A Rest Arrested, A Connection Made

Dearest Rachel –

I really thought I’d be better at this; given that I was yawning like crazy even as the folks were driving Daniel and I to the airport, I assumed I’d be able to fall asleep on the plane without any difficulty. It was certainly late enough in the evening, and I had what I needed to block out whatever ambient light there remained. I figured I could be relatively rested and refreshed by the time we touched down in Istanbul.

But that’s not what happened. Between the upright position (although you’d think that wouldn’t be a problem; I’ve fallen asleep in chairs more times than I care to admit to, as you well know – we would both tease each other for our occasional inability to stay awake when we wanted to of an evening), the occasional interruption for meal service, as well as the surprisingly frequent turbulence (accompanied by announcements in both Turkish and English for us to return to our seats), it wasn’t easy. The seat itself might well have been a factor, too, forcing me to constantly shift positions between slouching and straight upright, lest I find myself with the rough equivalent of bedsores on my backside – chairsores, maybe?

Although, for all my complaining, I can’t have stayed up all night; it didn’t seem as though eight whole hours had passed once the cart came by for breakfast, so maybe I’d gotten a reasonable amount of sleep after all.

I can’t say the same for Daniel, though. Wedged as he was in the middle seat (although given how skinny he is, he’s the closest thing to an ideal body type for such a placement), he claimed he never could quite get that comfortable – although I did see him at one point, sitting sideways with eyes closed, so he too may have gotten at least a minimal amount of shut-eye.

Neither of us get much rest after being awakened for breakfast, and the next two hours pass by rather slowly. It seems that Daniel has been able to keep himself amused with a Candy Crush-like game throughout the flight; you would likely have been proud of him, both for keeping occupied and his choice of diversion.

***

We pull into the gate at what we would consider to be 8 o’clock in the morning, but which very nearly approximates 5 in the evening local time. Essentially, they’re just ending their workday as ours is theoretically about to begin. It’s hard to say from the highways we fly over whether they’re experiencing ‘rush hour’ as we know it, though. For all I know, they make keep a completely different schedule than we do back in the States.

This seems to be borne out as we flood out into Kemal Ataturk Airport; back at O’Hare, the place would be absolutely crowded with passengers at this time (much like it was when we left). Here? Not so much. Granted, we seem to be in their capacious new wing, but it’s clearly built to handle vastly more people than we’re dealing with here.

We were warned earlier that we would have to go through three security checkpoints while at Ataturk; that turned out to be only partially true. While there were three separate guard posts right at our gate, and we subjected ourselves to all of them, it tuned out that the last one was for randomly-selected checks. It wasn’t necessary for us to bother with that last one. Well, it isn’t as if we were running from one checkpoint to another like on our last return trip, so there’s that.

***

From there, the last leg of the trip was straightforward. An hour an a half in the air, followed by a quick march through Ben Gurion airport security (it seems Junior may have connections here, too, as the process was incredibly smooth. We even had our own border control booth to report to (although it may simply be set aside for processing large groups, for all I know). It wasn’t entirely without incident – one person nearly lost a bag (they found it, eventually), and another had their bag damaged in transit – but by and large, we went from plane to bus quickly and efficiently. Too quickly, in fact – one of the others in our group offered to take a picture of Daniel and me in the airport, but Junior mentioned a spot where a “Welcome to Israel” sign was posted, so we agreed to hold off until them. I don’t know if we missed the sign, or were just moving too fast, but we never saw it, and never got that photograph.

In fact, the only picture I managed to take was when we were assembling in the main court of the airport arrivals section, just before getting on the bus. Somehow, this balloon drifted down from the ceiling to land in the middle of the group. Had it landed closer to me, I would have known who was responsible; as it is, I’m just going to mention it as an aside.

With that connection to the bus made, we rode the thirty-minute drive to the hotel. Since the wi-fi on the bus is literally nothing to write home about – and there is no spiritual significance to either Tel Aviv (where we landed) or Netanya (where we’re staying this evening), I didn’t bother to take notes as the guide described the portion of Israel we were driving through.

However, there turned out to be a little bit of personal significance to the place we’re staying in tonight; it’s the same place we stayed at (albeit for only five or six hours) on our first night last time. We were even on the same floor, although this time, we were in room 1401 rather than 1403. Yes, we were that close.

I think we took these pictures of it just before we left, not just to remind us of the place, but to let Daniel know he’d be pleased to find a separate bathtub in this suite of rooms (as well as rooms to give him privacy from me and vice versa). Needless to say, I’ve given him the master bedroom for tonight, so he can bathe to his heart’s content.

Which leaves me with the responsibility of waking up in time to get showered, dressed and down to breakfast (and Daniel to take care of those last two responsibilities). So I hope you’ll understand if I cut things a little short, honey – Daniel might not get to it, but I’ve got to catch up on my sleep for now.

So for now, take care, honey. Keep an eye on us, and wish us luck. We’re going to need it.

Published by randy@letters-to-rachel.memorial

I am Rachel's husband. Was. I'm still trying to deal with it. I probably always will be.

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