I arrived in NY last night, landing at JFK airport for the first time.
The flight was ok. Just about comfortable, though I’m sure the leg room has gone down in the past couple of years. I read a lot of ‘Blood Sweat and Tea‘ by Tom Reynolds (no relation). It’s the dead tree version of his blog, and therefore just as good, and more convenient to read on a plane. I also played a lot of Tony Hawk American Sk8land on the DS lite. Along with Mario Kart, it really is one of the best DS games I’ve seen. I had no idea it could be so fast and smooth.
Having landed, the next step was US immigration. I want to make a quick detour here. The US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Department’s pledge states that:
- We pledge to cordially greet and welcome you to the United States.
- We pledge to treat you with courtesy, dignity, and respect.
- … and it goes on.
Frankly, they could do a better job at both the cordial greeting and the courtesy and respect. Passengers were shouted at, snapped at and herded from one line to another like animals. I don’t mind the fingerprinting and photographing, but the treatment from the assisting staff was very uncomfortable.
I picked up my hire car. It was predictably not the ‘compact’ I asked for, but rather a mid-sized SUV. At least it’s not the minivan they wanted to give me. Despite my tiredness, the danger of my car rolling (worringly pointed out in a big yellow sticker on the sun visor) and the confusing differences in the road system over here, I managed to enjoy the journey and made it safely to Danbury. it’s a beautiful drive, and once out of the city becomes very leafy. As Darren pointed out to me, the journey will be even more stunning in a few weeks when the leaves start to turn red.
I met up with Ian in the hotel bar last night (who has been on the West coast for a week already and also arrived at New York this weekend). Hamburger, fries, Budweiser and Sam Adams while Comedy Central played on the big screen TV above our heads. You couldn’t get more American really.
We’re off to Somers today and tomorrow, and Southbury on Wednesday. These are just place names, unless you’re a fellow IBMer. These places (along with Poughkeepsie, Fishkill, Armonk… especially Armonk) have a deep and significant resonance in the heart of any IBMer, even one usually based in the UK. Having soaked in the culture and history of Big Blue for nine years, I’m actually quite excited to be visiting some of these East coast locations for the first time. What makes it even cooler is that I’m here to meet my teammates and managers, and it’s the first face-to-face our team has had. Ian and I have already been making ourselves very busy doing the Virtual Worlds / Metaverse Evangelist thing recently, so it’s going to be good to catch up with our wider team.