The eleven hours that I dithered away at the Phoenix airport were productive, in a sense. I mercilessly hounded my friends on Facebook. The free broadband connection made it easy. I took grim satisfaction in making ridiculous comments at every opportunity. Other than that, it was dead time. I truly hate airports. In fact, though I love being places, I despise travel by air. I’m holding out for teleportation. Step into a booth with your backpack, push the button that says Kathmandu, take a deep breath, and ping, you’re there! I can dig it.
Maybe I can amuse you with this 10 second exposure of the Arizona sky just after dusk taken from the designated smoking area – otherwise known as the pariah zone:
The red-eye flight to New York City left at about midnight. It was only a little over four hours, but it felt like days wandering in a frigid dessert of isolation, semi-consciousness and boredom. Too sleepy to read. Too uncomfortable to sleep. Nothing to see out the window but dead black. I don’t know about you, but my head goes all funny when I am in that zombie zone on a long flight. Coherent thought becomes impossible. I get giggly sometimes and want to ask the person next to me, “Are we there yet, mommy?” That kind of thing can get you into trouble on an aeroplane these days.
There was a double line of huge thunderbumpers blasting across the East coast. Our pilot managed to slip between them. It got unpleasantly bumpy, but I preferred that to another hour or so in the second torture chair in a week in which I’ve been trapped (read the latest tattoo post).
Getting my baggage and a taxi was a ten minute affair. They really have their act together at JFK. The flat fare to Manhattan was US$45, not too bad, considering the distance.
It’s amazing how much flavour that you can taste of a new city by chewing a two hour taxi ride. My driver was not very talkative. It’s just as well. I was far too wasted and mind-numbed to converse.
The first order of business was to check into my room (delightful – more about that later) and get something to eat. I attracted far less attention that I’d imaged walking around in Harlem. It reminds me very much of the neighbourhood in which I lived as a child. I walked a few blocks and found Little Harlem Fried Chicken – “The Best Chicken in Town”. I bought far more than I could eat for four bucks – cheap. Then I stopped by a little store to pick up some beer.
I can’t say if it’s the best chicken in town, but it was tasty with a very crunchy coating. The beer is a Yuengling Lager, supposedly from America’s oldest brewery. It was nice also. A good, but not great beer. Hey, we can’t all be great. There’s room for superior mediocrity.
Then my body refused to cooperate any longer. I feel into a five hour coma on the bed with all my clothes on.
Tomorrow, I’m going to take a giant bite of The Big Apple.