So . . . that is all for now folks . . . we are all out of travel stories. We’ve been stuck in the U.S. since March, first in rural Wisconsin and then in Minneapolis. And, in light of covid, we plan to stay in Minneapolis for the time being (at least until October….after that, who knows). And, in light of covid, we aren’t doing much of interest in Minneapolis — we still haven’t even been to a restaurant believe it or not.
As far as places to be stuck, Minneapolis isn’t half bad. Our apartment is reasonably comfortable and only two blocks from a Whole Foods (which, thankfully, enforces the mask rule). We can get curbside pick-up of pretty much everything we need (except Charmin). The city is full of walking paths and bike paths and parks, so we can take a walk nearly every day and still socially distance (although, we do tend to avoid walking on the weekends if the weather is nice as things get a bit too crowded then).
In fact, really the only downside we have found to Minneapolis is the price of Thai food. It is outrageous. Seriously, I’m talking highway robbery outrageous. Thai food here is about double the price of Thai food in Chicago. But, we have found an Asian grocery called Ha Tien for all those Asian flavors we have been craving (it isn’t as good as Super H Mart for those of you in Chicago, but it is pretty good nonetheless). We even managed to get a green papaya and make papaya salad. (Which is a good thing, because one of the local Thai restaurants that came recommended to us wants $17.95 for papaya salad. No, that isn’t a typo. Our favorite Thai restaurant in Chicago only charges $9 for the same dish and the papaya we bought at the grocery for under $4 was big enough to make at least eight servings. I so don’t get it.)
That said, we sure have been disappointed in how the U.S. has handled the covid outbreak and are having serious second thoughts about our decision to flee Ecuador. Our Federal Government is a disaster. How we can still not have a coherent and consistent testing and tracing and quarantining policy nationwide is beyond us. (Don’t even get me started on Trump’s refusal to wear a mask and his recent statements that we need to slow down testing and his insistence on having a big fireworks display over a holiday weekend without requiring masks or social distancing.) Public health officials have put out confusing and conflicting information. Don’t wear a mask. Wear a mask. Wipe your groceries down. Don’t wipe your groceries down. Wash your hands and don’t touch your face. (If I just washed my hands, why can’t I touch my face? And, if I’m supposed to wash my hands every time I come inside, even though I don’t touch anything, then why don’t I have to wash my clothes and my sunglasses and take a shower too?) While some (but certainly not all) of our state governments initially did an admirable job of trying to contain the virus, they pretty much all caved and opened up before the virus was truly in check and are now paying the price. Nobody is even acknowledging that the U.S. has basically made the decision that the economy is more important than the lives of essential workers and vulnerable populations. While there might be some merit to that argument (we aren’t saying it is the right decision, just that it is a conversation that could have been had in light of the number of Americans out of work and unable to pay rent and desperate for food at this point), it should at least be acknowledged that is what the country has decided to do. God forbid we should even consider a universal basic income or rent and mortgage abatement or anything else along those lines. The selfishness of so many Americans astounds us. So many people refused to follow stay at home orders. I’ve had friends (the Facebook kind, not the real kind) say they refused to wear masks or stay home because “they aren’t afraid.” Security guards at stores have been shot and spit upon for asking customers to wear masks. People refuse to take small steps to social distance (e.g., following the one way signs at groceries or walking in a single file when they meet other people or moving to one side when jogging past someone). And, don’t even get me started on the people screaming “all lives matter” and “turn Facebook blue to support the police” because I am so not having that right now.
Enough of my rant.
Travel-wise, we don’t know what our future holds. I obsessively check to see which countries are opening their borders to Americans. Not surprisingly, plenty of countries aren’t allowing Americans in at the moment. That said, I have my fingers crossed that come October we can get back out there. Robert, oddly enough, is more cautious than me and keeps making noises that we are stuck in the U.S. until there is a vaccine. He obsessively looks for furnished apartments in blue and purple cities that will be warm over the winter. I really hope we aren’t stuck in the U.S. long-term . . . . (In fact, we have tickets to Mexico at the end of October for a wedding, although we are both resigned to the fact that we probably won’t be able to use them.)
In the meantime, things around here will be pretty quiet unless we screw up our courage (or our stupidity) and start doing things around the Midwest (a town in Wisconsin full of garden gnomes is calling my name). If you want to be notified when we post something new, take a look at the right hand side of the page and enter your email where it says “Follow Blog via Email.” (Pretty sure you have to be on the full website, not a mobile site, to see this.) Until then, stay safe and stay healthy. And, wear your stupid mask when you can’t (or won’t) social distance — it won’t kill you (seriously, it won’t), but not wearing it just might kill someone else.