After a slightly demented taxi ride through Brussels on our way to the airport, I was very much ready for a holiday. There is only so much time you can spend in the company of a coffee swilling, priorité de droite screeching maniac before you feel that the time has come to spend some time away from your adopted country. Fortunately, I was able to say ‘Fuck this shit, I’m off to New York,’ and be on my way.
A recent survey has listed Brussels Airport as 60th best in the world, beaten by both Gatwick and Stansted, something I find rather laughable. Brussels airport is great – especially when you compare it to the chaos of Brussels itself! The staff are quite nice, there are a few shops, the queues are always acceptable when I’m passing through, and theres a Starbucks selling those lovely apple doughnuts I like so much.
On planes is one of the few times I will watch films, and therefore also one of the few times I cry in public. This time I cried to 500 Days of Summer and The Breakfast Club. I considered crying to both The Addams Family and Alice in Wonderland, but eventually decided they looked fucking shit. Other members of the flying crying film club included some bloke watching a Steve Martin film, the guy next to me watching The Avengers while eating a cup, and a woman very determinedly starting The Impossible just as we began our descent into JFK.
The flight was my first experience of American hospitality, and it was quite fascinating. Having a few American friends had not prepared me for this. I can only assume the cheesy smiles mask vast swathes of sarcasm. Even my fellow passengers were polite – I had a lovely chat with a lady doing some lunges outside the loo.
Once back on solid land, a whole hour early, and through the quite scary security procedure (my fingerprints have been taken for the second time in my life – good luck with those babies, the scanner at work hasn’t recognised me once in three years), we met up with our friend and host for the week, and caught a cab back to her apartment.
NY lesson number one: No taxi driver in this city will understand an English accent. At one point I became so frustrated with his inability to understand the address that I joined in giving directions to a place I’d never beenbefore.
Settling in for the evening, we cracked open a bottle of wine, caught up on gossip and admired the amazing view of Manhattan from the balcony.