Day 2: Safe and Sound
Trip Start May 19, 2009
30Trip End Jun 16, 2009
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During the flight, we were treated to the not-unexpected sight of our religious neighbors standing to daven (pray), covered by talitot (prayer shawls), and "laying tefilin (phylacteries)." On the other hand, my very secular young Israeli neighbor, heading home from two months in America, spent much of the flight standing near the bathrooms with a friend, both drinking copiously from a large bottle of liquor
After that, it was all a rush, in both senses. We passed through passport control and baggage claim quickly and bypassed customs entirely. The tour agency we contracted with (we're on our own but they booked most of the hotels and arranged for transfers to and from the airport and for our car rentals) had an agent to meet us, who put us in a cab. Our speed (in mph) on the busy freeway to the city matched the temperature, both in the low 80s. Being back, seeing and hearing Hebrew everywhere, the different mix of people, the terrain, the architecture, the cars, the advertisements, the men and women in uniform--that was a rush, too. I can barely believe I'm here. Somewhat surreal.
Our cab driver refused a tip with a big smile. Maybe he didn't want dollars, which is all we have. The hotel is a converted cinema, smack next to the famous Agam "fire and water" fountain off Dizengoff Sq., a famous spot. There's a lot of cinema memorabilia, cameras, etc. on display. The room is simple but fine, and it has a decent view. Soon I'll wake Kevin, then we'll probably wander the area. Oh, and when I asked the receptionist for something to cut the lock off my luggage, I discovered that my missing keys were still in the lock, having made the trip safe and sound, too.