All good things come to an end

Our last morning in New York had started. Unfortunately. Although in a way it is always good to go home, I do love travelling too much. Even during my 88 trip in 2014-2015 I still didn’t want to go home. I was having too good a time. Same thing is applicable for this trip. Considering we weren’t able to use our breakfast vouchers the day before, we went to cash them in today. I still don’t get how it is possible to have pancakes with fruit and bacon for breakfast. The combination is just weird from a European’s point of view. But hey, they probably are confused by our chocolate sprinkles covered sandwiches. How I love differences in cultures.

After brekkie, we decided to go to the High Line in Manhattan. I had wanted to visit the park during my last visit, but alas, it was raining at the time. The High Line is a park that’s constructed on an old railway. The idea of re-using this aspect of the city and create a quiet place for people to enjoy the scenery, the weather and perhaps even their lunch break, appealed to me. However, a few dozen others had the same idea, and the narrow park was packed. So much for a quiet and peaceful morning. Besides the bus loads of people that were unleashed into the park, there was a lot of construction work going on and since we were generally queuing through the park for a few miles, I can’t say that the High Line lived up to my expectations. It could be a case of bad timing, but I probably only go back to the High Line during future trips, if we have some spare time or are bored.

Considering we didn’t really eat hot dogs during our stay in the USA, we decided to go to the best place in town: Nathan’s. We went to Penn station to visit the nearest store. We managed to get a voucher for a discount somehow and devoured the sausagy goodness with ease.

The thing I hate about travel days (whether it’s going home or moving to the next stop) is the waiting and not really being able to do something during that day, especially when your flight is in the afternoon. Our flight back home wouldn’t depart until 7.39 pm. So when doing the math, it means you have to be in the airport three hours earlier: 4.39 pm. You have to travel to the airport; say, a bit more than an hour from Harlem: 3 pm. You can’t really do big things without feeling pressured to make sure you’re not going to be late.

So around 3pm, we picked up our bags in the YMCA and travelled to JFK airport in a packed subway. Hauling your stuff around isn’t too bad. It is however, when you can’t put it down, because there isn’t any space to let it sit; there were people everywhere. At certain point 20kgs on your back is getting enormously heavy. One pro however is that you can claim some space for yourself. You create this personal space with to bags strapped to you and another one between your legs on the ground.

We arrived in JFK on time thanks to the MTA and the AirTrain. Apparently for many people, this is a feat. We were in line to drop off our checked luggage and there so many people that we had to let through because they would otherwise miss their flight. We were just like “why can’t they leave home a bit early”. Of course, you can’t control traffic and other variables that can delay your travel to the airport, but you have to keep them in mind. If you know it is going to be busy on your travel day, leave an hour early. And if you know it’s going to be iffy whether you’re going to be able to catch your flight because of your work schedule, make sure to keep that in mind when you’re booking the flight. If you’re not sure you’re going to make it, don’t book the flight. If you’re not sure your transfer time between flights is long enough, find a connecting flight that ensures you’ll make it. It’s common sense and saves heaps frustration for both you and airlines’ personnel.

Let’s just say, we were at our gate way too early. We grabbed a bit and at one point we were allowed to board. Even though we had booked two seats next to each other separately, Delta kicked me off my seat a week prior to my departure to the US. I made some calls and somehow I managed to get the seat in front of Joyce. We now both had a window seat. Let fate have it that the person supposed to be next to me didn’t show up. However, having a window seat is quite nice when you want to sleep. Joyce decided to stay in her seat and I have to admit, I reckon this is the one flight I slept a lot. It’s heaven to have to seats. You have a bit more space to move around and try to find a position that’s somehow comfortable to sleep in.

We ended up having an hour delay. I don’t the delay. They shouldn’t have said that they had to fix something in the plane. Of course, I know they won’t let the plane fly if they don’t think it will stay into the sky, but it doesn’t ease my mind. I prefer them saying why we were delayed when we have arrived when it was due to some technical failures in the plane itself. I’d rather be oblivious of the fact that they had to fix some things in the plane before take off in case we do go down unplanned.

Landing in Brussels, a month after the bombing, was weird. I had travelled through Zaventem in the past, however, knowing what happened and it being so silent and empty in the airport, made it feel more real if that was even possible. Knowing that people died in the same building you’re walking in because some lunatics find it justifiable to randomly kill people, because… Do we even know why they terrorize public places like Brussels Airport, Paris, Turkey and others. For a split second, you understand that it could have been you and you’re saying thank you to whatever/whomever you believe in you weren’t there at the time.

We managed to get through customs without any problems (think of all the things we brought back home… boots, boots, boots). Outside the building on the curb, our families were waiting for us. We drove back home and it was such an awesome holiday, that I hope that Trump doesn’t win the presidential elections. Because if he does, I’ll probably will be boycotting the USA by not going there anymore. Not that they’ll notice whether I’m there or not, but it’s my way of saying “Hell to the no”.

Sophie Written by:

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