Black cab to Heathrow terminal 3, sixty quid. Check in three bags and the attendant doesn’t blink an eye that we’re over our economy passenger allowance of one per person. We’re there at 6.45 and the flight isn’t until 12. We find the showiest place in the terminal. Down a bacon bun shaped like a burger and a glass full of fruit salad.
The plane sits still for an hour and a half. Outside it’s snowing animal shapes whilst a man sprays a suspect yellow heating liquid over the wings. The ice thaws and the cabin crew make the safety demonstration the best ticket in town. I now know how to tie a lifejacket and inflate an emergency escape route.
I watch The Time Travelers Wife on the plane, a disappointing film of an enjoyable novel and catch only half of It Might Get Loud. It’s great to see Jimmy Page still rock out, Jack White’s epileptic guitar beatings and I now respect The Edge.
When we land customs keep us penned in for two and a half hours. I enter the US an exhausted man, but the officer said I look like DiCaprio.
‘Lafayette, Downtown Manhattan’ and we’re moving. I suspect the driver’s taking us somewhere else for ten minutes before I see my first Manhattan sign post. I’m a suspicious person. Thankfully he takes the bridge from Brooklyn, and my first sight of the Big Apple is a Christmas tree. It’s like those competitive suburban streets where the wives try to out do each other with Xmas lights, except Christmas is over. It’s a city made out of playing cards with pinpricks for the light.
My first taste of New York cuisine is a Burger King.