19:30 local time, first time ever on Uncle Sam’s land of endless possibilities (I quote all the boys and girls here on our old continent dreading to obtain a green card and be part of the dream). The sun is low on horizon and the New York signature skyscrapers are drenched by the golden light that, I, the photographer, love to use when it comes to immortalise a special someone with my digital camera! Unfortunately, we cannot enjoy this bright flamboyant display since we are confined to the corridors and queueing line of JFK terminal. No sun for us but rather kilowatts of fluorescent tubes diffusing their pale imitation of mother nature. If this artificial 5000k white cold light was not enough, everything shouts FEAR:
Custom forms inviting you to prevent a new pandemic by resisting the urge to bring with you proper cheese or as a matter of fact any decent delicatessen artisan’s produce.
Giant screens describing all these diseases you risk bringing back to sterile America
Red line reminding you to stay where you belong until invited to be considered persona-grata.
It’s a global feeling that really stained my mind to the point where I am not so sure about spending a full day in the big apple.
You read that these Custom Officers are the front line of US protection… I feels like they rather are the source of a dreadful insulation. Even the colour (“color” there) of the pen I used to feel the form seemed to be to much of an unacceptable novelty (if it’s grey, it’s a pencil… do it again…! no sir… where I come from we do have grey ink as much as we have saucisson!)
We spent 90 minutes to get our passports stamped, and another 30 (immediately after!!!) to re-access the international zone were I would have been glad to stay at the first place. Transiting through a US airport may bring you monetary savings (it did for us!!!) but may also lower your spirit (it did too!!!)
Good news… Since I spent 10mn in America on ESTA… I am authorised to use the self service machine (CBP, TSA, FBI, CIA, NSA and homeland security now got my 10 fingerprints and a pretty picture of me!)