The Long Journey Home

3 Oct

Baxter and Lulu at Ben Gurion Airport

The driver arrived promptly at 2 a.m. We loaded all our bags and kitties in their carriers into the van and made our way to Ben Gurion Airport. Lulu cried nearly the entire way. And Baxter puked on his towel just minutes before arriving at the terminal. All standard and expected behavior for those two. Check-in at the airport was smooth and speedy. I was a bit miffed, though, that no one even asked to see the paperwork for the kitties that I’d spent so much time and money preparing before our departure. After we checked into the flight and paid for the kitties (they were flying as “excess baggage” at $200 per cat) we wheeled Baxter and Lulu in their carriers to an elevator where a Lufthansa employee took over and whisked our kitties away. It broke my heart to part with them and I prayed we’d soon be reunited safely in the U.S.

A four-hour layover in Frankfurt was mitigated by being able to hang out in the Lufthansa Senator Lounge, thanks to the subscription frequent flyer Brad had invested in. In the lounge we had comfy chairs, free wifi and free food at our disposal. And a Lufthansa rep checked on the kitties for us and verified that they had safely arrived and were resting in the “pet lounge.”

On the shuttle from the airport to the rental car facility

We arrived at Dulles Airport around 3:30 p.m., about a half-hour early only to find ourselves waiting in an hour-long queue to go through passport control. Ugh! While we were shuffling through the line, I spied Baxter’s and Lulu’s carriers way against the wall on the far side of the baggage carousels. As soon as we got through passport control I made a bee line for the kitties while Brad collected our luggage. Both Baxter and Lulu were alert and appeared healthy and there were no messes in their carriers. Baxter was hunkered down in the far corner of the carrier while Lulu cried and paced back and forth in her carrier. She calmed down as we began wheeling them out of the baggage area. We breezed through customs. Again, no one asked for nor looked at any paperwork relating to the cats. We loaded our bags and the kitties onto the shuttle to the rental car facility where we picked up our rental van.

At the rental car facility

By the time we hit the DC Beltway it was 6 p.m. We heard scarcely a peep out of Lulu and Baxter on the drive home. We figured by now they’d resigned themselves to their fate. We drove first to our house where we dropped the kitties off for the night. We opened the carrier doors and they both burst out into our empty house, and began exploring every inch of the house — jumping on top of counters and cabinets, nosing into closets, running up and down the stairs. I wondered again if they recognized  the place.

We’d arranged to have kitty litter waiting for us there and had brought cat food with us, so they were set for the night. By then we were famished and decided to stop off for a bite to eat before checking into the hotel. Luckily, one of our fave Thai restaurants is located just around the corner from the hotel. It was 9 p.m. by the time we checked in. We’d been on the road more than 24 hours. I slept like a log.

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4 Responses to “The Long Journey Home”

  1. jody October 7, 2012 at 11:54 pm #

    Welcome home Lenora and Brad and kitties, we missed you.

  2. Alan October 8, 2012 at 5:43 pm #

    So glad you’re home — but all that leaving-Israel commentary seemed a bit saddening.

    • Lenora Genovese October 9, 2012 at 2:58 am #

      Thanks, Alan. Yeah, it was tough leaving…I made a lot of good friends there and enjoyed some great experiences.

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