BLAST has landed, I assume safely on Victoria Island. At least, the SIP readings indicate 937 feet altitude and zero air speed. Somewhat ahead of schedule, apparently due to faster-than-expected winds over Canada. This means they got in less observing time than planned, which is unfortunate but not necessarily a huge problem.
So, we grade. And they feed us. We eat. And we grade. And we eat. We eat breakfast, then grade for two hours. Then they provide us with a tasty snack. We grade for two hourse, then go to lunch. We grade for two hours, then receive another tasty snack. We grade for two hours, then go to dinner. After that, many of us drink beer. It is a simple life.
Spent the morning up in Tel Aviv, mostly to pay a fee to and subsequently pick up my tickets home from Iberia Air. This would have been a quicker process if I hadn't somehow wound up on the world's slowest sherut.
Sherutim (this translates roughly as "services") are what you get when the free market decides that the bus system is pretty good, but not quite good enough. Private companies operate passenger vans that follow more-or-less the major bus routes; you flag them down like a taxi to board, and pay based on how far you're going. This typically winds up costing about twice the equivalent bus fare, but this is worthwhile since the service is usually much faster, both because there are more sherutim than busses on the route, and because they don't stop for more passengers once the ten or so seats are filled.
This arrangement seems to work pretty well, and it common throughout the Mideast. They are especially popular in Israel, though, since the Intifada bombings have left many Israelis skittish about riding public busses, not to mention the fact that they run longer hours and on Shabbat, when public services are closed by law.