It was truly a relief to get to Amsterdam. The interrogation in Tel Aviv wasn’t too bad this time around, although the woman at check-in demanded that I check my bag. My same small bag that I had carried onto the plane on both previous flights, no problem. There was a problem this time, though: ‘they will never let you on the plane with that bag,’ she insisted. Okay, okay, I said.
As our plane touched down in Amsterdam, the stewardess announced, ‘those
of you headed on to Minneapolis will miss your connection. Contact the ground
crew when you leave the plane.’ No! I decided to run for it. And I made
it, to the other gate! Out of breath, but there. The fellow there who questioned
me – grilled is probably a better word – was intimidating. He asked
many questions. He said, ‘you seem nervous.’ I said, ‘they
told me I was going to miss this flight! I’m out of breath from running!’
He needed to know, did anyone give me anything? Yes, I said, and I produced a bottle of olive oil. He unwrapped it and examined it. He took it over to his colleagues to have a discussion about it. They all examined it. He came back with more questions. ‘What do you plan to do with the olive oil?’
At least then I could see some humor in the situation. I’m hereby starting an open-ended contest: to come up with a good answer to the question, ‘what do you plan to do with the olive oil?’
On the flight back westward, there was less cloud cover than before, so that I could easily see large expanses of the British Island. It was dramatic to see how the land gets hilly and rocky and much more desolate, towards the southwest corner. In that respect it is quite like Wisconsin.
The sun followed us for our entire journey back across the ocean. We left Amsterdam at 10:30 AM and arrived in Minneapolis at 1:15 PM. At an official flight duration of 8 hours 51 minutes, this makes for a very long noontime.
Several hours after leaving the British Isles behind, the view below changed dramatically: now it was nothing but ice. Ice in swirls, ice in patterns with straight lines cut through them, large patches, small patches. Having this back-lit by the sun all along the way made it possible to see even the ice chunks below surface, with their varying shapes and colors.
We skirted the north shore of Lake Superior, right along the Canadian coast. It was magnificent to be able to see both sides of the lake, in the same view! What an incredible sight!
When we got to Minneapolis, I wanted to kiss the ground, as the Pope does when he travels. It took me awhile before I actually saw some ground, though: all was snow-covered.
My bag did not manage to come with me on to the flight to Minneapolis. Imagine that.
I did get it back, safe and sound, the next day, and if it had been searched, which I will never know, nothing seemed to be missing.
Mr. Vanunu and I agreed that, when next we meet again, we should like to do it in Wisconsin.