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Trip 24 -- Aruba Walk
Sunday, December 20, 2020
Aruba and Zanzibar have a few striking likenesses. They're similarly oriented and proportioned; each runs lengthwise from the northwest to the southeast (or vice versa, if you prefer) and is about four times as long as it is wide, with a chunk bitten out of its northwest extremity. Each has its main city midway down its western side and its airport immediately to the city's south. They're both about 20 miles away from their respective mainlands. However, Zanzibar has more than 13 times Aruba's land area.
I've never seen a Web site explain governmental procedures as clearly and welcomingly as Visit Aruba's. The site shows daily coronavirus cases and guides one through the steps of paying the $30 Covid health-insurance fee, uploading a recent negative PCR test, and completing the unfortunately termed "ED card" for immigration purposes. Last night I waited for Friday's test results to come in, refreshing my e-mail account every couple of minutes like a teenager anxious for his crush's response to a proposed date. At 1:14 a.m., I started to doze off. I'll check one more time, I thought. And there it was.
And so, in about 11 hours, I'll head to Aruba to start the Abecedarian Walks. This walk will take about a week. Zanzibar will take about two and is planned for February.
To provide content in closer to real time, I've established a Twitter account. The handle (@duffilled) is a tribute to Paul Theroux, who, while I was in Massachusetts accumulating the cells that resulted in my birth, was writing his Asian travelogue "The Great Railway Bazaar." It's the book that made me think about taking similar trips of my own (and thus made my dad wonder whether giving me the book when I was 12 or so was such a good idea). Early on in Theroux's journey, a man named Duffill just misses his train and watches helplessly as it pulls away, and the word becomes a verb. Theroux himself gets duffilled near the end of his trip. I've been duffilled at least twice.
May next year mark a substantial return toward normality, and may you never be duffilled.
Go on to day 1