I’m a pro at airport check-ins. No liquids, no forgotten keys in my trouser pocket. As the lady at customs told me that I have a pocketknife in my backpack I thought she was kidding me. As she added that she didn’t mind, but that on the way back I should put it in my suitcase I was 100% certain that she was joking. No customs lets you enter the aircraft with a pocketknife!
I was even more astonished at my arrival in New York when I discovered that there really was a pocketknife in my bag, it belonged to one of my youngest. He probably put it there at some point. I was really surprised that customs let me pass through. But I was too tired to think about it further. I just wanted to go to bed.
I lived next to Grand Station in the middle of Manhattan. At 3 a.m. I was woken up by the fire alarm. I was on the 36th floor and the thought of having to walk all the way down to the street was nerve wracking. I looked into the corridor but no one was there. I called reception to ask whether this was an exercise or serious. No one replied. So I made my way down to the lobby to find out, that the alarm had been for an actual fire but that in the meantime they had gotten it under control and that I could return to my room. I examined the mob that had gathered there, no one was wearing a particularly entertaining pajama. After this I returned to bed.
The following evening I decided to take an Uber back to the hotel because public transport in the US isn’t very reliable. I discovered that my driver was originally from Georgia. We had a conversation in Russian. It was a heated discussion in his mother tongue. As he told me, that his right eye was blind and that he only has around 50% visibility on his left eye, I started to feel really uncomfortable. Luckily, nothing happened and I arrived safely.
The driver of the following Uber wasn’t very knowledgeable of the English language. As I asked him, which language he spoke, he placed his smartphone with Google Translate in front of my face. On it, it said, that his mother tongue is Spanish. Unfortunately, my Spanish skills are rather limited. I decided to pass on the Google Translate conversation. Even though it was clear from the GPS system what our destination was and how we could get there, he got ourselves lost twice. In the end he said goodbye with a bright smile and a lollipop. I presume that he is dependent on this job and so I gave him a very good rating. After all, he got me on time and safely to my destination.
As the restaurant called my hotel room at 11 p.m., to see whether I was definitely happy with the bill they charged for this evening, I wished for them to go to hell since I had been in deep sleep prior to their call.
On the return flight I was dead tired due to a ton of work and a major lack of sleep- I did the check in in advance and just wanted to hand in my luggage. The airport was nearly empty. A row, made of elastic band led to the check-in counter. A direct path without diversions was marked for the exit. I couldn’t be bothered to drag my suitcase through both paths and so I took a short cut via the exit route. After all no one was there whom I could have overtaken. I didn’t achieve any advance other than the couple of saved steps. The lady at the check-in counter gave me a dirty look and told me that I should never do such thing again. Rules are there to be followed, even if they don’t make any sense. That I also learnt.
This isn’t unusual for New York. So much happens there and experiences are intense and expected. I look forward to my next trip to New York.