Yeah, been a couple years since I've posted anything here. It's been suggested that I blog while in Israel, so here goes.
The trip turned out relatively ok. My flight from Minneapolis to New York was delayed by an hour and a half, and I only had a planned two-hour layover before my flight to Tel Aviv. Consequently, I was seriously concerned about whether I was going to make my connection or not. It turns out I needn't have worried, as not only did I manage to get to the gate before my flight to Tel Aviv left, but that flight ended up being delayed a good 45 minutes or so (after we'd all boarded the plane, of course). Also, apparently Israel doesn't consider the screening job that the TSA does in the US to be good enough, as there was a second security checkpoint between showing boarding passes at the gate and actually being allowed to board the plain. There was no indication of this fact until you're AT the checkpoint (it was through a door at a right angle) and the folks manning that checkpoint were pissy as hell if you weren't IMMEDIATELY ready to jump through their metal detector. Poor planning on their part.
Once we were in the air, it was a fairly uneventful flight. It was long (about 10 hours in the air), but not as long as Minneapolis to Tokyo. Once I landed and went to passport control, the nice lady behind the desk there told me that I'm supposed to have a student visa, even though the University of Haifa never mentioned any need for one and I'm only going to be here for 4 weeks.
After waiting at the airport in Minneapolis for about 4 hours (because of the flight delay), flying for a bit over 2 hours to get to New York, sitting for about 11 hours in the 747 going to Tel Aviv, getting through passport control and baggage claim, I had an hour and a half long train ride to Haifa, where I was met by a long-time customer of Uncle Hugo's, who gave me a quick tour of Haifa before taking me back to his place where I will be staying tonight before heading to the dorms tomorrow. Dinner will probably be happening within about a half hour, and then I get to see how much longer I can stay up. It's 5:30 here right now, and I'm not especially tired yet, so maybe I'll be able to get onto a reasonable sleep schedule relatively quickly. Here's to hoping.