Borders: Adventures in Israel (Part One)
Month Ten. Lineholder. #TLV.
After fourteen hours at Schiphol Airport in Amsterdam, I was ready to depart. My first attempt at flying to Tel Aviv was unsuccessful, but now I was more determined than ever to make it.
Israel or bust.
The extended stopover did give me time to think. About where I was going. And why. This trip came up as sort of a last minute surprise. Kara had e-mailed me about Israel, but I was unsure about my schedule. I was working a lot the weeks leading up to the trip, and wasn't even sure that I wanted to go.
But the best adventures are always unexpected, and so I packed up my backpack, grabbed my hiking boots and got on an airplane.
After the long day at Schiphol, it was finally time to go to Israel. I got on a KLM flight bound for Tel Aviv and settled in for the five hour hop, the buzz of Dutch and Hebrew-speaking passengers lulling me to sleep.
I awoke to singing. A tour group of some fifty middle-aged ladies were passing around snacks and wishing each other a Happy Shabbat evening. Their enthusiasm and joy was contagious. Shabbat Shalom, I nodded to them as we landed. Everyone clapped and cheered.
I landed in Tel Aviv in the middle of the night. Warm, tropical breezes escorted me out of the airport and towards ground transportation. I easily found a sherut stand and loaded myself into the shared taxi, bound for Jerusalem.
An hour later, the sherut was whisking me through dark streets and curvy highways towards Jerusalem. I was afraid to blink my tired eyes; I didn't want to miss a thing. Before I knew it, I had arrived at Abraham Hostel in the center of the city.
Warm colors and a smiling woman at the front desk greeted me. She handed me my room key and explained that breakfast would be served in just a few hours. I nodded, surprised that it was now six in the morning. She pointed at the board and asked if I would be joining in the tour of the West Bank at eight am.
My brain calculated my lack of sleep multiplied by the long journey and I paused, unsure.
But then I looked out the window at an ancient city just beginning to wake up. I noted an Orthodox Jewish man hurrying somewhere, his long curls flowing in the early morning breeze. A street vendor setting up a stand. The sun just beginning to show its light.
I am here. And I want to see everything.
Yes, I answered. I'll be there.