how i got back to the usa


Passengers alight from an American Airlines plane after landing in Los Angeles on April 27.
Passengers alight from an American Airlines plane after landing in Los Angeles on April 27. VINCE WARBUTON / AP

We decided to experience the world after, to take refuge in a resort, isolated in nature. But not anywhere: in upscale Wyoming resort Jackson Hole, at the entrance to Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Parks. This is where central bankers from around the world meet every year at the end of August, since the late Federal Reserve chief Paul Volker started this tradition because he wanted to be able to fly fly there. This is also where Harrison Ford has his ranch, surrounded by wolves, grizzly bears and deer.

To do this, you had to leave New York, the epicenter of the coronavirus epidemic, and take the plane, via Denver, in Colorado. For the first time since Super Tuesday in early March, when it was thought that the planetary event of the year would be the US presidential campaign. Quite an adventure. At the beginning, everything started well. We had booked a long time ago to go on vacation. When the crisis came, United Airlines offered to change the date and destination free of charge. This was done until we were told that flights from La Guardia had been canceled. Everything worked out, we were put back on a flight from another New York airport, Newark.

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Oilcloth and deserted hall

Early in the morning, Saturday, May 9, we take the direction of the airport. Don't worry about the police: in New York, you are confined, but free to move. No police to fine you 135 euros, it would probably be illegal. No taxis either to hail in the avenues still deserted after six weeks of confinement. We reserve a Uber carefully. Vehicles with drivers had a specificity compared to New York taxis, their absence of a partition wall with customers. This is a thing of the past: a transparent oilcloth separates us from our driver, who takes us to the airport in thirty-five minutes, half as long as usual but at the same price.

Arrival at terminal C where flights are concentrated: desert. United posted nine unfortunate flights for the day, including ours, the UA431 for Denver. The distance measures (two meters minimum) are strict: only passengers can enter the terminal. When we are unable to check in our luggage, the agent who comes to assist us demands that we move two meters away. Same distance from the police then security control, where the palpations were abandoned.

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