So I landed in Tel Aviv at 4:10pm Israeli time. It was 8:10pm Chicago time and I wished Boost mobile had international service so that I could begin texting. Instead, I tried to preserve all the sights and sounds to memory so that I could write about it later.
Going through immigration was easy thanks to my Israeli passport. I didn’t have to wait in the foreign passport line and instead breezed through the Israeli line. I apologized to the female agent (who looked about 12) that I couldn’t speak Hebrew. Sometimes the agents give me a rough time. Today, she didn’t. She stamped my passport or darkon (in Hebrew), and I was good to go.
I walked up a broken escalator, down expansive hallways, around a half-empty food court and made my way to baggage claim. I was happy to see that Ben Gurion airport didn’t charge for luggage carts. I hauled my overweight suitcases onto the cart, and wheeled out into the muggy Tel Aviv evening.
Luckily the signs were in English, as well as Hebrew and Arabic. I found my way to the Nesher, or shared taxi service to Jerusalem. The ride to my folks place was uneventful, except for the woman speaking extremely loudly on her phone. And, the crazy driving which included going over a curb by mistake. Ah yes, the driver drives like me. And I drive like Israelis.
It was nice to see my folks, my pregnant sister, and her boyfriend. We ate homemade pizza and chatted about life and our relatives. My sister showed me the local trails on google maps, and I’m looking forward to a run tomorrow.
I know I’m in Israel from the nanna tea. Nanna means mint, and Israelis make their tea from fresh spearmint leaves. Reminds me of when my Israeli grandmother used take leaves from her garden and make this warm drink. I must have been about 6 or 7.
Tomorrow is Tu B’shvat…the Israeli celebration of the trees. We’re going to the “souk” or Jewish market. I remember the market as a run down, dusty, fly ridden adventure with a cornucopia of spices, carcases hanging from meat hooks, fresh veggies on display, vendors with cigarettes from their lips and ashes falling into the nuts and fruit below. A cacophonous chorus of humanity. My mom says it’s gentrified and now there are fancy boutiques. I hope they didn’t kill the flavor.
Okay, that’s it for now…..