Friday, April 06, 2007


JFK was extremely unwelcoming when we arrived. In the immigration hall the non-US citizens’ queue consisted of several hundred people and was serviced by four officers. The queue for US citizens never exceeded fifty people and was serviced by twenty officers; every booth on that side of the hall was staffed. I spent an hour and a half watching Americans arrive and breeze through the process whilst we all edged our way past posters telling visitors how the immigration service pledged to offer us a fast, efficient service and a cordial welcome. The disparity in numbers servicing the two queues wasn’t even because the immigration people on that side of the hall were unqualified to deal with foreign visitors; when the US queue was empty the next person at the front of our queue would be directed along – but only until the next Americans came along. Clearly it is no longer the US Government’s view that all men are created equal – and it was made abundantly clear to the rest of us who the unequal ones were.

When I had finally been processed (no cordiality or welcoming at all, merely a demand for my two index fingers and to look at the camera) I found Brett sitting on our luggage waiting for me and we went on through customs. I hadn’t booked a transfer at this end as all the services I could find online were hideously expensive even by London standards, so we got a yellow cab into the city.

The cab driver was so exactly what you expect a New York cab driver to be that he was almost a caricature! He had the broadest accent, drove like a maniac and swore roundly at anyone who got in his way. After the interminable frustration and injustice of the immigration hall it was rather refreshing and helped improve my sour mood somewhat.

After checking-in at the hotel, we headed upstairs to explore the roof terrace only to find it is closed for renovation. We gave up and went to bed.

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