The flight to Israel from Amman, Jordan to Tel Aviv was just a 45 minute hop, and I arrived at 5:00 on a Friday afternoon, the start of the Jewish Shabbat or sabbath. From sundown Friday to sundown Saturday, Israeli public transit, stores, and many restaurants and services close down. The airport was like a ghost town, and the heavy security screenings I’d anticipated did not happen at all.
When I was young and growing up in Massachusetts, I had an almost scary obsession with California. Perhaps it was the influence of TV, beaming images of the “Golden State” into my living room on a daily basis, but to me, California seemed like the Promised Land, and from an early age I dreamed of going west.