Thursday, August 11, 2016

Danny returns home

Well hello. I would like to tell you I am home right now but cannot for two reasons.
One reason is that my dad doesn't know I'm coming home early and I'm surprising him as he boards the deep sea fishing boat he thinks he's doing with the other children.

But the second reason is more authentic.  I'm not yet home. Despite the fact that it is now 2am on Monday and I left 12pm from Guyana on Saturday is not lost on me. Or my rapidly depleting energy as I have not slept in this time either. Nor will I sleep at least until Monday night (still a merciless 19 hours from now).

So when I post this it means I waited til after that day (Monday)  due to surprise and authenticity.
So why am I sitting in the Atlanta airport at 2am? Unlike Quentin Tarantino,  I think the beginning is the best place to start so let's go back a few months when I booked my trip home.
Sorry, I think I may have nodded off for a minute there.

Where was I? Oh yes. So a couple months ago when I had finalized my departure date(but not yet knowing I'd be moving to South Carolina), I had wanted to make sure I saw my brother in Atlanta. Because of. His work schedule, I checked with him to make sure he was free when I'd arrive and then I booked my flight. The thing is to fly from Guyana to Atlanta is very expensive so instead I flew Guyana to Panama. I'd  have a half day in Panama to explore then continue onward from Panama to Miami. From Miami the plan was to rent a car and drive through thd night and arrive at Drew's place mid morning, catch up on lost sleep and then hang out for a day or two.

Well they do say SOMETHING about best laid plans. Andrew had forgotten that he actually did have something that weekend (my nieces birthday and dad's deep sea fishing trip) so he wouldn't be around.  Which was fine since I could change my flight from Atlanta to Boston from Tuesday to Sunday... But no the price of the flights on Sunday were prohibitively expensive so I had to settle from a 5:45am flight out Monday morning.

Which then left me with two nights of no sleep.

So here's how it went down:
It started out good enough with the Peace Corps driver picking me up within an hour of on time and me getting to the airport early enough to spend my last few GYD on a latte which I subsequently spilled all over myself as I embraced my friend Joel who I had not seen since I had moved from New Amsterdam back in late January. He was heading home (Cuba) and was on the same flight to Panama as I was. In fact he was sitting, purely by chance, one row behind me. We were able to catch up and after finishing it on the flight I gave him my copy of Dharma Bums.

Helping another escape samsara must help your own karma right? Well if it does, it must do so in mysterious ways. I arrive in Panama to find it enveloped in cloud and pouring rain. Since my plan was to walk around the city and as I had donated my umbrella prior to leaving Guyana, that was out. So instead I just settled in and ate my leftover cook up (or as my brother in law calls it:glop). Not quite how I was hoping to spend my time in Panama, but oh well I expect I'll be back at some point.
From Panama, I flew to Miami arriving a little before 2am picked up my rental car and started my trip north. It is amazing how reliant we become on our phones. Not having one now (or more correctly not having a data plan) I wasnt able to access GPS so ended up running two tolls (they didn't have options for a physical payment) be for getting on 95. NOT looking forward to that bill.
Being used to Guyana,  I was expecting sunrise around 5am thinking I would then find a little secluded beach and take a couple hours nap. Instead however the sun didn't make her appearance until well past six which meant I was well past the beaches I knew around the Southern Florida area. I finally settled on St Augustine beach (more on the history) around 8am. By 8:15am after having sand fleas bite and beachcombers step on me, I decided sleep was out of the question. I jumped in the ocean which invigorated me enough to go from a run along the beach. Which lasted probably three quarters of a mile behind my tender feet couldn't tolerate the shells slowly gouging out small chunks of flesh like a microscopic Shylock.   

I got gingerly back in the rental (a ford fiesta, by all counts but one a wonderfully efficient car. I only needed to fill out the tank 1 1/2 times for the whole 700 miles!)  I opted to follow the brown signs.
NOTE:always follow the brown signs. They will lead you either to a historic landmark or a some form of natural beauty. Either way you will be pleased.

So anyway I followed one to historic St Augustine which, lo and behold, was really nice. St Augustine is the oldest European settlement in the US that is still inhabited. Established all the way back in 1565. Meanwhile Native Americans settled Cahokia slightly less than 1000 years earlier.

After looking around and visiting the fort, I continued onward pausing only momentarily in Jacksonville but cutting across I 10. This is where things got interesting. Really only because I opted to drive backroads through Georgia to Atlanta rather than on the highway. I came to some little towns that I was sure would be playing the Deliverance theme song and also a few cool little state parks. It was nice to get off the beaten path a bit. In all definitely was worth the detour. I still arrived in Atlanta with several hours to spare so hung around for a bit before making my way over to the airport. Not exactly the most restful few days but surprisingly not too bad.

Except the next day, I would still not sleep as I was to head out deep sea fishing with my family. But that's enough for now.

Until next time,


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