1) Ben Gurion is a shiny new airport (they just redid it a few years ago) with free wireless everywhere. They forgot, however, that if lots of people are enjoying all that free wireless, they might like, you know, an electrical outlet or two ANYWHERE to plug in the object from which they’re enjoying the wireless.
2) Bizarrely, my laptop, with just about zero battery capacity, managed to stay active and useable for like an hour and a half (with the battery indicator at 1% for most of it) while I waited at the gate. It was like the magic rice bowl that never gets empty. I dunno how or why, but I’m not complaining. I wound up having to close it up and board before the thing died on me.
3) United States security now is longer and dumber than ever. Having zoomed through El Al’s stuff–being thoroughly checked both in my personage and baggage by friendly, efficient, and competent people–and then getting to the US and having to wait in this long, clunky line while cranky people x-rayed my shoes and inspected my lip gloss… I mean, for pete’s sake.
The feeling that the people at the TSA really have no idea what they’re doing was stronger than ever. They should a) X-ray every checked bag (which they seem not to do) and b) have someone on staff whose job it is to do more than just look at the carry-on bags. and c) we should not have to strip down to practically our skivvies just to get through the metal detectors. One has the sense that they’re getting hung up on the wrong details.
I have come to somewhat weirdly enjoy the little chats I have with the guys at Ben Gurion whose job it is (while we wait in line for something else–so it’s not really an extra step, mind you) to see if people are nervous and twitchy (which means they get further screening). We talk about how I learned Hebrew, why I haven’t made aliyah, what I’m doing in Israel, where I hang out in the US, what my name means… they’re always random, because they’re really checking my body language–they don’t really care where I learned Hebrew. Anyway, the difference between my experience in a country where there’s an ongoing issue of people actually trying to sneak bombs into places and my experience with this clunky, long, inefficient and ineffective process in my home country is marked.
4) Long days of flying when you keep kosher are hard. Yesterday my diet consisted mainly of pretzels, muffins, power bars and a bag of potato chips. I had even bought a sandwich at Ben Gurion to take with me, but I then got hungry waiting for my flight from Tel Aviv, so I, you know, ate it.
5) I wonder how long I’m going to keep waking up at 5am.