Saturday, June 1, 2013

Israel Travel Log--Day 1: Saturday Night Newark Airport

Flew out of National Airport earlier this afternoon and just finished a steak dinner here at Newark Airport with one of my fellow travelers, a guy I know from the DC Navy and Political scenes.  We're now seated in the United Club, awaiting the departure of our flight to Tel Aviv.  Flight is a little over 10 1/2 hours, right through the midst of my normal sleep cycle.  I'm quite sure I'll sleep through most of it.

As I indicated yesterday, I am--as is my custom--in full dork travel rig.  A white UVA ball cap, a white t-shirt from my trip to St. Croix three years ago, the ever-present Adidas track pants, brown walking shoes and a blue blazer.  The blazer really comes in handy because of all the pockets, great places to stow stuff as I work my way through security.  I am undertaking this trip in true Tom McGrath style--just a simple wheeled carry on bag and a smallish knapsacky kind of thing for my various computing devices.  I have this laptop, an iPad, an iPod, a cell phone, and a digital camera.  I've got more computing power than the entire North Korean nuclear program with me.

I am here in the splendor of the United Club not by virtue of the usual $50 payment, but on the basis of the kind seating arrangements the folks from AIEF have arranged for us to fly to and from Israel.  Biz class both ways, baby.  That means club access.  Flat seats.  Wide aisles.  Helpful flight attendants ("can I take your jacket, sir?") When I was invited to take part in this trip, I must admit that I hoped it would be thus, but I did not expect it.  A great way to travel.

This is a nice airport, Newark.  Easy to get in and out of.  Good places to eat, and plenty of shopping for those so inclined.  I like flying in and getting a good look at the New York skyline--including the new World Trade Center.  Such a powerful looking city.  I think that if I die without having lived there (Manhattan), I will not consider it a true "regret", but it is somewhere on the list of things I'd like to do someday.

A few minutes ago, I read  that the President played golf today.  Good for him.  He deserves to get out and hit a few.  What surprised me was that the round took 5.5 hours, and was played on a military course at Fort Belvoir. Since I cannot believe that he doesn't have a hole ahead of him and a hole behind him to himself--or at least that there isn't a foursome right in front of him--my sense is that he has the course essentially to himself.  How the hell does it take 5.5 hours to play a round of golf when no one holds you up and you are driving golf carts?  Quite a few Mulligans, I suspect.

As I am missing the older Kitten's graduation, I must be careful not to cause undo churn upon my return.  This means that I will likely remain clean shaven throughout this visit.  Were this not the case, I'd get a head start on the two weeks of vacationish downtime I'm planning when I return from this trip and get a good beard going.  The women of my house consider the growing of a beard to be an act of great defiance on my part, a follicular  "thumbing my nose" at their view of all that is clean and wholesome in mankind.  I, on the other hand, believe a week or two's worth of growth adds a rakish angle to the cut of my jib.  I can assure you, if the Kitten goes through with her plan of doing a little travel this summer, I will grow the full Monty.

On the three TV screens above the bar are three different sporting events; the NHL playoffs, the NBA playoffs and a Yankees/Red Sox game.  I could not care less about the hockey.  I have no idea who is playing of in what stage the playoff is.  I am mildly interested in the outcome of the basketball, as I've come to be a pretty fair LeBron James fan (is that how his name is spelled by the way?).  But my eye keeps wandering to the baseball, not even a third of the way into the season.  I am determined to watch more baseball this year.  And to golf more.  Haven't done either, but both are goals.  I am going to a minor league game later this month, so I got that going for me.

Ok, that's enough for now.  I don't think I'll get around to another entry until tomorrow night (Sunday) just before bed.  But by then, the journey will be well underway.  Until then....

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