My three month international journey started off a little rough. The Greyhound bus station in Detroit told me that my ticket 'had already been printed' and that I 'would have to purchase a new one'. Wha? I hadn't printed anything and who cares if I did? What does that matter? Initially, they insisted that I buy a whole new ticket. Finally, an employee had mercy on me and lead me back to an office to print a new one. What a huge pain in the ass. The ride to New York was going to be a long one.
After a solid fourteen hours on the Dirty Dog, my dear friend Manuela Petzold drove all the way to Philadelphia to pick me up and took me to New York in comfort. Thank you, Manuela!
The two days I spent in New York with her were extra special. She took time off work to really show me the city and to treat me to all the best ice cream that NYC had to offer (ice cream is a big thing with her).
Tuesday night she took me to JFK airport. Israel's airline, El Al, does NOT mess around with security. They spent a full 30 minutes interviewing me and going through every bit of my luggage. This is even before regular airport security. They were polite and efficient but VERY thorough.
The flight was a tough ten hours. The seats could not have been closer together. The flight attendants were very kind and even the food was good but I could not WAIT to stand up and walk around.
Of interest, the passengers on this flight were about 10% Hasidim (Hasidic Jews). At about 4am, every one of them got up from their seats and performed an elaborate prayer ritual. It was fascinating to watch.
The plane finally landed and I took a taxi to the Abraham Hostel. My friend Noam Gal (aka Amtrak AT '02, PCT '14) picked me up and invited me to his home. He treated me to delicious pizza and helped me plan my hike with specific details. His help was invaluable.
By the time I got back to the hostel and climbed into my bunk bed, I was beat. I slept like a rock and woke up early, eager to get one step closer to the start of the Israel National Trail.
Don't do this. Whatever it is, don't do it.