Over a year passed since we arrived in Israel, when the original Corona strain Alpha exported out of China, death-harvested the glob, in the first wave, and until we returned back to CA, coinciding with the Delta "stunt" Indian variant, which had taken over the world's stage centers. Like a spinning wheel staying in place...
Apparently there are multiple other variants"actors" 'circulating the globe riding on the traveling carriers, who spread them diligently around, according to monitoring agencies sisyphusicly tracking them, but not that efficiently managing to control the dissemination.
The hall at Terminal 1 in the Ben Gurion Airport where the required Corona PCR test has been administered, 72 hours prior to the flight itself, for the nominal fee of 45 NIS only, was literally almost empty. Barely 10 passengers showed up at mid morning of July 20th.
Amazingly and most efficiently, only 15 minutes passed from when we parked the car, entered the designated hall, were tested, and were out of the airport.
Passports and flight tickets needed to be brought in and on line appointment scheduling, prior to arrival, speeds up the process.
Later that afternoon within 7 hours we received our NEGATIVE results.
On the last day of our elongated 13 months stay and right on the day of our flight departure the “Grand Finale” scene culminated in our both but separate “frick” stumbles.
David slipped on some clear plastic, trashing the sidewalk when walking late afternoon back home, from executing a last minute errands. He twisting his ankle and bruising also his knee, on which he landed and braked himself.
I missed a step, right before the taxi arrived to pick us up at 10pm, to the airport, when taking out the last pail of garbage, and landed flat on my face, on the sidewalk next to the house, also bruising my knee.
The psychedelic “stars” I envisioned, following this bad stumble, coinciding with the excruciating sharp pain, were not those happily winking off the dark clear sky.
The bleeding of both our knees was luckily minor and brief, but the “blue tattoo” patches which decorated our quite tan skin, here and there, were of a surreal artistic creation, and not of our choice to be exposed…
We arrived both limping at the airport’s departure hall, which for most add reason was, so much more crowded and busy at midnight than it was when we flew in early morning, about 3 weeks ago, to Greece
The security lines and the boarding process to the 2 flights United Airlines was servicing, simultaneously to both Newark - NJ and to San Francisco - CA were looong and took forever. even for business tickets holders.
The main difference in passengers to these 2 destinations was that almost 2/3 of those traveling to Newark, were either ultra religious or orthodox with hoards of kids and luggage.
When our midnight flight was also delayed at the airport after boarding, for almost an hour, due to malfunctioning of the cargo doors, we started having a strange sense that, along with the earlier falls, some elevated force was sending “warning signs” that departing Israel may have not yet been in the cards…
With the reimposed limiting instruction being enforced in Israel, due to the increase of the Delta variant infected cases, we were definitely ready to return to CA to reconnect with old friends, check out what happened in the house during our year of absence, and get ready for our daughters and grands planned visit in 3 weeks time.
This was the first time we took ever the long direct United flight from Israel to SFO,
The flight was completely full, Masks were on, for the entire flight, and only off when dining. and service was good.
However it was not the service standard, nor the beds nor food, not even the media programs, when compared with the ones offered on BA flights, which we have been flying for years, and have been spoiled by.
Upon Landing 14 hours later, at 6:00am, in SFO the density and volume of travelers which filled the SFO Passport control hall, forming a loong waiting lines, truly shocked us.
I have not seen so many travelers in any of the airports we frequented, (in the UK, Greece, and Israel) since our travels during the Corona year.
An airport staffer revealed that the hall used to be almost empty until about a month ago when air traffic had picked up.
It took an hour winding through the orderly formed lines, as to finally check out through the Passport control, and luckily only half an hour a taxi ride during a reasonable morning rush hour, to get across the Bay Bridge back home.
Once entering the house, after a year long absence, a second shocking scenery hit our scenes.
Photo by Pnina who visited the house this year
In addition to the mountains of piled up mail and parcels, that took over the house’s entry hall, the Wisteria vine plant, which its aggressive branches climb and cover the house's exterior front, invaded and penetrated through the cracks of the 1913th old sliding windows, straight into the house’s interior.
Long leafed obstinate branches hung tangled inside the top 3 house’s rooms and that of the kitchen below, creating a small forestic "jungle" ambiance.... in a perfect match to
the pool's water color which turned from blue to green.
Furthermore, a range of flying insects and other uninvited creatures, adorable when living in nature, but not when in, found a fine shelter inside the house, during our prolonged absence, and now were forced to evacuate the premises. immediately and unconditionally,
It took us 10 hours of constant cleanup work, with the assistant of helpers, to clip off the invading vine, eradicate the squatting creatures of nature, dust out the powdered surfaces, call a plumber to unclog few water pipes, run loads of laundry, and revive the 2 battery-dead cars, before the house became relatively ready to be inhabited again, by its rightful owners, and until also groceries could be attained, by a functioning car.
The only upside of such hard labor, was that the sheer physical exhaustion knocked me completely out, for the entire night, on my first day back at home, with no jet-lag interruptions, until the following morning's early awakening..
With the next morning also came in the sad news about a dear friend - Micah - who passed a way last night, after a long battle with a lung disease,
Our heartfelt condolence to his wife Tova and family.
May they know no more sorrow.
May his memory be blessed.
And may we, our love ones, and also the rest of the world, from now on, be endowed with more heartening experiences and news !