Monday, February 8, 2010

JFK (New York) - The Second Part of Our Stay in JFK

Again this was written on my phone, at the time - live, if you will!!!

I ended up getting that coffee. After waking from my sleep and coming to the conclusion that I’d be getting no more I listened to a few songs on my mp3 player before Donal woke. The conversation didn't exactly flow between us, there wasn't all that much to discuss really. After a while I got up and walked around a little deciding there was no point in me allowing my arse to get sore because it'd be doing a lot of sitting later on. I stumbled upon the chapel in the terminal and went in, partly because I'd never done this in an airport before and partly because I wanted to pray that I would actually get home. I don't remember much of the rest of the walk although it was certainly a mission to find a decent place for breakfast, a feat I failed at (well the airport did really because no place decent was open) but I did see that Donal had some company and seemed to be engaged in conversation. I didn't want to get involved, as ignorant as that may seem (it was morning, you know me and mornings!), so I walked on again looking for a breakfast place and/or preparing myself to go and join this little talk. Airport food really is never the same as normal food. The only food that stays the same is fast food but then 100% pure fat stays the same everywhere really. Maybe it's just that groggy feeling you get after spending a night in the clothes you wore all day, fake air from conditioning machines all around you and eyes tired from lack of sleep. And airport food is generally expensive too for what it is. I was prepared then for a substandard something-or-other for breakfast at a price I would normally raise hell over and I duly made my way to Au Bon Pain, a cafe chain that began in Paris (I could have told you that from the attitude of the woman at the cash register if I hadn't already known).The croissant, breakfast cereal and coffee came to 8 dollars which wasn't too bad but I would have preferred it with a please, a thank you and a smile. The coffee wasn't to my liking either, what was I thinking when pouring hazelnut coffee? Probably not an awful lot, tiredness and all that...a great, and genuine excuse!

I sat down I joined in that conversation between the middle aged black ladies and Donal. Meeting people on the train was never a bother but not so much here at the airport where, as I already said, it seemed to every man for himself. Talking to these ladies was not only interesting but it made the time fly by, they were very interesting characters who didn't like Republicans (a fact that made me want to buy them lunch notwithstanding that my wallet was now very very empty) and one of them was the first black lady to attend Stanford University. Both had indeed been active in the civil rights movements. There really was so much to talk about but their flight to Dubai was being called and off they went. I wasn't happy to see them go for I was only beginning to get into the conversation but at the same time I'd yet to have had any coffee and was finding I'd to make bigger and bigger efforts to stay in tune with them. I suppose it worked out well for both parties time-wise.
I finally ate my breakfast after this before going out to take a stroll around the terminals, wanting to see the old TWA Flight Centre. And I did although I didn't get to go inside or get too close because security had me spotted and rudely told me to leave. There we are with rules again, I was looking at a building not even used as part of the airport any longer and some woman in a hi-viz vest looks at me as if I've 2 heads and says, and I quote, ‘you want to take photos? Well you can’t, you must leave'...'can I ask you a question?'...'you must leave now'...'ok ok I’m leaving'. Honestly the Patriot Act really has given these type of people all the power in the world and it's not as if public opinion would be at your side either for the police will say 'he was acting suspiciously around the airport terminal' and then automatically Al-Qaeda will be sending you on a recruitment form with details of a pension scheme that says something about eternity and virgins. Needless to say then, I left but I got my photos before she caught me. From here I went on to look through some other terminals including the old Pan-Am WorldPort, a circular building with an extended cantilevered roof which extends out to cover the aircraft from rain. Well it used to, but planes are much bigger now and Pan Am are dead with Delta now in that terminal. Looking around it though it's clear it needs to be done up and I felt quite disappointed that it had been left to go the way it had after it once being the showcase of the world's biggest airline. That’s New York for you though, things come and go, changes happen on a whim and while it is certainly better at looking after history than many other cities, it’s often too busy to care - at least to care too much. Last night as we ran around like headless chickens many in the airport seemed not to care an awful lot which was frustrating but then millions go through this airport and mistakes happen to plenty others, they probably get our type quite often so caring too much really just isn’t an option...

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