Sunday, January 8, 2012

Day 1 - Departure Day

Part 1 - At JFK

So we're here... And Shockingly we all somehow managed to be on time. So after a bit (or in our cases-hours) of waiting we gathered our things and began to process through El Al Security. And what a process it was.
We had been warned to expect some rather extensive questioning from El Al staff, but we had no idea what we were in store for. Let's just say their reputation for strict security is well deserved. After processing through and laughing over that we naturally wanted to get in a last meal in America (if airport food can even count.) Dinner at Buffalo Wild Wings gave us a chance to bond, make new friends and try Benjamin's unique sandwich of cheddar, butter, mustard and pickles on french bread. We regrouped, circled up and did the mandatory ice-breaker. We learned some cool facts about our soon to be BFF's and got a taste of just how awesome Yael and Scott are. So now we're playing the name game, seeing who we know in common from home and waiting to board our ten hour flight - to begin our adventure.

Part 2 - Arriving in Israel

So we're on the bus. We've picked up our cell phones (well those who ordered them did) and we've exchanged money. Learning you get 365 shekels for $100 and we are ready to head to the hotel to shower and eat.

We met our tour guide, Raz, who is really funny, we'll see how long that lasts. We're running about an hour late thanks to Israeli Customs lines. We met Moti our bus driver and found out our bus has free wi-fi (This is amazing!!). We also met Yaniv who is our medic/security guard. The free stuff just keeps coming tonight as we got itineraries, maps and journals. We honestly think we're just happy to be off the plane as we were forgetting what life was like outside the plane. Guess being stuck for that long made us melodramatic.

So post-plane we have a few tips for future travelers -
1. Don't touch people's seats as you walk down the aisle. ("Dude, I was sleeping")
2. Don't lean your seat back all the way, it's just poor form.
3. Don't try to push past people when the aisle is clogged. "Excuse me" doesn't give me anywhere to go.
4. Wake up0 your neighbor for meals.
5. Just remember the golden rule.

Leah, University of Mary Washington '11
Carrie, George Mason University '13

P.S. Mom - I'm safe, having fun and love you.

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