4th of July. Independence Day in the United States of America. The last time I was in the United States was in 2019, visiting my uncle. Danny‘s last time was in 2017, when he visited New York and Washington, DC with Ivan in 2017. In 2016, we travelled across America by train. That all feels such a long time ago.
I’ll tell what’s even a longer time ago. My first time in the US. It was 1989. I was 7 or 8.I has never met my uncle at that point. Travelling to the US was such an endeavor. So expensive. So exclusive. We travelled to New York, to San Francisco, to Los Angeles and to San Diego. My uncle lived in Claremont, California back then. That really was another time. George H.W. Bush (Rep.) was president. My image of the US was what I saw on ‘The A-Team‘ and ‘CHiPs‘.
I returned a a few years in a row. In summer or for Christmas. I have especially fond memories of my visit in 1998. I was 17, discovering myself and my parents sent me on my own to California, where my uncle took me on a camping trip to Las Vegas, Nevada and Utah. A true coming of age experience.
There’s an elephant in the room. A political, Republican, elephant. In 2016, Donald J. Trump was elected President of the United States. During conversations we had with Americans during our train travels that year, we could feel it. The resentment for Hilary Rodham Clinton was so big.
We are not political analysts, but Trump’s presidency is palpably a turning point for the US. The repeal of ‘Roe v. Wade‘, which made abortion possible in all states, by the Supreme Court has sent a shockwave throughout the ‘Disunited States’.
What’s next? The repeal of ‘Obergefell v. Hodges‘, which opened marriage to same-sex couples? Even worse, the repeal of ‘Lawrence v. Texas‘, which in 2003 was a landmark decision t in which SCOTUS ruled that sanctions of criminal punishment for those who commit sodomy are unconstitutional. That would mean what adults consensually do with each other can be a crime again. And especially gay sex.
My uncle lives in North Carolina. It’s one of the states which without the cover of ‘Lawrence v. Texas’, criminalises gay sex. The other ones are Florida, Kansas, Kentucky, Georgia, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Minnesota, Maryland, Massachusetts, Oklahoma, South Carolina and Texas.
It doesn’t motivate to return stateside quickly. I certainly will though, to visit my my uncle.
And I do know that laws and regulations don’t necessarily reflect how people treat you. But it does spoil the fun.
So it won’t be a surprise to you, dear reader, the current evolution in the USA does not feed our heart with joy.
But mostly, other factors are at play, which outweigh moral objections. Prices. Uncertainties about the future. Staff shortages and difficulties to get time off at work.
So, why not take this 4th of July 2022 to bring an overview of past US travels?
2016 America Rail Adventure
- Flying to Chicago;
- The California Zephyr to San Francisco;
- San Francisco;
- Capitol Corridor;
- Amtrak Cascades;
- The Coast Starlight;
- Los Angeles;
- Flying back.
2017 Danny & Ivan’s New York and Washington, DC Trip
- REVIEW | Brussels Airlines Economy Privilege Brussels to New York.
- Spending time in the Smithsonian Museums in Washington DC and New York.
2019 Timothy’s North Carolina, Virginia and New York Family Visit
- Brussels Airport to New York JFK with Brussels Airlines in Economy.
- REVIEW | Holiday Inn LaGuardia Airport.
- New York LaGuardia Airport to Wilmington, North Carolina with American Eagle and Envoy Air on an Embraer ERJ-140LR.
- The White House of the Confederacy in Richmond, Virginia.
- REVIEW | The Jefferson Hotel in Richmond, Virginia.
- American Civil War Museum at Tredegar Iron Works in Richmond, Virginia.
- Virginia State Capitol in Richmond.
- Virginia Museum of Fine Arts in Richmond.
- Two days and two nights in Richmond, Virginia.
- Wilmington International Airport (ILM) to Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA) with American Eagle and PSA Airlines on a Bombardier (Canadair) CRJ-200ER.
- National September 11 Memorial & Museum (World Trade Center) in Manhattan, New York.
- The Oculus aka World Trade Center Transportation Hub in Manhattan’s Financial District (New York).
- REVIEW | Holiday Inn New York City – Wall Street in Manhattan’s Financial District.
- Star Alliance’s Lufthansa Senator Lounge at JFK Terminal 1 (New York).
- REVIEW | Brussels Airlines’ 2019 ‘Boutique Hotel’ business class on its Brussels Airport to New York JFK route.