Friday, July 07, 2006

Short Break

Well, I got back from Okinawa a little while ago. It was an interesting and productive trip.

I flew down on one of our Army fixed wing "VIP" type aircraft, in this case, a Beechcraft 200 Super King. We left the nearby Navy base for Iwakuni, had a brief layover to get gas and pick up a few others, and then headed on down to Kadena, Okinawa. The flight was uneventful, though a bit on the overcast/low ceiling side up closer to Tokyo. It was raining a little farther south, but by the time we got to Okinawa, we had a beautiful sunset that we got to witness from about 6000 feet up. I love to fly, and it's rare that I get to ride in the smaller aircraft. Also, my ratio of landing with military aircraft is still fewer than my takeoffs. Any time you actually get to land with the plane, not having to jump out of it before it lands is a good thing.

Checked into the lodge there at Kadena, and had better accomodations than last time. No bathtub faucets came off in my hands. It was too late to link up with my co-workers, so I walked across the street to the O-club, and had a sandwich and a beer. Then, back for a little TV (LOTR was on) and bed.

The next day was spent shuttling back and forth between a few different locations on the island, checking times and distances and meeting folks. It was a good chance to iron out how the military medical support is conducted there on the island, and gave my SOB (Sort of Boss) a good idea of who does what. We were so busy that we missed lunch, so we ate at a teppanyaki place for supper, and filled ourselves up nicely on Kobe beef, chicken, salad, stir fried veggies, bread and an Orion beer (the local brew...Greg D., I toasted you and your new baby).

While I was supposed to come back tomorrow on another military flight, I had to rearrange my schedule to miss a typhoon that's on it's way toward the island. We had to do a bit of scrambling, but I got myself onto a flight this afternoon back to Haneda, and a ride to my car at the Navy base, and finally, about an hour ago, got back home. Melody is on her way home now after spending some time with friends. As we were taking off, the rain bands were just hitting the island. This time, though, I was in a 747-400, which was quite a bit more comfortable, and instead of the 6 hours of travel, a mere 2.

It's good to be home, but I've got to gin up a quick trip report, wash my clothes and repack for the trip to HI next week. Somewhere in there, I'll need to mow the lawn again, too, since I'll be gone for a while. It's still the rainy season here, and the grass grows like a weed. Which much of it is...

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Upcoming Travels

I'll be out for the next few weeks on various business trips. First, down to Okinawa on an orientation trip and series of office calls with my new "sort of" boss. I say sort of, because she's the Surgeon on paper, and I'm "sort of" part of the the Surgeon's office. But, she primarily is the commander of the clinic down the street. Ironically enough, she and I served together in Egypt back in 1994, along with the social worker on our camp. It's been fun catching up on old times and who's doing what where. She married an Australian officer stationed there as well, and it's been fun getting to know him as well. I bought him a couple of six packs of Victoria Bitter (a particular type of beer that was served in Egypt) which he couldn't get back in Georgia (USA).

After Okinawa, I'll be headed to Hawaii for a conference there. I'll be stuck in Honolulu for 10 days but, it's all in the name of freedom. And, as someone once said, "We're all making sacrifices." Of course that guy said that when denying someone the opportunity to take a trip home...Hawaii will be mostly work, but I do have a few friends that I'm looking forward to seeing after a long time. My old neighbors, Cary and Stacey, from Louisiana, and Ginger and Mike, friends of ours from DC. Last year, I had a chance to do a little bit of sightseeing, and took a couple of nature tours and spent a day walking up to the Diamond Head crater. Probably one of the best business trips I've every been on...

Last time I was there, the connectivity was rather spotty, but I'll try to do some blogging as well while there. We'll see...