January 7th – aka “The Day that Wasn’t”

It seems that the only time I’m not nearly as bothered by the shorter amount of daylight is when I’m flying. There is something that thrills me when I get to see the Capital Mall all lit up and waiting for people to come see the monuments at night. This was my view as I left for Israel.

Granted, on a night with temps in the low teens, I’m sure there are precious few that have chosen to do so. My thoughts turn to those who have no choice but to be in the elements. I pray they find a measure of warmth.

Warmth, or rather, the lack thereof was an issue at JFK. My flight from DC experienced a delayed departure because they had no gate for us to land at. Thankfully, I’d planned my connection to include a 4-hour layover at JFK. At least, there was no worry about missing the connection. But then, at JFK, my flight had a 4-hour delayed departure because they had no one available to fuel the plane (also, during fueling, the ground line froze…they had to call in a truck to deliver the 130,000 pounds of fuel that we were short!) or supply the plane with food and beverages. At least that’s what we were told. (I now understand more fully that all of our delays were due to a water main break at JFK that required all hands on deck to deal with the mess!)

At least there was no worry for warmth aboard the Delta Airlines A330 aircraft as we cruise at 37,000 feet with an outside temp of -80 degrees F. However, with our delayed (3:30AM) departure, we were instructed to close our window shades to allow fellow passengers to sleep since we would shortly be flying into daylight. We ate, we slept, and, after 8 hours of flying, I reopened the shade to discover we’d missed daylight entirely! It was nightfall already for Sunday, January 7th…as if the day had never occurred at all…at least the light of day hadn’t for us on Delta flight 468.

Thus, my first views of Israel & Palestine came by cover of darkness also. Yet, unlike like the strange aerial view of fire blasts that I saw while entering Iraqi airspace, Tel Aviv’s aerial view seems more reminiscent of DC’s.

Instead of arriving at 5:30 PM, we arrived at 9:15 PM. Our flight crew bid us our final apology for all of the delays and thanked us for our patience one last time. We were sent on our way where, thankfully, after all of the traveling I’ve done, experienced the easiest entry into a country ever (maybe getting my Global Entry pass helped), quickly obtained my luggage and a few shekals from the ATM, and headed out to be greeted by a smile I’ve been long missing to see in person again!

All of the delays, though easy enough to bear, were washed away upon being reunited with my dear friend. I felt like the little girl who, as the plane landed at Ben Gurion airport, gleefully shouted, “hip, hip, hooray!” Funny how well that works! Though, the delays meant we had limited time to do our catch up as we arrived at his home at 11 PM with need for a 5:45 AM wake-up. With only 3 hours of “plane sleep” under my belt it was time to call it a night…a night without a day. Farewell January 7th…I hardly knew ye, but you yielded a gift…much as is possible each day we choose to claim it. This new journey is sure to yield something interesting each day. Thanks, in advance, for “riding along.”

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