My children, Black Cat and Leonardo, live and work in New York or NYC as they say and are keen for me to visit but I’m a little reluctant as I was not impressed on my last trip (admittedly in 1980).
We’ve chosen to leave from Orly which is only two hours by car from Blois so we park in the Ibis Hotel’s long-term parking lot in Rungis (near Orly Airport) at 72 euro for 12 days, which isn’t bad and certainly better than taking the train and metro. We don’t need to stay at the Ibis Hotel to park there. We organize it on-line with One Park.
We arrive at the hotel car park just before 11 am and by 11.30 am we are in the departure hall of Orly Ouest. There is a big sign saying navette (shuttle) outside the Ibis hotel but we first have to get (free) bus tickets from the supercilious hostess at the desk inside the hotel.
As usual, we have bought our plane tickets through Opodo. Most of the flights between Orly and NYC go to Newark airport but Leonardo has reassured me that it’s quite convenient and Black Cat is ordering an Uber car on arrival. We’re flying economy with British Airways and the tickets were 525 euro return each.
When we get to the counter, we discover we haven’t reserved our seats and are in different rows. The somewhat flegmatic man behind the desk says he should be able to do something about it but we won’t know until we board to plane. In the end, it works out and we are able to sit together but right at the back of the aircraft where the engine noise is loudest.
The first ten rows of our 757 are “biz bed” seats, with two recliner seats on each side of the aisle that look very comfy. Our economy seats are three to a side and not very roomy. What alarms me most is that there are no video screens in sight and it’s an 8-hour flight!
After take-off, the steward comes around with his trolley and hands out iPads and earphones! What an excellent idea – not to mention a great relief!
After our usual gin & tonic, a light meal, a couple of movies, a snack I could have done without and three episodes of Friends, we arrive at Newark Airport at 4 pm. It takes a while to go through police control because our finger and thumb prints have to be checked and our photos taken. We are travelling with our French electronic passports and an “authorization” obtained on-line in lieu of an entry visa. The officer checks the address I have written on the form. “Number 255, right?” he says, without looking at me. “Yes” I reply and his head shoots up. “But you’re not French, are you?” I laugh. “No, I also have an Australian passport.” Just one word and he knows I can’t possibly be French!
Our luggage is waiting for us so I log onto the free airport wifi and text Black Cat. She orders an Uber car and tells us where to meet him. It turns out we’re on the wrong level – we need to be downstairs on departure level. We soon find our car with Black Cat’s help. She has an Uber account so we don’t even have to worry about getting dollars to pay!
She is waiting for us at the other end of our journey, having organised for us to rent a friend’s flat just near Union Square while her friend is away. It turns out to be a perfect location, just 10 minutes’ walk from her own flat-share.
At 7.30 pm we meet up with Leonardo at Burger & Lobster where we each eat a whole steamed lobster, coleslaw and French fries for 20 dollars! The noise level is pretty high but the food is delicious. What a great way to begin our visit to New York City!