Today I really haven’t done much. I tried recovering (yet again) from the flu/cold/whatever it is I have. I’m not fully recovered, but I feel better considering that I had to take my stuff to JFK and fly to Canada today.
I think some of the ticketing service people at the airport like to play cruel games with the travelers. For example, today when I went to get my boarding pass at the American Airlines desk, the person there looked through all the pages in my passport and suddenly asked me “do you have a visa to go to Canada?” In the most politically correct way and hiding my panic I answered “I was under the impression that Israelis do not require a visa to get into Canada.” Without saying a word, the massive clicking of the keyboard started. And it lasted for about a minute or two, during which I considered the begging technique I was going to use. Or, as the great Kevin Smith would say: “Whose dick do I have to suck to get into Canada?” Keeping a completely straight face (I’m sure he got many points in the Prank-A-Passenger contest these people were running) he gave me my boarding pass.
As I sat down at my gate (way way too early) this Indian-looking guy handed me his iPhone to have it charged using my netbook’s USB port. I’m amazed at how trusting he was. Here I am, sitting pretty far away from him, and I have his iPhone. I can see when he’s not looking and simply walk away with it. I wouldn’t even hand my crappy camera to people to take pictures of me, fearing they will run away with it.
I keep being asked if I’ve met other people on the way. That’s a good question, and the answer is that so far I’ve met three different people:
Malka is a Jewish American girl from New York City who speaks fluent Hebrew (her father speaks only Hebrew at home) that came to Israel to attend a wedding and was there 9 days. We sat right across from each other on the flight to London (with an empty seat in between) and then she was seated behind me in the longer flight to JFK from Heathrow. We had very nice chats between naps and got separated in the different lines for US citizens and non-US citizens upon entry to the customs area at JFK (she was supposed to befriend me on Facebook, but didn’t)
On the first day I didn’t have a coat and was walking around Times Square. Waiting for a “go” sign to turn on I suddenly heard “Aren’t you cold? You don’t even have a coat.” I turned around and saw a smiling African-American woman. I was surprised at the fact that she initiated the conversation but was grateful for it. I told her that I’m wearing many layers and that where I come from I don’t use a coat. She asked from where I was from and I told her. Turns out she was in Israel before, visiting with her church, and she plans to visit again this May. So we talked about it and had a very nice chat. I asked her to recommend a good diner and she did and so we parted ways. It was indeed a good place to eat (I forgot the name of the place.)
And today I had the third encounter with a guy who was born in Tokyo and at age 16 moved to the US to a foreign host family without knowing a single word in English. He went on to study and graduate, and now he’s traveling until he starts his new job later this year back in Tokyo (he’s 25 now). A pretty amazing life story. In addition, we’ll both be in the UK at the same time (April) and later on he’ll be backpacking all the way to Israel. Naturally, we exchanged numbers/emails and I invited him to call when he’s in Israel. I’ll hook him up :)
I got to Toronto today, a short 1:15 hour flight from JFK. My friend Kosta and his family are hosting me. I’m now getting ready to go to bed. Tomorrow (Friday the 30th) – skiing for the first time.