Friday, January 22, 2010



It’s official, I cannot sleep vertically on a plane.  And no, the 3% decline doesn’t help.

It’s also official, we are in Jerusalem! In the last 24 hours we’ve said good-bye to the Getchells at the Newark Airport, travelled across 7 time zones, landed safely in Tel Aviv, took a harrowing cab ride to and through Jerusalem, unloaded our 25 bags in our temporary apartment and walked down the street to the local Falafel house to eat.

A few of the details…



This is what luggage for five people for four months looks like, all nine checked bags and eight carry-ons. We had each of the large checked bags at maximum capacity (50 pounds), in fact one was 1/2 pound over but they overlooked it. We got to the Newark airport around 4:45pm EST, for our 8:20pm departure, big safety margin. Getting the bags checked and making it through security were both a breeze. 



Both flights were smooth.  We got to see the cool new De-Icing machines put to use in Toronto.  The long flight to Israel, while long and uncomfortable, at-least had a large selection of head rest movies and we were provided two meals. It was cool taking off at night, flying into daylight and landing in the dark again.  The worst part of the flight for me was the last 45 minutes.  Israel flight regulations require the seat belt sign be lit and enforced the last 30 minutes of flight.  About 1 minute after it started I needed to go … I’ll spare you the details, but I was really worried I’d be targeted as a nervous terrorist as I squirmed my way to the rest room in the airport after deplaning.


Landing in Israel

In the airport, MOST things were marked in both Hebrew and English!  The little luggage carriers were free, very helpful for lugging 25 bags to our taxi.  Customs was not one bit of an issue…we found our way to the “shared taxies” and got our gear and us all loaded up pretty easily. 

Outside Ben Gurion International Aiport, Tel Aviv (notice Lillian posing).

Sharut – Shared Taxi Ride

The Sharut, or shared taxi is a cross between a small bus (seats 10 + luggage) and a taxi.  For a fixed fee of 50 Shekels (about $13ea), we were transported the 45 minutes from the airport to our front door. The ride was fascinating, exciting and a little harrowing.  Taxi drivers around the world must all attend the same international bad driving school.  The highway between the airport was wide, pretty straight, smooth and modern.  The 4000 year old streets of Jerusalem another thing.  The 45 minute ride made Colleen sicker than the 11 hours in the plane. Fortunately we arrived safely.

Our First Apartment

We will spend the first week at one location and then move to our “permanent” housing for the remainder of our stay.  Our first place is surprisingly spacious and modern.  It has a wonderful view of the Knesset (Israel’s legislative branch). 

Here’s a view out our back window
(each one more zoomed in):


We’re at a higher floor (think steps), with modern heating and air conditioning, TV and internet.  On the roofs of the buildings around us are all these little solar heated water tanks.  This is how you get hot water (although there is a backup electric water  heater).

DSC_0001_01Solar water heaters on building rooftops.








You can click the interactive map to see our Jerusalem travels and locations. We’ll update it periodically.

Updates to come after we roam around the city today.





A Message from Lillian

Lillian wanted to “post a blog too” so here you go:

She typed: “yukcvfghyjyuji9opawa2q1e34”

Lillian interpreted: “Lillian likes hotels” and “laughing all the way” (Jingle Bells is stuck in her head).


Unknown said...

Ugghh....tears rolling down my cheeks!! I'm so excited for all of you!! Having a little empathy for Lillian right now being the youngest - who won't remember it - so make sure she is in lots of the pictures! lol.

LOVE her blog and LOVE Tally's!!! It's fun to read about your trip from their "perspective" ;)

The apartment looks so nice! Much more modern and spacious than I would have imagined. Any idea what your next one will look like or where it's located in relation to this one? Are you guys in an area where you see signs of the war?

So glad you guys landed okay. The video with Colleen sleeping was hilarious!

God bless you guys and praying for safety. Love you!

Anonymous said...

Yay! So glad to hear the trip went well and you guys are getting settled in. Funny, Ally actually made falafel last night for the school project she was doing (see Tres' facebook pics). Your apartment looks great! I am so excited that you guys are actually there and can start enjoying life in Israel.


BTW, Celine's sneakers were the first thing I saw sitting by the front door when I got home. Bummer! I guess you'll have to do some shoe shopping...

Eric Robishaw said...

Regarding "are you guys in an area where you can see the war?":

There's really not a war going on over here. What you have instead are areas (nowhere near us at all) where the Arabs want more land but are held behind walls and complain with more than words. Its more like civil unrest with car bombs than war, per se. But even that is very rare... more rare than the random shooting sprees we've seen in recent years in the US.

Honestly we haven't had any reason to feel unsafe yet...