Patsy, our travel agent, says we have a black cloud over us when it comes to DFW and American Airlines, but it only happens when my darling wife, S. is with me. This time the mechanical bug bit our aircraft and we had to wait for another. Only a two hour delay which didn’t actually matter much to us as we planned to overnight in Miami, but the 100 or so other fellow travelers who were making connections in Miami got the shaft.
We finally landed and after the world’s longest runway taxi we disembarked only to be confronted with the world’s longest terminal walk. It was a least six miles I promise you. Unfortunately, it took half the walk schlepping 150 pounds of luggage to overcome my stinginess and induce me to spend the $5 for a luggage cart. And yes, I was getting plenty of advice from the distaff side.
At last we arrived in a sweat at the Miami International Airport Hotel. Here’s where the wisdom comes in: Never, and I mean never, stay at a hotel with airport in its name. This maxim is on a par with:
Never drink good whiskey in a bar with ferns hanging in it.
Never eat in a diner with “mom” or “mother” in the name.
Never expect good food in any restaurant with a salad bar.
I almost added, “avoid all restaurants that have a name starting with “The top of…”. Except I did have some pretty good chow at the Top of the Mark in San Francisco many years ago. Last night we ate at The Port at theTop of the Miami Airport International Hotel” which constitutes at least a double, if not, triple whammy in my Wisdom of the Ages list.
Killing time I stopped by several airport book stores looking for a book on learning Spanish. I’ve been trying to learn Spanish for at least 60 years to little effect, but I thought a little brush up before Havana might be useful. After no luck at four bookshops spread out over two terminals, I gave up and bought a book designed to teach English to Spanish speakers. Don’t ask me why. In a fit of frustration and pique I asked a clerk in the last store why they didn’t have what I was looking for. She replied, “well, I guess everyone here already speaks Spanish”. And they do. 900,000 of the 1.8 million Cubans in America live in Miami and environs. Of the remaining 900,000, a goodly number hail from other Hispanic countries and even the gringos who live here probably have absorbed some Spanish by osmosis. And, of course, they all speak Spanish in Cuba.
This morning the Miami Herald had a story on the front page about a young girl who was the valedictorian of her high school class, wanted to be a neurosurgeon, had been accepted by two ivy league schools and was rewarded with a deportation notice from our government. Evidently her parents had brought her to the US on a tourist visa at age four and never went back to Columbia. Rather than duck the problem, she applied for an exception to the immigration court and was turned down, then because she had come to the notice of ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) they gave her a deportation notice for her troubles. Now all of Miami, (at least the thinking ones) are up in arms and signing petitions to support her. Of the twelve million or so so called illegals in this country, it is credibly estimated that about six million came here legally on tourist or work visas and when their legal period ended, just blended in with society. It’s not right but it happens. If you built a fence forty feet high with razor wire on top guarded by remote controlled machine gun nests every forty yards, we still would not stop the flow of illegals. Food for thought, all nineteen of the 9-11 perpetrators came into the country with visas, legally. Six of them overstayed their visas, but the rest were still here legally. So much for a border fence securing our borders.
It may be that we are long overdue for real immigration reform, and, in the mean time, for chriss sakes, lets demand that congress pass a version of the Dream Act that will not punish children who should be, and could be assets to our society.
BTW, I’m writing this while waiting out yet another delay (2-3 hours) on our never ending journey to Havana.