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					                              Pains. trains and automobiles
                                           who had extensively    researched the         There is it was,  my worst fears     in the rush hour traffic of Marseille.
         By GarySussman
                                           various escape options, decided
                                                                      we             confirmed.     had been abandoned         found my friends and we made our
   Like many thousands of travelers,       to make    run south with     third ac-   though it was understandable since way to the airport      after freshening up.
was   stranded in London as    result of   complice.Our destination was Ma-          one was  anxious to get back to his wife Needless to say, the airportnd the El
                                                                                                                                                          a
  volcano whose name       could hardly    drid, which was rumored to be open        who was expecting baby. the train Al check-in was
                                                                                                                 As                              balagan. Somehow
pronounce. And likehundreds of other       for travel.The planwas   to take train    approachedLille my pre-occupation itdid not matter. For once         embraced
Israelis, was anxious to get home for      from London to Lille,  from where the     was   with beingtrappedin Lille nei- balagan. were goinghome.
                                                                                                                                       We
Yom Haatzmaut      (Independenceay)D       two had rented car      rare commod-      ther London nor Marseilles. Nowhere         The nine-hour drive gave me
to be with my family.                      ity whiclTthey    would drive to the      to run;   "Hickin   the   twilight
                                                                                                                      zone   of   chance to contemplatelifeand reflect
   At first,the jokes*   about Iceland     Spanish  capital.                          travel. •:■<                                on what one has especiallyone's fam-
sendj#gBritain ash instead of cash,           They,had booked their frajj}   seats
                                                                                         l^pris^ the G|r rental booths.
                                                                                                   for                            ily,Ijyvas also chance to reconnect
lost with the bankruptcy of the is-        the day before, and it was                               with
                                                                         struggle After failing Euro-car, turned                  with my Habonim   Dror days and re-
land's economy, were amusing.Very          before    got    ticket of my own    on    to Avis. Though the agent at first          callwhat my Aliyahin 1992 had been
soon,  itbecame clear we were    facing      train scheduled two hours later. said there were no cars,          begged and        about. We learned in the movement
an extended     lock-down of European      Things were lookingup when          re-    begged,eventually    appealing be-
                                                                                                                     on           that the essence  of Zionism was about
air space. While watching   the BBC in-    ceived    text message   that they had     half of my wife and young kids. The         takingone's fate as      Jew into ones
cessantlyurned me into an amateur
            t                                ticket for me flying El Al out of
                                                                   on                 attendant finally  offered me    dirty      own   hands. Perhaps that journeyof
volcanologist    overnight, increas-       Marseille the following    day at      00:1car that had just come  in,and    took      my youthgave me the spirit do what
                                                                                                                                                                to

ingly  came  to ponderwhether to make      P.M. The next text message     half an     it alongwith the GPS, having never            had just done and bring  my escapade
   dash home or to wait it out. It was     hour later was less encouraging:   "We     driven before in France.    had to re-      to successful conclusion
hard to tellif the ash cloud was hype      made the lasttrain from Lilleto Mar-      program the GPS because it was set
or for real.All knew was      wanted to            T
                                           seilles.here is morningtrain.    They     to avoid tollsand was goingto send             Gary Sussman is vice president of
be home for Yom Haatzmaut.                 say there are no ticketsbut you willbe    me  on    depressinglyong 13-hour
                                                                                                            l                     Tel Aviv         in chargeof
                                                                                                                                         University,          the de-
    With the help  of fellow traveler      ok. Good luck ."                          journey, and nine hours later was            velopment and public      division
                                                                                                                                                      affairs

				
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posted:2/14/2012
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