The rambling thoughts of a Modern Orthodox Chassid (whatever that means). Contact me at emansouth @

Friday, December 07, 2007

On Top of Things, As Usual

Last June I was in Asia for a few days on business. It was a hectic trip, starting in Tokyo on a Monday and ending in Beijing that same Thursday. Since my business concluded too late on Thursday to allow me to get home for Shabbos, my choices were Hong Kong or Israel. I chose the latter.

I never expected to see what I saw at the airport in Beijing. El Al's Thursday night flight to Tel Aviv was completely booked. In fact, business class was overbooked.

When I got to the counter to check in, the manager, a native Chinese, practically begged me to accept a downgrade to coach. He offered a free business class ticket and 300 Matmid points on top of that. After thinking about it and getting his assurance that I would be assigned an aisle seat near the front, I agreed. (My thinking went as follows: I'm little, I have an ambien, and it's a late night flight that gets in around 4:30 a.m. What's the difference if I sleep in coach or business class?).

The look of relief in the manager's face was palpable. I think he wanted to hug me (I assume he was now patur from being screamed at by some prust Israeli businessman (of which there were many on that flight)).

All of this, by the way, is a preamble to the point of my story.

Yesterday morning, I booked a reservation using that voucher to go to Israel for four days around the time of the celebration of a certain lapsed Jew's birthday (which I hope to spend making believe I'm learning with OYS at the Mother Ship). In the afternoon, I walked over to 45th and 6th (the building in which the restaurant, My Most Favorite Food Company is housed) to get the actual ticket (which had to be done in person).

When I got to the security desk and asked for the El AL office, the attendant said, "You're five years too late. They moved five years ago. They're at 15 East 26th."


I thanked him and sheepishly walked out the door. Nothing like being on top of things.

Postscript: Expecting the worst, I showed up at El Al this morning at 8:55 a.m. I was the first one there. I got my ticket within 15 minutes. They were friendly and courteous. Must be the Chanukah spirit.



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