Sunday, June 18, 2006

Arrival (almost a travelogue)

Don't even ask. To give you the punch line, I arrived 24 hours late, no harm done. A line of thunderstorms crossed through Connecticut on Wednesday; my scheduled flight never left Hartford altogether; having missed my flight in Newark, the best Continental could do was to put me on the same flight set for Thursday. So I went back home, slept in my own bed, and then started all over on Thursday morning, taking an early flight from Hartford that was designed to avoid the remnants of tropical depression Alberto, spending 8 interminable hours in Newark, and then making it off to Tel Aviv.

One interesting aspect of the trip was when I tried to print out my new boarding passes from home. Continental's system wouldn't let me do so, and in the morning when I went to the kiosk it pushed out a boarding pass marked with the infamous "SSSS" code ("Selected for Secondary Security Screening"), which meant I would get the full treatment by the TSA staff at Bradley. Wanded, patted down, all my carry-on subjected to some hi-tech sniffing (and I even got a false-positive). It was almost quicker than the normal line, and not a single intrusive question asked of me. So much for security.

Once here, everything has gone swimmingly. I've spent a couple of days with my buddy Yoav and family. Last night I went to the final session of a national event known as Shavua ha-Sefer ("Book Week") where publishers sell books at enormous discounts. Normally, I go nuts at this event, but for whatever reason my heart wasn't in it this time and I bought a paltry 2 books. Today I'll have lunch with a former Trinity student and her husband, and tonight begins the Tel Aviv University workshop on the Arab-Israeli conflict.

Not much else to report: the weather is fantastic with pleasant evenings; Yoav's new Loewe LCD TV is quite a German technological marvel; and the United States scored a point in the World Cup. I also learned the best way to handle jet lag: drink large amounts of 18 year-old single malt on the first night; I slept for 12 hours straight and have been fine ever since.

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