East to St. Croix

map_of_St CroixIt took us eleven hours to connect from SFO to STX.

SFO—We will be gone eight days.

Tip #1: After checking to make certain that the shuttle schedule meshes with your flight plans, stay overnight at lodging near the airport if you have a 6:30 a.m. flight.

Tip #2: Choose a motel (we picked Red Roof Inn) that will let you park your car for the entire length of your trip. Their parking fees are almost always less than airport lots.

The total cost of lodging plus pre-paid parking was only two-thirds of what parking nearer the airport would have cost…plus, we did not have to get on the road at 3:30 a.m.

MIA—One of the most international of American airports. JFK undoubtedly welcomes more xenoes, but here, I gauged, the share of out-of-country faces and accents could be higher (although somewhat light on the Asian).

Airport Food—Now that airlines no longer include food in the price of the ticket, the majority of passengers either don’t eat or bring their food on board. The welcome result of this is that airport food quality has greatly improved without a concomitant increase in price (one of the rare triumphs of Milton Friedman‘s free market economy). Breakfast and carry-on sandwiches at Guava & Java in SFO were high-quality and reasonably priced. Dinner at Sushi Maki in MIA (soba noodles, sushi roll, and miso) was delicious and even more reasonably priced.

STX—We deplaned down rollable stairs into a night warm rain. Today’s temperature had ranged, a bulletin board announced, from a high of 81° to a low of 77° F. A rep from Centerline Car Rental was holding my surname aloft at baggage claim. In minutes we had our car and were heading from the south shore to the north…in rain…in dark…on unlighted narrow roads…in a strange lane. The US Virgin Islands is the only American state, territory, possession, protectorate, or commonwealth where one drives cars build for the right lane in the left lane.

When we finally parked at our home-exchanged condo, I, who had been entirely focused on staying on the correct side of the road at each turning or merging, offered kudos to my wife, a self-admitted cartographic illiterate, for correctly relating the map in her hand to the dark and wet reality sweeping past our headlamps.

Tomorrow…we walk the beaches.

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