New York: The Final Chapter

I’m finally back home, and it’s the only place in the world I’d like to be at the moment.

I did successfully get on the first flight out of the U.S. since the events of September 11, after negotiating the security at JFK airport. It flew via Los Angeles and then on to Sydney where there was a large contingent of Sydney media to interview people about the situation over there. I was running madly late for a connecting flight to Perth, so I managed to run the gauntlet of the cameras and grab a few minutes with Mum while she ferried me across to the domestic terminal. Granted, most of that time was spent trying to contact Qantas and say ‘hold the plane!’ because there’s one thing I didn’t want, and that’s to delay my return home by anything more than a few minutes.

The Ansett terminals at Sydney and Perth were eerily inactive as we passed through (Ansett, one of australia’s two domestic airlines, went broke while I was away). Normally, it’s a hive of activity, but every jet was sitting there unattended. It was a little sad to see the Big Birds sleeping so soundly.

I hadn’t expected to meet Ainslie at the airport, but she sucessfully managed to delay a lecture to meet me off the plane. It was such a great surprise (I had been expecting another hour lining up for a taxi and riding it home) that I felt like jumping around the airport and shouting “I’m *Really Home*!” but there’s only so much your legs can achieve after more than 34 hours travel time.
Now that I’ve had a chance to hug everyone, have a good shower and take a breath, the U.S. does seem like half a world away. Now that the situation is starting to get confusing and nasty, I appreciate whatever distance I can get from it, and the less air travel that is involved, the better. And you can’t get further away from stuff than Perth :-)

I’ve reviewed the videos I took of the trip, most notably the view of the twin towers from atop the Empire State Buiding which are stamped with ‘9/9/01’; somewhat of a collectors item nowadays. I took special note of the paraphernalia in the tourist stores in JFK, and more than half the trinkets have the WTC in them. Even a Visa ad at Sydney Airport has the WTC featuring prominently. What happens now? Can you produce a New York souvenir – especially with the New York skyline – and have it easily identified s New York any more? Is the ‘trademark’ dead?

So, here endeth this chapter. I now get the privilege of watching from a distance.

I hope.