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Carnes: Travel ain’t what it used to be

Like a lot of others in Happy Valley, we magically created a few convenient excuses to travel these past few weeks after not being “allowed” to for over a year.

Yes, yes, I know, not all of us, but work with me here and don’t miss the point, just because you haven’t been able to leave yet.

It was interesting, to say the least, and by interesting I mean different from normal, and by different from normal I mean an absolute pain in the tuchus to travel, but completely worth reaching each destination, meaning I now have a much better appreciation for all the guests that visited here during this past winter.



First for us was South Florida to visit my bride’s 92-year-old mom. The three airports, Eagle-DIA-Fort Myers, were similar in that the FAA keeps a tight grip on mask wearing, with 99% compliance in all three.

That all changed in the Naples area, where it was about a 50/50 split, as apparently “God’s Waiting Room” has a quickly revolving door, so many simply don’t seem to care.



Next was an international flight to Cozumel with a brief stop in Dallas, where again the airport was strictly in control of monitoring mask compliance. I saw one person without a mask, and he was walking fast with his head down as if trying not to get caught.

It was my first visit in that part of Mexico, and to be perfectly honest, my laid-back stereotypes had me expecting a relatively lax environment, but I couldn’t have been more wrong

Everyone, everywhere, wore masks, with the only glaring exception being on the beach and the occasional obvious American tourist thinking he (or she) didn’t have to because, well, because they’re American dammit (but the clothes are a dead giveaway).

Even the throngs in thongs on motor scooters, which are everywhere, along with every worker in every store and every restaurant wore them continuously. I absentmindedly had to be reminded a few times when I forgot, thus exposing myself as yet another typical American, but I blame Pina Coladas.

The tiny little island has been economically devastated over the last year, and they are doing all they can possibly do to help stop the spread.

But why, Richard (you might ask), you pointy end of a cactus needle, are you sharing this, besides the obvious dig of rubbing it in?

Simple.

India is exploding with COVID-19 cases and deaths, with over 400,000 cases in a single day. Through Europe and on to South America, the virus is mutating and killing thousands weekly, except in the United States where vaccinations have helped keep it in check recently, although we’re still No. 1 in total deaths.

Yet a minority of Americans appear to still believe it’s all some devious political plot to attack “Muh’ freedums” because hey, the world revolves around us, and besides, the so-called science keeps changing every week.

These types will never accept that, unlike ancient belief systems, science is an ever-evolving entity because it never stops learning, and each thing learned enhances our view of reality.

It’s also known as progress.

Sadly, such blind ignorance is helping this worldwide pandemic continue, but I wish we didn’t have to carry the unvaccinated on our backs until herd immunity is reached, if it’s even possible at this point.

And besides, after a few weeks of glorious beaches we just made it home Sunday — in the snow — and I felt obligated to share a few travel tips with those still unable to leave.


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