Monday, 18 September 2017

Trump is in Town

It is 6.30am (11.30 am  UK time), and we are sailing along the estuary of the Hudson river on the approach to New York. The air is warm, the sky is cloudy, and the sea is totally  calm. It is eerily quiet.
Over the last couple of days, I have begun to understand why sailors lost their sanity, if they spent too many hours at sea. I have enjoyed our sea days, but it is good to finally see the distant lights as we head towards New York.
This is not a time to isolate ourselves in the privacy of our balcony. Like most passengers we climb to the upper decks for a panoramic view of the sights. We are not disappointed. As promised, just before 7.30 am the  Verazzano Bridge looms through the clouds on the horizon. It is not a clear morning, but this does not spoil the view.

The entire population emit a collective gasp at the closeness of the top of the ship to the underside of the bridge, but we pass underneath without incident.

We then all move to the starboard side and wait for the appearance of the Statue of Liberty. Despite the murky sky, she provides and impressive welcome to New York.

The US coastguard boat which accompanies us with its gun in full view does not feel quite so welcoming, but we assume it is there for our protection.

So here we are in New York, the city which never sleeps, and it is soon time to pass through the US security. This is a rite of passage for every single passenger and crew member. No one is exempt. At out allocated turn (about midday) we are summoned  into the terminal with our cruise cards, passports, Estas, and customs declaration. All fresh food is forbidden to be brought along, so Chris has to resort to a wrapped chocolate biscuit and a sealed carton of orange juice. These prove indispensable as the queue takes almost two hours to reach the security desk. Documents shown, finger-prints taken, retinas scanned, passports stamped, and we are officially in the USA. We sigh with relief as we head to our coach for our 'Highlights of New York' tour. It is a Sunday, but the city is filled with police and traffic jams. "Is this usual?" We ask our guide. "Not on a Sunday" she responds, but the next few days are exceptional. It is the UN conference, and Trump is in town"     

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