It’s three o’clock in the morning and I’m wide awake. I really need to sleep! I’ve just finished two very full weeks of work in Israel and am thoroughly exhausted. I was hoping to take advantage of the five-hour flight between Tel Aviv and Paris to get some shut-eye, but it’s not going to happen. My seat mate has horrible body odor and is snoring loudly. I keep poking him — pretending I’m sleeping and that my jabs are accidental — but he refuses to wake enough to notice. I hope I’ll have better luck on the leg from Paris to Atlanta.
A highlight of this particular travel experience was being frisked by security. It started as a normal, expected process. I walked through the vacant Sky Priority lane and right up to the conveyor belt. The agent greeted me with instructions to remove my boots (even TSA Precheck doesn’t like high heels) and jacket (note to self: fashionable zippers are not security-friendly). I then walked through the screening machine. Immediately lights flashed and deafening beeps were heard. I was baffled. I wasn’t wearing jewelry or a belt. I had no pockets, so I wasn’t carrying change or keys on me. The female guard pulled me aside and began scanning my body with her wand. Again, beeping sounds were heard, so she began to pat me down. While I may have been sleep-deprived, I certainly was wide awake and mildly embarrassed as I realized the male guards were amused and watching a bit too intently. It seems the metal detected came from something they were accustomed to finding (thank you, Soma, for the underwire and hooks sewn into the bra I’m wearing)..I smiled and shrugged. Of all people, I imagine French men are intimately familiar with lacy lingerie. So be it.
I took my time; leisurely strolling down the concourse hallway. The Paris airport feels sprawling. Gates to make connections seem impossibly far away. I’m glad I went for the longer layover. Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson pumps through far more traffic, but this one feels equally big and hectic…except at six o’clock in the morning. The place is sparkling clean, bright and eerily quiet. Many of the shops are still closed; problematic for one who has three hours to pass. Thank goodness for Duty Free where the staff is alert and welcoming…”Bonjour, Madame! Parlez vous Francais? Anglais?” When it comes to buying the latest and greatest of my all-time favorite fragrance, words and languages don’t matter. One just has to point with delight. A limited edition (thank you, Christmas!) body oil will join my Chanel No. 5 collection.
The Air France lounge was pleasantly empty and uneventful. I happily settled into a comfy chair with a double cappuccino, surrounded by plenty of outlets to charge my various “i” necessities. As I checked email, Facebook and WhatsApp, I smiled to myself as a small group of Israelis showed up and made themselves at home nearby. Their Hebrew banter reminded me of the productive and successful two weeks I just spent in Tel Aviv…my home away from home…a place that’s filled with people, places and things that I love. I sneezed. One of them said, “God bless you.” I replied, in Hebrew, “Todah.” They laughed.
Now I’m back on a plane. It’s the last leg of a journey that began three weeks ago. New Year’s in Paris was special and my time in Israel always is meaningful. (Thank you, Randi, for letting me do laundry at your place!) The year is off to a great start and it’s now time to go home.
And, the guy in the seat next to me this time is VERY easy on the eyes…Yes, this will be a more pleasant flight…