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Trip 28 -- Curaçao Walk

Day 6: Santa Catharina to airport
Thursday, November 11, 2021

Today: 22430 steps/17.04 km/10.59 mi/3h 18m
Grand total: 177624 steps/138.64 km/86.15 mi/25h 32m

The knock came at exactly eight, my requested breakfast time. I took my pancakes, bacon, cheese, ham, and fruit outside, where a trusting tiny gecko watched me from atop the stash of napkins. When I finished, I left the dish uncovered. A few minutes later, the lizard was still there, but it had no interest in the leftovers.

I left Santa Catharina carrying four rocks. I wouldn't be going directly past yesterday's snarling dogs, but I'd be coming close, and it seemed the kind of area where I might find more of the same. Fortunately all the loud barkers with menacing teeth were behind fences.

For a couple of hours I alternated main roads with residential ones, turning frequently: a delightful variety. I walked along back streets with potholes, past a herd of goats, and up through Sun Valley, where residents enjoy decent views only slightly inferior to those had from the gated area of Sunset Heights above. I descended and followed a straightaway past the improbably located Club Eleven nightspot and then through the small community of Sint Jacob. Then it was a short distance to the airport road, which sported several snack bars -- where I finally had my goat stew.

About ten minutes before the airport I came to Hato Caves, and I had time for a tour. The terraced coral-limestone caves are 300,000 years old, and over the years the seeping through of rainwater from above has resulted in some lovely formations: an elephant, a turtle, a frog, a giant mushroom, a witch, a blind pirate, and layers of curtains resembling a supine woman with her hair flowing down.

Around 300 bats emerge through the ceiling each dusk in search of fruit, returning in the morning. Near the entrance are black domes, the result of torches used by slaves hiding in the 1860s. Petroglyphs left by the Arawak people date from 1500 years ago.

Getting through the Curaçao airport was easy; getting through the transfer in Miami involved needless mazes and a TSA PreCheck line that was much slower than the regular line. We flopped our way into LaGuardia Airport and I gave thanks to the inventor of seatbelts.

The new layout of LaGuardia means much more walking. Leaving the plane I had eight minutes to make the Q70 bus to the subway; somehow it had dwindled to two by the time I was out of the secure zone, and I still had several escalators to navigate.

The last set of these featured a closed-off downward escalator, and down was the way to the bus. Down the hall the situation was the same: up only, with a barrier preventing access to what would have been the way down. Why not let people walk it? And why was up the only way one could go? How many people were going to the check-in area at 10:30 at night?

I pressed the emergency-stop button and ran down to the lower level, and of course the bus had just departed. The next one was due in 18 minutes. It came sooner, but while I waited I waxed nostalgic for the untimed walker's schedule I had so recently enjoyed.