3:30 am We are sitting in the Tel Aviv Business Class lounge waiting for the first leg of our flight home via Lisbon to board. After three hours of fitful sleep it's hard to stay awake and I'm guzzling coffee, hoping I don't doze and miss boarding. Security in Tel Aviv was thorough and efficient. After a brief interview it all proceeded pretty much as it would at home, except we got to leave our shoes on. Ken's carry-on got an additional pass due to an overabundance of wires, but that's happened to us every so often most everywhere. The limo ride here from Jerusalem was quick. Only crazy people are running around at 1:30am.
12:15pm Lisbon time. We had a two hour mechanical delay in Tel Aviv. They didn’t know there was a problem until we were already on the plane. I woke up after a lengthy nap and was shocked to see that we were still on the runway. Now our too long layover in Lisbon for the flight to Chicago became a reasonable one. Ken was pulled aside again for an even lengthier security check. Can’t wait to get on the plane and sleep again.
6:30pm CST Twenty-six hours after we walked out of our Jerusalem hotel, we walked into our home sweet home. Half an hour later FedEx rang the doorbell, delivering the ostrich egg decorated in the mosaic style that we bought in Jordan. Everything went smoothly; Israel is just a longer way from home in actuality than it was in my mind. When we book a long trip like this we always wonder if it is worth it to pay for business class. We flew TAP, the Portuguese carrier, because it was the most economical choice with a stop-over in Lisbon. There were no non-stop flights to Chicago. (There are now. El Al recently began service). But fresh from the experience I am writing here to remind myself what a difference it made today. Sitting in seats that recline gives you a fighting chance to get some sleep without getting deep vein thrombosis from lack of movement. Once we landed we were first off the plane and made it through immigration in record time. The Global Entry app was also a help. By the time we got to the baggage carousel, our luggage marked "priority" was spinning around the belt and we were out of there. Once my brain clears I intend to write a "final thoughts" entry. I need some time to make sense of all the new experiences we have just enjoyed. We are looking forward to a short stay at home before we head back to warmer weather after Christmas in Florida. Unpacking will quickly become repacking. We have a great life!