My intrepid teenage adventurer is on her way home now, her stellar trip and tasty intro to world travel 'sans family' drawing to a close. Of course the trip back to Australia from New York doesn't draw to a close very quickly at all. She left this morning Brisbane time, but we won't see her tired but happy face at arrivals until tomorrow morning 6.30am! It's a long long journey around the globe.
I do hope she didn't have a final fluttery stomach moment like we did last December, when we came so close to arriving beautifully on time at the wrong New York airport. We had flown into JFK, coming from South America, but we were leaving from La Guardia, heading north to colder snowier climes, and the magnificence of Niagara Falls as well as some very gloomy grey weather in Toronto. Where we were headed was clearly communicated, we were fully versed to ask for the right airport and we even pre-booked our taxi cab the night before with the concierge at our hotel. So, it wasn't really part of the conversation when we got picked up (actually we weren't really involved in the conversation because the cab driver had his own pet subject he was going to talk about no matter what, come hell or high water this man was keen to tell us about exactly how many calories his body needed from carbs versus other foods). New York traffic is crazy, and so we spent an eternity, it seemed, just weaving through central downtown Manhattan, making our way to the right arterials to get to La Guardia airport in Queens. Right at the most opportune moment, thankfully, I asked (having seen a sign to say we were entering a tunnel) if we were about to go under the river? Yes, he says, Newark Airport is in New Jersey. With micro-seconds to change lanes after me uttering a panicked, no we are flying from La Guardia not Newark, this man was able to hold his tongue about carbs and calories for long enough to get us facing a different direction and heading now towards Queens. We did make it in time, but my advice for anyone flying from NYC is to leave at least 4 hours before your flight. And check what airport details have come up on the taxi booking as well.
La Guardia handles most of the domestic traffic as well as flights to and from Canada, and it is incredibly busy. Once locked and loaded and sitting on the tarmac, the pilot broadcast that we were waiting in line to take off, and would be off the ground as soon as the planes before us took to the air. We pressed our eager faces to the window and counted 12 planes all in line in front of ours. It's like some kind of precision dancing like the Rockettes we'd seen just days before, the way that air traffic control functions. It looks like no time between take-offs and landings, and to watch just how close these giants of the sky come for that 25 minutes or so that we waited, was kind of scary, but also impressive and reassuring at the same time.
I won't ever forget that flight because whilst waiting to board in New York, we heard and watched the first news of the Sydney Lindt Cafe siege as breaking news on the TVs in the departure lounge. By the time we reached Toronto, the news was reporting 2 Australians had been killed. We were travelling in North America, where all eyes are open to detect any terrorism, yet it was at home in Australia that terrorism had reared its ugly head.
Pretty much opposite directions!