Thursday, December 29, 2016

A wet, cold, windy welcome home


The easyJet small-ish jet left Geneva promptly at 7:05 am while it was still dark.  A crescent moon hung in the sky as it gradually got lighter and lighter.

Snow on the Swiss Alps made the mountains visible even in the semi-darkness of pre-dawn.  

The pilot was happy to announce that with our strong tailwind the flight would take only 3 hours 40 minutes, but to expect some turbulence.  

Just before reaching the eastern end of the Mediterranean, our clear blue skies got full of clouds, and snowflakes rushed past my window. 

The pilot said Ben Gurion airport was experiencing severe weather and we would have to "hold" over the sea until a landing was possible.  
We flew slow and low over the water for some 40 minutes, just drehing around in that holding pattern. 
Finally the Israel coastline appeared and we went in on an unusual route I've never seen before.

The landing, thank God, was fine and everyone applauded.  
There were big puddles of water everywhere.  
When we walked out into the Arrivals Hall a tall crane was inside, and two men were fixing the ceiling panels.   
All it takes is a big rain (usually the first rain) to flood and paralyze this country. 


William Kendall said...

What a difference between destination and arrival!

Dina said...

But wait, there is more. Here is the end of the journey story:

I went down under the airport and took a short train ride to Tel Aviv. There, sheets of rain were coming down in freezing wind. brrr! Trains coming in from all over the country were delayed and sometimes their platform was suddenly changed to a different one. Escalators were not working and some people coming from the airport and wanting to go toward Jerusalem had to shlepp their big suitcases up and down stairs to the other railroad track across the station. Announcements were being made mostly only in Hebrew. Slightly chaotic.

Lucky for me, the train to Beer Sheva was on time and OK. For over an hour we rode through wet land, where big puddles and little new lakes had just sprung up, and little creeks had become rushing streams. Flooding all around.

Coming out of the Beer Sheva North train station, I discovered that while I was away they had moved the bus stations. It was just too easy before, I guess, just to get off the train and go downstairs to your bus. Now I had to quickly wheel the suitcases through muddy puddles to way out on the main street.

I fell asleep on the bus to Meitar. (No time to sleep the previous night.) Exactly when it got to my bus stop at 4:30 pm, a cloudburst. I ran the half block to my place with wet suitcases in tow. It must have been around 5 degrees plus driving wind.
I came in wet and freezing to my long-empty and therefore cold ground-floor unit, but I was happy to be safely home again. Turned on the heater full blast. I was amazed at how much calmer and milder the weather--and life--had been in Switzerland in comparison. And I missed the warmth of Grandchamp.

Hels said...

Welcome home! Be safe! American Secretary of State John Kerry said about Israel “it can be Jewish or it can be democratic.” Tragically everyone is talking about Intifada Mark III starting up :(

Cloudia said...

Sush an adventure!

Dr M said...

Despite your cold, wet journey of "a thousand miles," welcome home to a land of lovely chaos. I am thinking your absence must have precipitated all the shenanigans! Happy New Year be yours, Dina!

Jackie @travelnwrite said...

So happy you made it home safely, I always cringe when they start warning of 'possible turbulence' and going into a holding pattern puts my nerves on edge. I've enjoyed your posts. Happy New Year!!

Sandi said...

The world is such a small place these days!

Alice said...

Oh my!!! Happy you are home safe Dina

Petrea Burchard said...

Sounds like California. I'm glad you're home safe. I hope it's not difficult to get used to Meitar's "city life" after your quiet solitude.

Richard Lawry said...

Wishing you a Happy New Year from An Arkie's Musings. I have enjoyed reading your blog over the years.

crystal said...

You must be happy to be home again. Strange that the weather would be better in Switzerland than Israel.

PerthDailyPhoto said...

Welcome back Dina. I have to say your description of your flight and the bad weather as you were coming in to land would, as you can imagine, have freaked me out 😀 Sending you health and happiness wishes for the new year from Perth.

Dina said...

Thanks, all, for your good wishes and interesting reactions!

Perth DP, but really, no worries. There was almost no turbulence after all, and I enjoyed the extra flying time in the holding pattern. But then, I love flying. I hope someday you will too.

Crystal, just read that Switzerland had the driest December since sometime in the 19th century.

Richard! Happy to see you here again! Give my regards to Arkansas.

Petrea, well, actually it's quieter here in little Meitar than it was in the busy monastery. :)

Dr. M, I like your "welcome home to a land of lovely chaos. I am thinking your absence must have precipitated all the shenanigans." A good description of the land! And you may be right about the "precipitation" because the rain was only for that one day of my arrival and now the sun shines, in the Negev at least.

Hels, let's see what changes come. Here not many are predicting a new intifada. But, well, Switzerland it ain't.