And here we go, continuing the documentary spree, as it were. Below, a bit of setting.
Late update: Xylo the groomsman has his version in photos, for those of you so inclined.
Following, there was dancing, and a feast of Indian cuisine -- I polished off the last of my leftovers on a plane four days later -- and at last, time to boot out the couple.
Of course, the ride had to be ... improved.
Never did get the laptop onto the internet well enough to post pictures. Pity, that. But now that I'm back in Israel and can just plug my drive directly into the 'net, here they come, just as fast as I can crop and color-correct them. So here's the first batch. As usual, I'll dump high resolution versions on the web if there's demand.
So, without further ado, congratulations to Laura and Sawyer. They make a lovely couple.
Got back to Israel today.
Interesting that the prevailing winds actually make this flight over three hours shorter than going in the opposite direction. But we just about made that up sitting on the tarmak in Newark, so it's still been an aggravatingly long time on a plane.
Now that I'm beginning my second two-ish month stint here, I'd like to resolve to get out more. It's kind of embarassing how little of this place I've seen so far. But I have the excuse that all autumn I was busy with the run-up to various things. No such excuse this time.
Below the fold: incompetence.
I don't know if this is a general feature of Continental desk agents, or just the one in San Antonio, but this latest trip also featured at least one brush with sheer incompetence. (I say "at least" since I don't know exactly why we sat around in Newark for so long. But part of the delay seems to have been due to the fact that you have to take off within twenty minutes of de-icing, and since they sprayed us about four times, we seem to have kept missing that deadline. Which sounds stupid.) At any rate, my agent was either given pretty nonsensical instructions, or can't read.
See, if you're going to Israel on a tourist visa, they won't let you in unless you can prove that you have a return ticket. Pretty standard for countries that have a problem with illegal immigration. But this lady seems to have gotten it in her head that
My silly agent was unmoved. So since I didn't have my return ticket on me (it's safely locked in my desk drawer back in Israel, which seemed like a sensible thing to do with it), before she'd let me check in (because the Israelis would apparently fine Continental if they had to throw me back) she made me buy a seat on a flight from Israel to the US! Fortunately we were able to drum up a fully refundable one that would fit under my credit limit. Thus I got to travel with the added peace of mind granted by having a thousand-dollar-and-change slip of paper tucked into my wallet.
Necessary? No. At the immigration checkpoint, they didn't so much as ask when I'd be leaving, and they certainly didn't demand to see a return ticket. So I'd like to know: has anyone else had this sort of problem, or are we dealing with an isolated outbreak of idiocy?
We started worrying when, in the space of a month, four hurricanes struck Florida, the Red Sox won the World Series, and a plague of locusts descended on Israel. Now we can add another one to the list: a white Christmas in south Texas.
My sister's been proclaiming global warming all morning.
Now go endorse that holiday check from the relatives over to the ICRC or your own favorite relief agency. Snow is fun and fluffy, but tsunamis are neither.
I blinked and suddenly it's Christmas Eve!
Normally, south Texas has much the same climate as central Israel, but you wouldn't know it from the weather since I've been here. Which has given me an excuse to keep a merry little fire going in the Franklin stove. Otherwise my stay in San Antonio has been a blur of decorating, cooking, sorting out relatives' travel woes (my sister is no longer a big fan of Northwest Air, and is now more familiar than she'd ever wanted to be with the Oklahoma City bus station), and generally pulling off the family's annual caroling-slash-Posada-slash-Christmas party. Being as the air temperature has been hanging about just on the toasty side of freezing, attendance was low, but fun was had. Wimps. The wind chill back in Minnesota last night was flirting with that magical point where the Farenheit and centigrade scales cross.
But I can't complain. They don't even
Photos of wedding, caroling, and whatever else strikes my fancy, once I have time to sort out getting my laptop online properly.
"I have come here to chew bubble gum and get married ... and I'm all out of bubble gum." -- Sawyer
So the wedding went off in Atlanta without any user-visible hitches, and a lovely one it was. I'm jetlagged and have the collaborators' meeting in the morning, but watch this space for pictures. Stats so far: Tuesday lasted for 30 hours and I covered 10,350 kilometers, give or take.
Sorry for not posting from Atlanta like I claimed I would, but my laptop was having issues with its wireless card (fixed with a kernel update now that I'm in my sister's apartment and can connect directly).
Somewhere -- actually, 10,670 kilometers from here in Georgia according to my e-ticket -- there is a hotel with my name on it. Or to be more precise, a hotel containing friends of mine who have agreed to let me crash in their suite for a day. Supposedly it has wireless, too, so that's probably where you'll hear from me next.
In about 26 hours. Over 16 of which will be spent on airplanes or in airports. Woo.