Sunday, July 24, 2011


We got to New York without any major difficulties, apart from a lot of turbulence somewhere between the West and East Coasts, but I was asleep so I avoided noticing any of that. Navigating JFK was not an absolute joy though. After we'd rechecked our luggage with a cheerful man (possibly a function of arriving at 7am, long before their social skills have been eroded by contact with the public) we walked over to the inter-terminal train, and then waited fifteen minutes for a train to go from terminal 7 to 8. Finally we gave up, after 3 trains had gone in the other direction, and took the following train in a big circle round to terminal 8, via 6, 5, 4, 3, 2 and 1.

Still, at least we got to the terminal (eventually) - or rather, to the train station that's a few hundred yards from the terminal, so then we yomped over, and then looked for check-in desks, and then went up two floors to find them. Compared with Hong Kong, where the train takes you to an air-conditioned tunnel right by the check-in desks, all these huge areas to navigate seemed crazy.

Half an hour until our flight was departing, and there was a huge queue of people for the two American Airlines staff checking people in. I sent my fiancee off to hustle her way to the front of the line, and, that being done successfully, we went over to line up for the security pantomime of taking off our shoes, removing laptops from bags, and so on. When we got as far as the passport check, the woman asked me what my name was.

I told her.

"No, your full name" she corrected me. So then I spent some more time reciting my multi-syllabled name, while she beamed at me, and then she pointed out that I look nothing like my passport. Which is true - I did think of telling her that it's summer, so I have ditched the beard, but then I thought I might also say "and when I had a beard, I looked like a terrorist" so I thought it better to keep my mouth shut.

From the security line at Terminal 8 to Gate 31 it's a short walk.

And then a long walk.

And then a very long, slow escalator down. And then another walk. And then another slow escalator up. And then a very, very long walk all the way to the end of the terminal, with not a travelator in sight until you're a few hundred yards from the end. Honestly, after all that I thought I'd walked as far as the Canadian border.

The plane was fairly small - one of those things that packs about 45 passengers (which I think we managed to fit 60 into when we flew around Taiwan) - and overbooked - they were offering people 450 dollars to change to another flight - but having walked all around JFK, I didn't want to spend any more time in it, so we took our seats and flew over to Canada, and then I could finally put an end to all this travelling for a while.


Post a Comment