It's a little over three months until the first wave of staff members head over to Ashkelon. Rumor has it that the Lab has undergone some significant changes, that it may not be recognizable to those of us who have gotten used to its dilapidated glory. The word "grass" has even been mentioned...
Wanna see it? Well, you have to get over there first and which airline you choose can either be a no-brainer or an lengthy process involving archaic formulas, a throw of the dice and who knows what else.
Since I first went to Ashkelon I've flown many different airlines: Tower, El Al, Air Canada, Swiss Air, KLM, Lufthansa, Iberia and maybe one or two I no longer remember.
My favorite stories come from the early years and were both on El Al. In the old days, way back when, the excavation organized group flights -- it also organized and sponsored trips to Egypt but that is another story and a lifetime away -- usually leaving from New York, usually on El Al. So my second or third year I was traveling on the group flight to Israel sitting behind Anna C., a very funny, smart supervisor. When it was time for dinner service the stewardesses came down the aisle asking passengers what they wanted to eat, "Chicken or beef?" Anna made the mistake of asking, "How is the chicken prepared?" The stewardess looked at her as only an Israeli can and replied, "It's hot and it's dead. What more do you want?"
The second story comes from a trip home when it turned out we were traveling with an American youth orchestra that had been in Israel performing. Halfway, perhaps earlier, into the flight they decided to play and to a one, the got out their instruments and started playing -- including a kid who got down on one knee by my seat and played his violin. It was certainly the most unique live musical performance I've ever heard.
What stories will you have to tell?