Wednesday, July 11, 2007


[The Pyramid, California State University, Long Beach]

Well at long last I'm back home.

I have mixed feelings about Newark airport. On the one hand, it is a far better organized and arranged customs arrival area than at JFK, which was a nightmare last year. At the same time, both on my way to Berlin and on my way to San Diego, my afternoon flights were delayed due to bad weather. Though I understand that JFK has an even worse record in that regard.

One thing Newark could do is improve their internet terminals. Whose idea was it to position the keyboard for the terminal at such a height that made it simultaneously too low to stand but too high to sit, forcing one to squat on one's haunches while typing? Also, having the touch pad cause the mouse to move in a mirror opposite of the pad seemed almost malicious.

Before I left, Bruce asked if I missed Los Angeles. Only my friends and fresh clothes, I told him. Berlin is a very livable city. While Budapest remains my favorite in terms of visiting, the language issue would make it difficult to live there. Berlin, on the other hand, is just a fun, comfortable place to be. I really liked that I never once felt that I needed a car; the public transportation system is excellent. Also, Prenzlauer Berg, where we stayed, is such a fun, diverse neighborhood, with lots of families and children, as well as immigrants and tons of cafes and night clubs. I'm going to miss it.

All my packages arrived safe and sound, so I've got my research and my books, and all that's left to do is develop the pictures (either tonight or, more likely, tomorrow).

Well, until my next trip....

p.s. I think in a day or so, I might post the best pictures from my trip in thumbnail sketch.


Steve said...

My last trip through JFK was equally nightmarish. First of all they are surly as can be going through customs (welcome to the US now get the F*#K back in the correct line you moron!) Then there was arriving at my gate 2+ hours before the flight and deciding to get a bite to eat, whiling away the time on my sidekick (who needs those pay as you go airport interweb should get wa Sidekick) Anyway I was minding my own business until about 10 minutes before what I thought was the time they were calling the flight, only to find a flight to Zurich waiting at the gate where the flight to SFO had been 2 hours before. WTF? they moved the gate and there were NO announcements either on the monitors or over the PA. I had to run (and I do mean run) doing my best OJ Simpson Hertz commercial impression leaping over luggage, travelers and clear to another gate in a DIFFERENT Terminal on the other side of the airport. (A seocnd triop through Security because noone thinks that anyone actually changes planes in JFK I guess) JUST made it as they were closing the doors. And UAL was not the least bit apologetic. Almost as bad as connecting in LAX and changing terminals at 10 PM after a flight back from Mexico (same flight number, different plane/terminal) and just as I had removed my shoes at TSA I nearly stepped into a fresh steaming pile of vomit outside the security search area. Good Times! Anyway welcome back and the Pyramid at CSULB looks like the Luxor Hotel in Vegas where I stayed last month over Memorial Day Weekend.

BTW you may find some of the Jewish Film Festival films here in SF to be interesting this year. Starts next week I beleive.

J.B. said...

Yes, they were changing gates at Newark as well, though you couldn't tell by looking at the information displays. Instead they announced it over the PA system and taped a hand-written sign (no joke!) over the electronic display.

Last year I flew in and out of JFK and I much prefer Newark. Last year, I didn't have a lot of time between my connecting flights, but then discovered that there is no secure walkway between terminals so you have to go out of the building and repass through security. That was the day in which I was selected for "heightened" screening in LAX, JFK, and Heathrow, leading me to believe I was put on someone's watch list.