long lines at Tel Aviv airport66 And in Hebrew too!

I am on the plane home!  Just woke up after sleeping, I think like 6 hours!  (again, thank you my beloved xanax).  Less than 3 hours to go!

I love this picture, by the way!  What I did not love was how long I ended up in it, and the three ‘lines’ it preceded.  What an ordeal!  Okay, so I bought a big a** carpet and some other little gifts, along with my purse and my carry-on FULL of US allowable various liquids.  Their airport people have zero friendliness and seem to try to talk you into being a suspicious person.  That was just line #1.  Weird.

I’ve slept off my annoyance, so I won’t let that experience dictate the tone of my email.  But let’s just say a few of those Israelis got a piece of my mind.  I had to get aggressive back with them, like when they took my computer away or when they unpacked all my things… I’ll just leave it at that.  But most of you can imagine how I can give out when pushed.  I asked questions and we all were laughing in the end and I learned a few things.  Like: you can pay a few shekels for VIP and avoid all that sh*t.  I got to the airport (after my taxi was stopped for passport check by man with machine gun) at 7:45pm, I got through 4th checkpoint about 10:15pm.  Plane left at 10:50pm.  No time for water or bathroom breaks!

My last day in Jerusalem, I felt pretty emotional, moved.  And I think we all know I’m completely non-religious and a bit ambivalent as to why it’s okay Israel occupies Palestine’s land.  BUT anyway I sat outside (78 degrees) at King David, overlooking the old city, where just the day before, I unexpectedly visited ancient history.  I saw the room of the Last Supper, the church Jesus prayed before ‘judgment’ :?:, the actual tomb of David (not expecting that one!), walked the Via Dolorosa: where Jesus carried the cross, then where he got those big nails put in his hands and feet, where he died, was washed up (which let me tell you, it was a trip to see these people bawling and kissing it), and then ultimately Jesus’s tomb.  I don’t know if humbling is the right word, but just ‘wow’ will suffice.  At the Wailing Wall (which I did not go to) and David’s tomb, the men and women have to go separate!  ???  AND the men’s side was always larger, even though there were more women praying, crying or visiting.  What’s up with that!!?

So I had three hotel sites yesterday, and had arrangements for a driver to collect me at 6:45pm (which I’ll get to later).  I sat having lunch after my meetings, with this insane view, doing my end-of-month reports, feeling like I cannot wait until I come back to this amazing place.  Really!  I’ve been offered accommodation at King David again, by my new bff, Benni the GM, if I’m flexible with my dates.

I did NOT go to the Masada, the Dead Sea, Haifa, Elat OR Bethlehem.  Which I know are ‘musts’, and I truly wanted to but was okay with it KNOWING I will come back here.  And soon!  I did what I came to do, I can tell any of my clients about the hotels, security, airports, distances, sites and restaurants. I did not expect to have this reaction to being in this part of the world and will save those other ‘musts’ for my next trip.

Which leads me to my incredible new friend, Hussein.  He is the driver at The American Colony Hotel, and an Israeli Palestinian.  I met him two days ago after my visit and lunch (next to Tony Blair), he drove me back to my hotel. We had a chat about how in 6 days in Israel, I had not yet had one falafel or schwarma or any authentic cuisine.  He was appalled.  As often as I eat it in NY, it’s not the same.  So we made arrangements for him to come pick me up and take me to French Hill, for the ‘best’ falafel, and then to the airport.  King David’s hotel staff’s mouths were watering when they learned where I was going!  🙂

It WAS the best thing ever.  The ‘place’ was like a mix of that Brazilian make-shift food car Nilmar took Jennie and I to in SF  🙂  and a Hale & Hearty where you go down the line and tell him what to put in your salad.  The falafels are little baby ones! I knew from the first bite I will forever crave this.

On the drive to airport, I learned all about Hussein’s family and Muslim religion.  His wife and kids, etc… how it works for their family life.  He has 4 boys, which means that when he approves of whom they marry, he has to give the girl $15k in gold and $5k in clothes.  At least.  And this is for each male child!  His two older children are at university, even the daughter.  When he heard my age (because he originally thought I was maybe 28, ha!) it then became a lecture, “Leez, you must find mans and marry.  Quickly.”  Too funny.  We had such great open conversation!  We spoke of the Palestinian parts of the area too.  I’m excited of course about Bethlehem, but now Ramallah as well! Absolutely fascinating.  A little irritating that Israelis are allowed to enter Palestine, but do not allow them to cross those borders in.  Any of them.

Anyway, needless to say, I had an unexpectedly FABULOUS time.  And in the words of one of my favorite people: “I f***ing LOVE Jerusalem”.  Me too!!!  And good timing being there Monday to Thursday, avoiding shabbat.

The tone of this email is quite zealous, I know.  Not to worry… I’m not running off and joining any groups or anything!  It was just really incredible and think it’s one of the most inspiring places I’ve been.  Me, Ms. Non-Religious.  I think that’s why Jerusalem is so incredible, it’s where they all come and live together, albeit separate, but together.  I learned SO much.

As cranked as I was at the aggressive IDF-type Israeli airport people….. it was all very worth it.

30 Magic Carpets from King Solomon

  1. rhys says:

    Amazing Post.thank you for share… looking forward to more.


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