First day of our trip to New York, me, Madame and Pest. Edinburgh to Paris flight, on time and comfortable. Landed in Charles de Gaulle and taxied for at least 15 minutes, then stood in a bus hanging onto a meathook for another 10 minutes as we did a tour of this strange aluminium city. Onto our flight to Newark, which again left on time. That is it started taxiing to the runway on time. 20 minutes later we were still taxiing to the runway. Then we took off. The screens showed a view from the cockpit as we sped along the runway, changing as we took off to a view from under the plane. That was fun.
The obligatory headsets were passed out and we had a wide selection of films, TV programmes, games and albums for the journey. I started watching Iron Man 2 for the second time, but lost interest halfway through. I had a read, a sleep, some food and decided to watch a film I hadn’t seen, so I watched The Ghost Writer, which I really enjoyed. Just as it was reaching its climax, it was interrupted by ‘Mesdames et messieurs…’ and was cruelly curtailed as we landed. So I never found out what happened to Ewan McGregor’s character. (Don’t tell me, I’ll watch it again.).
Into the airport for my first steps in the US. This has been a dream since I was a child, captivated by American comics and TV. Flags everywhere, smiling Homeland Security people in blue and very long queues for passport control. Although we were in New Jersey, the panoramic windows of the passport hall showed the magical skyline of Manhattan on the horizon. It was the first thing I wanted to photograph but the omnipresent ‘No Photography’ and ‘No mobile phone use’ signs, together with the number of smiling but armed Homeland Security people dissuaded me. Don’t mess it up now, I thought. We had a little kerfuffle (what a nice word) as we misplaced one of the forms we’d filled in on the plane, dealt with by the guard in firm but jocular way in a wonderful Noo Yoik accent. We’d arrived!
Taxi to the hotel, the first time I’d handed over dollars, and more of them than I’d expected to, but well …. Somewhat disturbed by the way he spent the first five minutes of the drive typing various versions of the hotel name and the word ‘Secaucus’ into his satnav while negotiating the rush hour New Jersey Turnpike, dodging some very large trucks.
The hotel was pleasant and we decided to chill in Secaucus for the evening, hitting NYC in the morning. The waiter in Chilli chatted amiably and brought us free tacos and fruit juice along with the meal. It was now about 10 but our bodies thought it was about 5 in the morning and urged us to sleep, which we did, very comfortably.