Saturday, March 3, 2012


Finally, touchdown. The sky was overcast, but the weather was not that cold. The Delta terminal at JFK is small and old, and the Delta personnel and Immigration and Customs Officers tried to make the best of the situation. Being a permanent U.S. resident, I joined the shorter line with U.S. citizens. But it was not an in-and-out for me, having been away for 22 months on a Reentry Permit. I answered all of the ICO's questions truthfully so I had no problems. I've never had problems with my U.S. visas, even when I applied for a tourist visa for the first time. I was warned I wouldn't get one because I had a pending petition for immigration. I aced my interview because I truthfully answered all questions on the form and during the interview. (I think consuls are trained in the behavioral sciences because they can sense it when an applicant is lying).

Funny story recounted by an ICO in the line: no one is allowed to use their phones in the immigration area. The ICO pointed this out to a guy, who answered, "But I'm using a BlackBerry!" Duh.

I also truthfully answer the Customs form and I declared that I was bringing in food. The ICO was smiling at me when I asked if I was bringing in chicharon, longganisa or corned beef. I explained that I only had polvoron (blank look so I explained that it was some sort of milk candy made from toasted flour and powdered milk. He said, "that doesn't sound like candy.")

Since I was arriving on a Friday, in the afternoon, I decided to take the shuttle from JFK to the Port Authority Bus Terminal, then the 114 NJ Transit bus to my sister's place in Springfield, NJ. I figured it would cost my sister more to commute from NJ to JFK, both in terms of gas, tolls and parking, than for me to do the commute. Plus she wouldn't have to deal with the traffic. On a good day, it would be an hour's drive. With Friday traffic, at least 30 minutes more each way. Trawling the net, I decided on using NYCairporter for three reasons: it is the only shuttle service allowed to drop off and pick up passengers at the curb (very important if you have a lot of bags, as I did on this trip), the shuttles have free wifi, and it goes straight to the Port Authority Bus Terminal. As with most web-based products, the experience was far from what is found on NYCairporter's site. To be fair, the service is convenient, but buying your ticket online will save you only 50 cents. The wifi was sucky from JFK to PABT. 

This is the best signal I got on the trip from JFK to PABT
And worst, the driver-cum-baggage handler was surly and demanded to be tipped. He had a tip box in the bus and that's where I placed my tip. After he gave me my bags, he demanded to be tipped. I found this behavior unseemly. He did not even bother to take care of the bags that he loaded and offloaded, banging them about and dropping them by their wheels. I packed two framed pictures and the glass on one broke. Can't prove it was NYCairporter's driver was to blame but he was the only one who banged my bags around.

Contrast this with the NJ Transit driver of the 114 bus that I took home. He cheerfully helped me with my bags. And he was humming Barbara Acklin's "Am I The Same Girl" the whole time. Now that's what I call service!

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If you like to eat well, live well, listen well and have the patience to go through my kilometric but hopefully entertaining blogs, then this is the page for you. I chose EATERSHIP because it sounds like "leadership," and because if you jumble it up, it could also read "hip eaters." Eat and read on!