Day 10 & 11 – the trip home

We pack up our island hideaway – and eat a last farewell lunch on our balcony overlooking Sand, Ocean and Warm Salty Breezes.

When will I ever get back here?

They are closing the island around us – the restaurants have gone to Take-away only – the news reports are getting worse and worse, and while it’s easy to find Toilet Paper – there are no masks on the island to be found.

So we put bleach into little bottles to use for cleaning our seats on the airplanes and in the waiting area of the airport – and head out.

The airport in St. Croix is pretty much as expected – they haven’t really bought into the social distancing thing here, and no one has apparently taught them exactly how to wear a mask.

The TSA folks are clearly traditional islanders – and the mask they have been given are either on their chins or on their foreheads. I get it – these things are comfortable, but they aren’t really trying hard either.

To boot – the whole – social distance thing is a bit foreign. So some folks – like us – try to stay away from other folks, and other folks don’t mind standing in tight groups. Even on the airplane, crew members lean over to chat with other crew members. I’m sure the message will eventually get thru – even here – but for now, I’m leaving a place that still thinks this might be some kind of mainland joke – and going to a place that is already reporting over 1000 cases.

There are very few other passengers. Which explains why the earlier flight out of St. Croix to Miami was canceled. It makes no sense for airplanes to fly empty both ways – and American is obviously cutting back on all the excess flights it can afford to lose without leaving folks stranded or losing their gate privileges .

Our fairly boring flight lands us in a deserted Miami Airport and we head over to pick up our luggage and get on the shuttle to the EB hotel. I stayed there once before – they are a wonderful 4 star property near the airport – and they have the best bathrooms (aka great showers!) ever. We check in – again a rather casual attitude toward social distancing – and move in.

Our shuttle driver had listed the restaurants nearby – the one in the hotel is doing ‘carry-out’ only – and to be honest, looks closed. The one our driver described as a Latino cafe sounds the best and we walk thru deserted street to get there.

There’s a customer at the take out window – so I wait for him to move away so I can grab the menu. He signals me to move in – and I tell him – we’re social distancing – can you please back up? He laughs – but moves away. Miami just isn’t totally on the right page yet I’m seeing.

Dinner was typically Cuban – heavy handed by delicious. We eat in the room, watch a snatch of TV, then go to bed.

In the morning I enjoy the shower – for a good 20 minutes – it’s that nice – then we board the shuttle back to the airport.

Our driver tells us he’s fine – he’s been showering more often.

Our flights back to Montreal are more of the same. Empty planes, Empty airports, Empty waiting areas. I wipe down everything, stay as far from other folks as I can – and buy 16 masks when I spot them at one of the little shops that sells candy at the airport. Apparently they just got a big shipment in the day before – but with no customers – there are no sales.

Once back in Montreal – we realize that clearly folks here are taking the whole thing more seriously. Masks are now on over mouths and noses – and there’s protection set up for all the folks manning the custom booths. I wipe down the screen of the terminal we use to do our ID check – we pass thru customs, grab out suitcases – wipe them down too – and head out.

Our taxi cab is equipped with a plastic shower curtain – hastily stapled along the roof line separating the driver from us – and we have to use the tap feature on the credit card reader. This does feel like Montreal is taking the whole thing more seriously.

Once home – we realize that our darling Daughter-in-Law has done a massive amount of shopping for us – there’s food for a week, either on the counter or stacked carefully in the fridge.

She’s even bought me flowers! A glorious Hydrandia that is in riotous bloom. Lovely. We are well and truly welcomed home to start our mandatory 14 day ‘stay at home’ period. The rules are simple. No leaving your yard – for anything. No visitors. Wipe down everything that enters your home.

Sigh

Signing off – The Soup Lady

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