Maybe Mexico


Maybe Mexico by Jerry Jeff Walker. I followed him since high school. RIP my lost gonzo compadre.
We left Bangkok on September 16. The 14 hour flight from Doha, Qatar was grueling and packed to the gills. The passengers had the best of intentions as far as masks and face shields were concerned when we started out but after about six hours and several meals, it got kinda lax. 
Thailand had not had a new Covid case in three months when we took off and there were temperature checks and protocols up until the minute we left. Not so when we landed at JFK. There were many people not wearing masks and no check in procedure, even though we were coming from the Middle East. Just self scanned our passports on a machine and strolled through the un-manned US Customs check point. As such, we decided to self quarantine for several weeks in the Park Slope neighborhood of Brooklyn in case we picked up something on the plane. Didn't want to kill anybody at the wedding.
Stayed in a cool brownstone in Brooklyn Hipster-ville.

Spent many an afternoon wandering around Prospect Park in Brooklyn.
Then headed to Bumpass,Virginia for Hunter and Danielle's much delayed wedding. Between Covid and a hurricane I am pretty sure they were glad to finally get 'er done.
Not often we gather all the Leake brothers, all together and all at the same time.
The remnants of Hurricane Delta down in the Gulf made for a memorable romp in the mud. Between Covid and the weather, I am sure they were happy to fly off to, where else, sunny Yucatan.
Visited with my mother in Richmond,Virginia for several days. Among several other adventures with my mom, we went to the, uh, greatly transmuted statue of Robert E.Lee. In a different epoch I went with my grandfather to the site on Monument Avenue. His grandfather had joined the Confederacy during its dying days (1864) at 14. There was a picture of T.C. Leake in his Confederate uniform at the house.
Looks kinda different than I remember it circa 1967.
My Mom dropped me off at the Richmond train station and I continued on to Washington DC to visit Giles and Lauren. Giles smoked a brisket for many hours one afternoon/night and I taught them the life lesson of the elaboration of Boeuf Bourguignon another night (hint: you can't use too much red wine and don't pull the roux out until it is a deep dark chestnut brown). Did, however, dirty every dish they had in the house 

There were maybe three other passengers in my car on the Amtrak Northeast Regional. The DC area Metro was also eerily empty; a couple of times I was the only person in my subway car. 

My Airbnb was within a few miles of the National Mall so it was easy to wander around what is now a ghost town of Greco-Roman architectural monuments. Anybody familiar with the the poem Ozymandias

It seems that most of/almost all of the federal employees that occupy the Federal Triangle area are working from somewhere other than there. The many restaurants that normally provide lunch to these thousands of workers and tourists were boarded up. Tried twice to go hang around the Smithsonian museums but bagged it because the on-line registration process was too cumbersome.
Not a guest to be seen around the Trump Hotel.
This was ~two weeks before the election but Boy Trump's hotel sure looked like it was hemorrhaging money.
On the Northeast Regional again to Baltimore to visit my brother and his wife. We drove down to their place in Deltaville,Virginia to supervise a drainage project. Watched the election "results" for like five days.
Not the best shot, but one of their neighbors was a Trump fan. Lots of derelict boats, broken down jet skis, motley vehicles and never to be used again golf carts accessorized the old alkie's property. A racist lawn jockey statue evoked an Old South equestrian ambiance; Trump banners and Confederate flags further enhanced the estate.
Stopped by Gloucester Banks,Virginia where my grandparents built a cottage in a summer community in 1924. This York River pier, led to the site of many memorable crab bites, ghastly splinters and stinging nettle welts for both me and my children for many decades. There was always the risk that a swimmer could come out of the refreshing saltwater in a lot worse shape than when they jumped in.
Well, not that exact pier, as Atlantic Ocean hurricanes and Chesapeake Bay storms damaged or destroyed former piers every so often.
The erstwhile Leake cottage. Gloucester Banks was a child's paradise. Kids could wander around shirtless and barefoot for 18 hours a day, usually with minimal parental supervision. Some parents couldn't be bothered with much oversight as they were usually too busy, yucking it up and telling tall and apocryphal tales on the porch. We had one rule though, dinner had to be served before midnight.

Alas, some years back, ownership of the cottage slipped away from us.
Boarded my New Best Friend, the Northeast Regional from Baltimore to NYC Penn Station, then the Ethan Allen Express for a nice ride along the banks of the Hudson River to Poughkeepsie. Lilly picked me up and we drove to Fishkill, NY to visit her family. Wandered around the old Vanderbilt Mansion in Hyde Park one day.


Colonial graves in downtown Fishkill.
Inevitably, a discussion ensued concerning the question that vexes all perpetual wanderers in these times of Covid; salient topics included closed countries/continents and places with high contagion rates.

The dialogue eventually begs the obvious question: 

Where to next? 

Maybe Mexico?

A little Googling and up pops the Yucatan. Low cases, outdoor living, open to Yanks and an 180 day visa.

JFK to Cancun it is.
Thanks for stopping by





Comments

Unknown said…
Well done Ted, I enjoyed your blog very much!

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