Tuesday, September 16, 2008

My Trip To Israel, Part 1

(I'm typing up what I wrote down in Israel, throughout my trip. The first nights, I wrote immediately that night, but as the trip went on, it got harder. The last half, I wrote on the plane ride back. There is a lot I want to add, but here is my basic diary of what happened.)
Day One

It is about 1:00 AM. Israeli time. If I had slept any in the past 30-some hours (the on-again off-again naps in the airplane seat do not count!), I would be able to tell you what time it is in New York, or Cali. So you'll just have to do the math instead, 'cause I haven't slept.
I made it to the airport before the 9:00 PM-if-you-come-a-second-later-you-are-not-going-to-Israel deadline. I excitedly chatted with my friends who I hadn't seen in a few months.
We made it past security and to our gate, with about two hours left before boarding. Great.
Over 10 hours on a plane. Can life get any better? No matter which position I tried, I couldn't get into a good sleep. Every 10 minutes, for a bout 2 minutes, was what I had going for me.
It was cool to see the bochurim making minyanim, doing mivtzoim, and making themselves at home in the back of the plane, with the complimentary wines for L'chaims. It was very heimish.
When we arrived at Ben Gurion, I was so nervous and excited. ISRAEL!! ISRAEL!! I just kept repeating that as I made my way through Passport Control. Surprisingly, there was no Customs that we needed to go through. But we didn't complain. I got my Amigo phone (and the fanny pack) and plugged in some numbers. I waited with my luggage. I kept looking and staring around me.
We met our tour guides (is there an Israeli guide who can't play instruments?) and heard a bunch of rules from a few different Birthright representatives.
We got onto our bus, after Maariv in the airport shul, and drove from Tel Aviv, north to the Golan, to a place called Chispin, where we'll be headquartered for the next four days. Simple rooms, but clean. And I heard that the shower is good, so I better get going.
On the bus ride from the airport, Eliad our guide told us that all the green lights we saw to our right (going up K'vish Shesh) were for mosques.
There were lots of lights.