Back in the US of A
New York Travel Blog› entry 41 of 42 › view all entries
A short stint back in New York; just enough time to visit a few friends and catch a sleep and a shower before I resume the final leg of my journey home. I got to New York via a two hour flight from Cape Town to Jo'berg, an eight hour flight from Jo'berg to Cairo, and a twelve hour flight from Cairo to JFK. The flights were averagely pleasant but far from awesome. Cairo Air has slightly older aircraft, so you don't get the movie screen on the seat in front of you like you do on Virgin; instead you get the movie screen that folds down from the ceiling every 5 rows. I had seen most of the movies being offered anyway, so it wasn't a huge loss. The food served by Cairo Air was decent, and I've learned that one should always select a special meal, be it vegetarian, low fat, kosher etc. For some reason I had ordered the low fat meal option (perhaps I had psychically predicted the weight I would gain from the excess amount of beer I consumed during the cup) and when the meals were served mine was the first to arrive. My food did look slightly more appetizing than the normal meal, but it was the quick delivery that made me the most happy. I will make it a habit to order a special meal on every upcoming flight that feeds me.
On the way back through customs, for the first time in my traveling life, I was picked out of the crowd and sent off to a special waiting area for further scrutiny. I had nothing to hide, so I wasn't worried, but I did wonder if I had done something strange to warrant being separated off or if I was chosen at random. It ended up being no big deal - I was simply made to take some folder up to a desk and sit and wait 45 minutes until I was called up and asked ridiculous questions. No shit - I was asked if I had been to a terrorist training camp while I was in South Africa. If you've read the rest of my blog, you'll know that terrorist training camps were not part of my itinerary, so I told the customs agent no. Then he asked me if I was a Navy Seal, to which I also replied no. That was good enough for him, so he stamped my passport and sent me on my way. It was a fairly strange experience.
New York was hot as hell and humid to boot and I had about 80 pounds of luggage that I was dragging along with me. To get to Brooklyn I had to change trains twice, and while on the train I tried to arrange my 80 pounds of luggage so as to take up as little space as possible, so as to not be an asshole. It took me a painful hour and a half to get to my friends house, and by the time I made it there I was drenched in sweat and had a large bruise on my shoulder from where my luggage strap had rubbed my skin raw. My friend was not home when I arrived (which I knew was a possibility) and I had to go to the bathroom pretty badly. I stood in his mini-yard in front of his building and considered the ways I could urinate in public without appearing to be urinating in public. Before I had to sacrifice one of my water bottles, my friend's roommate appeared and unlocked the door for me so I could finally set all my shit down and take care of business. It had been a rough couple of travel days, but the worst of it was behind me, so I was relieved.
I didn't manage to get to that pizza place that my friend had told me was better than Grimaldies (I was told my numerous people that Grimaldies was the best pizza in NY, but my friend said he knew a better place. This will have to be explored during my next trip to New York City.) but we did get to a great chicken joint that was close to his house and cheap. I also got to see another friend of mine for lunch the next day before I had to catch my flight to Denver, so it was a productive little layover.
I was almost late to the airport the next day to catch my flight to Denver, but as soon as I got through security I found out that my flight was delayed an hour and a half. That delay got further delayed, and I ended up leaving New York almost 3 hours after my scheduled flight time. The airline had rebooked me on a new connecting flight (the latest connecting flight that day I might add) but I was dangerously close to missing that flight as well. When my plane landed in Minneapolis, I sprinted from the arrival gate to the departure gate and made it while they were finishing up boarding. I got on the plane and wondered what else could slow me down. I hadn't been home for over 2 months and I was over it. I started to think about all the things I needed to take care of once I got back, and decided what I should really concentrate on was just getting some damn sleep. There were no further delays on the way back to Colorado.