Gulliver’s Travels: Israel

〉By Gulliver P. Travels | CONTRIBUTOR AT-LARGE

Gulliver’s Travels is a weekly blog by travel expert and cynic Gulliver P. Travels. Read about his other adventures here.

TRIP TWO: JERUSALEM

After my miserable experience in Hawaii last week, my expectations for this week’s trip were pretty low. I didn’t want to be anywhere near the Middle East. I hate the heat, and I’m very concerned about terrorism.

As soon as I arrived at the airport, everything went to shit. I wasn’t able to check in for my flight, because the ticket reservation was made under my old name, Bill Sanchez (I was recently forced to change my name to Gulliver Travels as part of my contract with The Inquirist). It took nearly half an hour at the check-in desk to clear up this issue, and as I hashed it out with the ticketing agent, a large line formed behind me. This made me very uncomfortable, because I felt like everyone waiting behind me blamed me personally for holding up the line.

Finally, I got my boarding pass and made it to the gate, but because of the earlier delay, I no longer had time for the sit-down meal that I had planned to enjoy at the Romano’s Macaroni Grill in my terminal. Not wanting to take a 16-hour flight on an empty stomach, I decided to get a meatball hoagie at my terminal’s Subway.

Getting my Subway sandwich wasn’t easy. I am a very “go-with-the-flow” type of guy, so I found myself paralyzed by the dizzying number of choices the sandwich artist forced upon me. First, I was asked if I wanted wheat bread or Italian bread. I know what wheat bread is, but what the hell is “Italian” bread? That name tells me nothing about the qualities of the bread. I decided to play it safe and go with wheat. Then, I’m immediately hit with another question: 6-inch or footlong? I was hungry, but I wasn’t sure I could eat a whole foot’s worth of bread and meatballs. I wish the Subway artists could have made this decision this for me: after all, they’re professionals, and I’m just a travel reporter.

Jerusalem is a city of about 800,000 people. Founded in ancient times, historical documents like the Bible often referenced the area. In 1948, Israel became an independent nation.

I kept that rich history in my mind as I went to the Hertz car rental depot in Tel Aviv right outside the airport. After I got my car, I began my drive to Jerusalem. A few hours later, I was there.

Jerusalem turned out to be a city of contrasts. On one hand, I was really hungry from the flight over here, because the only thing I had eaten that day was the 6-inch meatball sub I got at the airport. On the other hand, Jerusalem had lots of Subways for me to eat at.

Travel tip! Subway sandwich artists are obligated to give you as much mayonnaise as you ask for. Load up!

Once I was done eating, I made my way into the old city, which is older than the new part of Jerusalem. It went well enough. My shoelaces kept getting untied, because I thought it was considered rude in that culture to tie shoes tightly. I’m not sure where I got that idea but I now know that is not at all true.

Overall, my trip to Jerusalem could have been much better if I had checked in for my flight online. I also should get TSA Precheck, but that’s only for domestic flights so I guess I’m out of luck. 

Nathan Mostow and Nate Odenkirk were lightly consulted for this article.