On the other side of the security barrier was a rather unnerving cluster of green uniforms and big guns. They seemed to be trying to be non-intimidating, one of them smiled and wished me a good day, but it was still strange to see in an airport. Along with the intercoms constant promises to destroy any non-supervised baggage. A different world than last year.
Business class continued to rock on the plane. Leg room! A seat that practically reclined to horizontal! A built in back massager! We even got higher quality blankets and pillows. The choice of four movies failed to help me, however, because they were all pretty lame. Though I watched a Discovery channel documentary later.
The lunch was particularly amusing. They brought out trays with a salad and a seared tuna carpaccio. Which seemed like a bit of a light meal, but hey, it was lunch. Then I discovered that you get *courses*. That was the appetizer, lunch was shrimp paella. And because it was a different world, the knives were gone and replaced with plastic ones, and the stewardess grumbled at the raggedness of the wine cork, because they aren't allowed corkscrews anymore. I commented that as crew they could do plenty of damage without need of a corkscrew, and she hefted the bottle. "Yup. Broken bottle to start with."
I got into Dulles, at the farthest end of the midfield concourse from the shuttles. Eventually made it down to baggage and there were my mother and sister for hugging. I really do miss seeing my family as much as I used to. Only bad thing about the move to California.
They took me home, and I hugged my dad and then finished decorating the tree, and setting up the creche. This is a set my grandmother Tabor brought back from Israel. By the rigid holiday rules of our family, it must be set up, because it is Traditional (having been set up for years while my grandmother was alive and having Christmas dinner at our house.) By the somewhat anarchic nature of the same family, it's not exactly, um, normal. This year the wise men were presenting gifts to the Infant Frosty, and baby Jesus was riding the reindeer. My mother is arguing for the wise men sacrificing Jesus to the salamander, though. Right now the salamander is just chasing the reindeer.