The past four weeks have been a crazy journey through Spain and Morocco. I have experienced some of the most intense and rewarding moments of my trip; hitchhiking in Morocco, Thanksgiving dinner, riding camels in the Sahara, nearly getting mugged by a monkey, and reuniting with good friends and making new ones. Overall, it has opened my eyes to cultures and lifestyles vastly different from my own, and made me ponder my own beliefs and culture.
After spending last weekend in Malaga with my Dutch friend Ruud, I had a flight booked to Barcelona then from Barcelona to Tel Aviv that same night. I had been planning on traveling through Israel for a while and had spent a lot of time researching the area and creating a rough itinerary of what I would see. Because of my mom's job with the airlines I was able to get a discounted standby ticket on Spanair. However, when I got to the ticket counter to check in Spanair informed me that they had terminated the contract with my mom's airline and I couldn't take the flight.
This news was shocking and caught me so offguard that I had no idea what to do. The only other flight to Tel Aviv that night was on AirEuropa. I went and talked to them and they couldn't put me on the Tel Aviv flight, so I asked, "where else do you have flights tonight, I'll go anywhere." I must have sounded crazy, but the idea of taking any flight and seeing where you end up seemed so freeing. The only flight was to the Canary Islands, which they offered to put me on.
Very tempting, but I also knew that Sam (my Morocco-Australian travel buddy) was coming to Barcelona soon. I could take the one-way to the Canary Islands or chill with Sam for a few days in Barcelona and re-think the situation. Althought the spontanaity of the first option was tempting, I chose the latter.
Initially a little bitter about the overall situation and being stuck in Barcelona, I ended up having a great time with Sam and loved the city! I decided that I would give Israel one last shot and showed up at 6 A.M. this morning at the El Al ticket counter. I was sure the attempt would be futile, but it was worth a try.
I explained the situation, they made a few phone calls and literally took everything and led me to a search room before I knew what was going on! Someone rushed off with my passport and asked if I wanted a window or isle, so I guess somehow the ticket worked.
After two hours of going through my person, dumping out my entire backpack, turning on all my electronics devices and intensley questioning me about them and looking between and under my toes, I was escourted through security. My security guard was to remain with me for the entire waiting period until I was in my seat on the plane.
Apparently El Al felt bad for basically traumatizing me, so the security guard offered to buy me coffee and a donut, which of course makes everything better. We sat drinking coffee and chatting until my flight was ready to board. Luckily, she was really cool, we had a great conversation and she even offered to ask her friend if I could stay with him in Tel Aviv.
Apparently taking a last minute flight to Israel raises a few red flags...or more like one giant red terrorist flag. Either way, it was an interesting experience and I am happy to be in Tel Aviv. As you can tell, I have been a bit distracted from blogging lately. I have not forgotten...I'm just a week or so behind. Stay posted for some more Morocco stories and pictures.
Ciao for now!