We took El Al from Los Angeles to Tel Aviv. Robert told me El Al stood for "every landing, always late". We were supposed to arrive to the gate 3 hrs. before our flight, but because there was no traffic, we got there 3 1/2 hrs. early, so we were first in line. There were about 4 police with AR 15 carbines and Beretta hand guns. Robert's comment, "they're here for crowd control, once they open the ticket windows, there will be a riot"...not. He can make cracks about the Israelis because he's one of them. Me, I'm Jewish by conversion, and as my friend Richard, a NYC Jewish blue blood said, "Benner, there is not nor will ever be a single Jewish gene in your body". Probably true since my grandmother and her sister traced our linage back to Charlemagne...enough digression. Because my passport has my maiden name and my ticket didn't, there was a slight hiccup, a little interrogation by the El Al security, everyone else was passing through but us. After deciding I was okay, they let us proceed. My fit bit caused a little concern in the X-ray scanner and subsequent pat down, but it was no problem. We tried to upgrade to Business class, no luck.We boarded the plane and eventually departed, 45 minutes late. We couldn't get our carry on bags under the seats because there was a metal bar...I pulled out my iPad, loaded with 4 movies and 5 books, I was ready. The airplane (777-200, nice plane) looped TV system was horrible, couldn't start a movie at the beginning. Gave up on that, and went to the iPad. They brought my gluten free meal, which was a baked chicken, not dried out, it was good. I was one of about 10 (probably the only shiksa) people on board who didn't speak Hebrew...they finally started talkin' English to me. I REALLY liked the flight.. all 14 non stop hours. The people were interesting...groups of children, going with a chaperone, Hasiddic Jews, regular practicing Jews (with tefillahs and prayer shawls, praying all during the flight), and just people, Hebrew of course. In spite of initially feeling like a stanger in a strange land, I felt comfortable, and very safe. The security was as you would hope it would be, not half assed. You felt that it was the way it should be...not slip ups. We flew at 39,000 feet over the North Pole, then south to the North Sea, Germany, Balkins to Mediterranean, into Israel. There were big thunderheads, it was a bumpy landing. No bells on this flight, in the US, it would be a 3 bell landing. We landed on one wheel, bounced, and then landed on 2...darn good job. Pilot had probably flown Israeli fighter jets, since all Israelis are required to serve in the military. Anyway, as luck would have it, ha ha, there was again a checked baggage problem...the carousel quit working, again with people jumping up on the carousel to remove their bags, JFK all over again. Of course our two checked bags were the last bin to come down, but hey! we got our bags. Stopped to pick up our WiFi hot spot, changed some money, then into the cab for our ride into Tel Aviv. We're very pleased with the Hotel Dan, modern comfortable room. The concierge made a reservation for us at Bocaccio, Italian/Israel restaurant across the street. We showered, put on clean clothes, and off we went.
|Beautiful sunset as we left our room|
The restaurant was wonderful, the decor was sort of bohemian, with sculptures and pencil portraits of the employess crafted by the chef!
...as we entered, an intoxicating aroma of fresh seafood engulfed our senses. The menu was accompanied by an iPad with the usual wine list, all Israeli wines from the Golan, Judean Hills, etc. (and I forgot to mention that from what I've seen so far, Israel is just like CA...same vegetation, same arid conditions, same wine growing areas),
PLUS, it had pictures of the food, such as my eggplant appetizer, a fanned Japanese eggplant with mozzarella and pesto...it was yum!
How about chicken rolled with cheese and bacon...I told Robert this is where Israelis come to get their treif on.
|iPad photo...cool, huh?|
And what dinner is complete without a selfie?
Tomorrow, Robert's childhood friend is picking us up to take us to the cemetery where Robert's mother is buried, and some other site...I figured I've been awake for about 28-30 hours...my way to get on Israeli time...night!