This morning we saw the sun rise over New Jersey as we wound our way out of Tribeca to return to JFK. The windchill was still brutal, but at the end of the day we saw the sun go down over Curacao, having shed our winter coats and clothes, changing planes in Aruba.
Yes, it was two solid days of travel to get to the Dutch Caribbean from the West Coast but when I make trips like these, i.e. covering great distances, going from soppy California, to freezing New York and now staying on an island that is practically off the coast from Colombia and Venezuela in about 48 hours, I always think of my grandparents. I wish I could tell them this feat of air travel in our new and global age. When they did a trip to the Dutch East Indies themselves in the 1920s, it took them more than 6 weeks. I am sure our trip would have sounded like science fiction to them.
Last night, Jon wondered whether we would even make it from Aruba to Curacao as Insel Air was having maintenance problems. We didn’t think much of it but when we arrived in the hotel lobby in Curacao, I picked up a Dutch news brief that said that Dutch civil servants were no longer allowed to fly with Insel Air due to their safety record: no wonder that flight was so empty– and well, the landing felt dicy, oops. We still have to fly back with them, so if these blogs suddenly stop, you know what happened to us.
Other than that, I’ve been amazed at some of the Dutch similarities. The airports look like mini versions of the Amsterdam airport, Schiphol, and sorry, when you’re in the tropics, you simply don’t expect people to start speaking Dutch to you. It’s surreal. Or as one of my kids asked me when they were little and we were in Hawaii: Can we pay with dollars here?
Of course, try as we did, we couldn’t get away from Trump and Trump news. Trump’s continued delegitimizing of any one who disagrees with him (his “so-called judge” tweet) and the news that even the former Norwegian PM had been detained at the airport because he had a stamp from Iran in his passport, triggered a little rant between Jon and me as we stood in the long customs line at Aruba. An overweight American in front of us whipped around and gave us the evil eye, which made us switch to our fall-back and “secret” language Dutch, although this language is obviously not so secret here. Better watch out.
It’s been a long day of airports mostly, so we’re “sloping off to bed”, as the compulsive and entertaining diarist Samuel Pepys used to say. More tomorrow.