Monday, July 06, 2009

On a brief visit to Israel

here is what struck me

- Security at the airport of departure was a little more elaborate than the usual, but not remarkably so (I guess the security guys in El Al are trained to make it appear inconsipicuous)

- no one queued at the Gate to airplane in the airport. I guess that is typical of the hard-driving individualism that marks Israel today?

- on board the flight, the staff were certainly the most attentive I have ever experienced - not excluding any of the other airlines that have had my praise so far

- however, there was no apology for the airplane landing late!

- I have visited Israel only once earlier - 26 years ago! My recollection of Ben Gurion Airport is of a rather sleepy place, more or less comparable to Basel Airport. So I was totally unprepared for the monumental but attractive (as monumental as the largest US airports, but even more attractive) place that the airport at Tel Aviv has become. There is a spacious, alegant, pleasant and well organised green circular area which you approach off the landing area, and then go off this to collect your baggage and so on

- at the border, the officers (guards?) were in smaller booths than is usual in Switzerland, but the booths are staggered one slightly behind the other, for greater privacy

- in the baggage area, I am impressed by the steering ability of man with an extraordinarily long "snake" of luggage trollies - till I discover that the "snake" is driven by some sort of engine from the rear (very clever, haven´t seen that anywhere else - have the Israelis imported this from somewhere? Are they exporting it?)

- when we emerge from the airport and drive up the coast towards Haifa, I find that we are sort of cutting through at least a part of Tel Aviv. To my eyes, the city is halfway between Frankfurt and any city in the US - but much larger

- for a sunday afternoon, the traffic was incredible - very busy 3 or 4 lane highways all the way till just short of Haifa almost at the northern extremity of the country

- signs of hard work and industry everywhere - you can see the effects of Israeli activity in patches, transforming the land from its original Arab aridity to something more like central or south India

- Unlike the airport where no one queued, on the road, there IS lane discipline. The result is a moving traffic jam doing around 30 at the worst for a few seconds but moving along mostly pretty smoothly at about 120 kmph

- The roads here are much better than in Switzerland now

- During the 90 minute journey from Airport at Tel Aviv to Haifa, we see not a single tank, not a single soldier, not a single gun.

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1 comment:

Olega said...

I liked this story! Thank you.