ORLANDO – Stepping off the airplane this afternoon and walking into the bright and spacious concourse here was like entering the future. After a week in Puerto Rico, many aspects of life in the United States which I have heretofore taken for granted seem like wonderful luxuries.
Not to put too fine a point on it, Puerto Rico is, in many respects, the third world. True, many luxury hotels line the Atlantic coast in San Juan, and while there, Miriam and I could walk around the corner to Pueblo, which felt remarkably like an Albertson’s. At the same time, however, a level of poverty exists there which is simply unknown in the the USA. And that poverty is pervasive. Unlike in America, Puerto Rican slums and projects stand right beside the homes of the wealthy, and slums stand on beachfront property. Thus, Puerto Rico often felt like a foreign country to me.
As we drove from Orlando International Airport to Miriam’s parents’ home, the wide, safe, well-lit, properly maintained highway seemed to me like a vision from a futuristic utopia.
While I am glad to be home, and enjoy the luxuries of life in the United States, I am aware that I just took a legendary vacation that I will remember fondly for the rest of my life.