26.06.2016 - 26.06.2016
After an unusual warm night and only a few hours of sleep (have never experienced more rustling bed blankets in a hotel before) you had to get up early in the morning to get ready, eat breakfast and transfer back to Arlanda Airport. For once the flight departed from terminal 2. Quite surprisingly since Delta Air Lines is one of the largest airlines in the United States, so I had almost anticipated terminal 5 – but not. To locate Delta Air Lines check-in counters was relatively easy. Since I was already checked in online I went to a self service kiosk to collect my boarding pass and baggage tag. I got my boarding pass but no baggage tag. My brother tried to check in via self service kiosk as well but wasn’t able to but asked to visit a check-in counter. Since we were early at the Airport it had luckily not yet become a long queue. While waiting in line personnel came from Delta Air Lines and began questioning each person about where they were going, why, purpose of trip, for how long and so on. In other words, sheer cross-examination. When the questioning was finished each and one of us got a sticker on the backside of our passport as a proof that you were approved – kind of. And that applied to every passenger in the queue! This was my third time flying to the US and I have never experienced anything like that before. I have flown with Delta Air Lines nationally within US before, but now was the first time internationally. So perhaps this is Delta Air Lines normal routines on flights to US?
Eventually my brother and I got called up to a check-in counter and it didn’t seem to be any problems for the man to check in neither me nor my brother. Well, no problems passing through security check either. Now we had to kill time before boarding at 7.30 am. Arlanda Airport’s terminal 2 is not big in comparison to terminal 5. After security check there is like one tax-free shop and two places to buy lighter meals and one or two souvenir shops. So not much you can amuse yourself with. But shame on him for giving in. After another passport check and waiting at the gate the boarding started. Because we had our seats way back in the aircraft we belonged to the group boarding last… wouldn’t it be smarter to board the passenger in the back first? I have been thinking about that for a long time, that it must be the most time efficient to start in the back?
Anyway, I scanned my boarding pass and was on my way to the plane when I turned back to see where Danny was. Saw that he had been taken aside by security guards for questioning. Now, my brother wasn’t the only one taken aside for additional questioning, it was quite many people. But yet again… did they really have time for questions now during boarding? So a little anxious I sat down at my seat in the plane and could only wait. It felt like two hours passed by before Danny showed up inside the aircraft. But now we were finally both in place and could sit back “looking forward to” 7 hours and 45 minute flight to John F. Kennedy International Airport, US. After a night of poor sleeping I had a tough time to keep me awake between the meals.
The airplane touched down just before 11 am and I had honestly expected a massive queue to immigration and customs. But it was really calm, almost no passengers at all. Then took the Air Train to Jamaica Station and changed to subway (E-train) to Manhattan. Or well, that was the idea anyway. When we boarded the E-train and was heading towards Manhattan they announced several times that due to construction work the train would not stop at certain stations (it was difficult to hear which ones) so I felt it was better to get off the train a few stations earlier. But it turned out to be a few stations too early! After wandering around for a while and eventually waved in a cab, it turned out we were in Queens… ha ha, sometimes you have to allow yourself to be a tourist
Once we crossed the East River and gotten into New York lunch traffic we spotted well known landmarks like Chrysler Building and Empire State Building.
Now it turned out that a significant part of New York’s streets were closed due to NYC Pride Week’s parade happening that day, so traffic chaos was worse than usual. But after a lot of ifs and buts we arrived at NYMA (New York Manhattan Hotel) at 6 West 32nd Street. We received a double room at 13th floor and just outside our hotel window was Empire State Building in its pride. Alright views
Tired and hungry we went out on the street and chose the very first best restaurant to eat. It turned out to be a Korean restaurant and we ordered one dish each. Only problem was that the staff came with like 30 tiny plates with different meat, chicken, vegetables, rice, potatoes and so on and it was impossible to figure out which ones belonged to me or my brother. Moreover, they lit a barbecue on the table for us to barbecue the meat and chicken. Then it was the thing with eating with chopsticks. It’s definitely not my thing.
With satisfied hungers we walked via Broadway north to Times Squares to check out the mood. Crowded as usual. It was very warm and muggy outside and one became sweaty just by moving a little bit. Really felt like it needed to rain and thunder.
We walked to Bryant Park and sat down for a while and just absorbed the environment, traffic, buildings. We did a devious back to the hotel and managed to get on the “wrong” side of the closed 5th Avenue (due to the gay parade) to get back to the hotel. It was barricades and in that way impossible to cross the avenue. We walked and walked and finally found a passage at 34th Street where you could cross 5th Avenue. Once back in on our hotel room and somewhat (very) jetlagged it was no problem to go to bed early this evening.