On January 15th we will depart for south eastern USA and Cuba. We will take one week traveling down to Miami, spend one week in Havana, Cuba, then fly back to Miami and drive down to Key Colony Beach, Florida. We have rented a house with Marsha's cousin Linda and her husband Dan for 1 month.
On March 1, Will will join us for the trip back to Lexington taking two weeks to go to Ft Myers for Red Sox spring training, Sarasota to visit our friend Alex and Kathy McKenzie, and Atlants to see Marsha's brother's family, including 2 new babies. Then a three day drive back with a stop in Washington to Lexington.
We're eager to go where it will be warm and we can live more outside than we tend to in the winter in New England.
We are also eager to stretch our minds beyond our current national nightmares and to remind ourselves that our country is better than the Trump regime.
Stay tuned for the good news we discover in our travels!
-- Harry & Marsha
P.S. The funny date (after we get back) is my way of pinning this post to the top of the blog. -- HF
Click below right to see more about our plans for Cuba and the Florida Keys:
We decided to get into the flow of life in the tropics and lingered over breakfast on the porch and did not venture out until midday.
Armed with the instructions from Mylena and Otto on how to hail a collectivo taxi and specify where we wanted to go, we set off with more than a little bit of trepidation. The collectivo taxis are basically unrestored old American cars that ply certain routes for 1 CUC (Convertible Peso) (worth about $1.25) per person per ride. The cars are basically rattle traps that spew noxious diesel fumes. The drivers weave slowly in and out of traffic depositing passengers at their destinations and picking up new ones along the way. They shift gears and make change for their passengers all at the same time. On our return trip from Havana Vieja tonight Harry noted that the car radio was basically filling the noise gap between the noisy muffler (actually I'm not sure these cars have mufflers) the crunching gears and the other rattles emanating from this ancient Plymouth.
This morning we were greeted by Mylena when we ventured out of our room. She served us breakfast on the open air porch which wraps around the apartment. It was an ample breakfast which started with Cuban Coffee. Although they warned us that it would be strong and served it with a second carafe of hot water to weaken it and with warm milk we decided that it was not much stronger than the standard cup at Peet's Coffee.
This was followed by eggs cooked to order, a basket of assorted breads, then a plate of assorted fresh fruit, guava and papaya juice and, to top it all off a slice of lemon pie. Pie for breakfast this is my kind of place. What they refer to as lemon is actually lime. This pie was green. The same was true in the restaurant where we went for lunch. We ordered lemonade but what arrived was definitely limeade (recipe). Not that we mind in either case both the pie and the limeade were delicious. We also met and chatted with the two young Finnish women who are the other current guests here.
We parked our car in the long-term section of the hotel parking lot and availed ourselves of the hotel shuttle bus to the airport. Then we spent about an hour checking in, getting our "Cuba ready" stamps on our boarding passes and snaking through the security line. Then we twiddled our thumbs for an hour before the plane boarded.
A glance at the calendar this morning made us realize that we really could slow down to a proverbial crawl. The driving time from here (Brunswick, Georgia) to Miami (where we need to be Sunday night) is a measly 6 1/2 hours. So we re-upped our hotel room for one more day and decided to check out Jekyll Island, which is, a 20 minute drive from here. Boy are we glad that we did - especially on a day with a clear blue sky where the temperature topped out at 78 degrees.
The planning and conservation department of Jekyll Island are to be congratulated. There are no buildings over 4 stories in height, miles of undeveloped beaches, over 14 miles of paved and scenic bicycle paths, numerous clean public bathrooms, and public parks and picnic areas with beach views. Yes there are private homes and hotels ranging from Days Inn to the Westin and the Historic Jekyll Island Club, and the needed shops and restaurants. But the overall feeling is one of relaxation and natural beauty.
We had our morning coffee outside by the beach then chose a route for a bicycle ride through a marsh out to the aptly named barefoot beach. For our first bicycle outing we were both pleased with the 4.2 mile distance covered. Then we had an unexpectedly delicious lunch (again outside within earshot of the waves). After lunch we took advantage of the nearby swinging bench and then the Adirondack chairs. We chatted with a long time Island resident and checked out the rest of the Island by car. Lovely day.
Our intention this morning was to take a long walk in the Lewis Vinter Botanical Garden in Richmond before heading back out on the road. Alas the temperature was in the low 40's and there was a light rain falling from a decidedly gray sky. Not exactly garden strolling weather. So we just got in the car and headed further south on Interstate 95.
At one point we came across this AMC Pacer (1975-1979) that had been meticulously restored. We thought it was rather cute, but Time magazine judged is this way:
A recent poll by Hagerty Insurance asked enthusiasts to name the worst car design of all time: This glassine bolus of dorkiness is the pathetic winner. Remember Richard Teague, designer of the amputated Gremlin? Him again. But, come on, the Pacer, it's Wayne and Garth's Mirth-mobile, for Heaven's sake! You can't hate on that. Indeed, my family owned a dark green Pacer with that Navajo-blanket upholstery, and it worked just fine until I drove it through a ditch, after which the heavy doors hung off their hinges like beagle ears. What I remember of this car is that, in the summer, it was like being an ant under a mean kid's magnifying glass. The air conditioning was non-existent. You could actually see fumes of volatile petrochemicals out-gassing from the plastic dash. Wayne, I feel woozy.
Once we got going we did exactly what we said we would not do and drove 8 hours to Charleston. The temperature when we arrived was a mild 64 degrees.
We arrived in time for a nice walk in the twilight before dinner.
Sometimes the memory of a particular meal does not hold up when you go back to the same place and order the same dish. The Shrimp and Cheese Grits at Hyman's Seafood lived up to its reputation tonight. The Shrimp Scampi with Fried Okra and Hush Puppies wasn't too shabby either. Yum!
Finally, for all of you sports fans, this looks like a very nice place to watch a game.
We left Lexington at 9am (with two cups of Pete’s coffee) and made it to Richmond, VA before 6 pm. Blue skies and clear roads all the way.
We started listening to the excellent book "Telex from Cuba", a well written Historical Fiction, pre-Castro, sets the scene for the Cuban Revolution. Another recommendation for preparation in Cuban history is a series on Netflix titled "The Cuba Libre Story".
We will slow down the pace the next few days now that we are far enough south to be able to be outside without freezing.