'Welcome to JFK airport' announced the PA system. Yay!! I was elated not only because I had finally reached the US, but also because the long journey was nearing its end. I was right about the former (ob the PA wont say JFK if we were in Africa) but was quite wrong about the latter.
I disembarked and walked cheerfully along long corridors, up and down escalators and reached immigration. Whoa! What a long line! I was one of the many people wanting to live the dream. And there were people of all colours and language. I waited patiently. No wonder SRK was pissed. I guess he isnt used to waiting in India, where celebs are treated like demi gods. Finally about an hour later it was my turn. For some reason i was nervous. Maybe because the SRK episode and the Kambaqt Ishq scene played in my mind. I mumbled with my answers and fumbled with my papers. The officer was polite and tried to calm my nerves and waved me through quickly.
Next up, baggage claim. I located my well marked suitcases and looked around for a trolley. I had to shell out $5 for a trolley. Hmm a porter at the railways station wouldn't charge more than Rs 100! I passed through customs and wheeled my luggage to American Airlines and checked it in for my next flight. Now i had some free time. I called home and took some rest. I bought a bottle of water for $3! I guess i would have to stop thinking in rupees if i wanted to stay sane!
I had to walk a long way to the departure gate for my next flight. I had a thorough check, in which i even had to take of my shoes. Now things started to go wrong. When i reached the gate, i was told my flight was cancelled! Eh? what do i do now! They said they would book me on some other flight. But i would have to collect my luggage and go to some other terminal to catch the flight. It took me 5 minutes to understand these set of instructions cause of their stupid accent, my nervousness and my fatigue!
So i walked all the way back, for at least a mile. Collected my baggage and had to take a $5 trolley again. I suddenly remembered that i had an extra piece of bagge and wondered if my new flight (NWA) would honour Jet-AA offer. So will all my bags (5 in total) i went around searching for Jet Airways. No luck. AA personel had no idea. Hmm i guessed i would have to deal with it.
Next I had to figure out how to use an air train to get to
the next terminal. After lots of questions to random people i reached the designated terminal. I got a boarding pass issued and checked in my luggage. I had a two hour wait. I was feeling drowsy but did my best to fight it off as there was no one to wake me up! No alarm also! I decided to eat something. Ah, the familiar MacD sign. No veg stuff though. So i settled for a milk shake.
I walked to the departure gate (again a long distance and again the security check!) I was informed the flight was delayed due to bad weather. By now i was half a sleep while walking around! Finally 2 hours later I boarded the flight. By that time i was at JFK for around 9 hours. I fell asleep the moment i was seated and woke up only when i felt the familiar poping in my ears as the plane descended. Welcome to the twin cities of Minneapolis St. Paul. Ah finally. Alls well that ends well! Maybe if this was the end.
I went for baggae claim. And hey presto, fate had one last trick up its sleeve! My baggage wasnt there. Hmm by now it was like okay, what else? I filed for lost baggage and walked out of the airport. Well atleast one thing would go right. The volunteer was there to pick me up. Thanks Bharath Group and Vamshi for giving my trip a happy ending!
I went to sleep asap cause i had to begin the dream, literally! :D