My Last Rotation: A Tale of Two Trips

Posted: December 6, 2013 in Random Thoughts
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Wichita

So, the first half of my rotation started with me driving down to Wichita in my car to perform preventive maintenance at the two sites I’d almost gone to last month before going to work in the Oklahoma prison site.  A good mileage trip.  I worked at two pharmacies.  I stayed two nights at the downtown Holiday Inn.  But most importantly, I ate at two good local restaurants — a diner and a barbecue joint.

The diner was across from my hotel, called the Doo-Dah Diner.  One thinks of the song Camptown Races when you think of the diner’s name, but a sign inside the diner says Doo-Dah was an actual nickname for Wichita, once upon a time.  I had the breakfast burrito.  Most places fill their burritos with potatoes and scrimp on the good stuff, like meat and eggs.  Doo-Dah’s burrito was full of meat and eggs, light on the starchy filler, and delightfully swimming in cheese and green chili.

The barbecue place was in an industrial, run-down area of the city.  It was called “Pig In! Pig Out!”  I’ll refer to it as PIPO.  At PIPO, you walk in and order your food at the counter, wait for it, then go pick your table.  The restaurant was light on amenities, but a couple of things made up for that.  First, I was entertained, looking at all the flyers for BBQ competitions in which PIPO had competed and the prizes they’d won.  The barbecue was pretty darned good!  In addition, I was entertained by a couple of local blues musicians playing at a table near mine.  They stamped the restaurant with authenticity.

After finishing my second site on Saturday, I was told to drive home; I was needed in Virginia on Monday morning.  I spent the night at home, then flew to Norfolk on Sunday.

norfolk-virginia

I’ve been to Norfolk a few times in my life, but I’m not really familiar with the place.  The first time I was ever there, I was in college, participating in my senior-year midshipman cruise during Christmas break.  I stayed aboard the USS Edenton, then, at the Little Creek Amphibious Base.  My work assignment last rotation had me returning to Little Creek for the first time in almost 30 years.  I didn’t recognize anything there.  I stayed at the Holiday Inn.  But most importantly, I had dinner at an Indian-food restaurant at a nearby mall, called Nawab.  I ordered my chicken tikka masala “Indian” spicy, as the waitress called it.  The food was very good, so I was very surprised that while I was there from 5 to 6, I was the only person eating in the restaurant (there were a couple of folks who’d come in for take-out).

 

suffolk_va

 

Then, I drove to Suffolk to complete preventive maintenance at a grocery store pharmacy.  I stayed at the Holiday Inn express.  But most importantly, I ate at a Japanese Restaurant next door, called Iron Chef.  I sometimes wish every foreign-food restaurant were a buffet, because at most places, I know what I like when I see it but I don’t know what it’s called.  Authentic Japanese food is the same for me.  I’ve happily eaten plenty of it, but I’ve forgotten what to call my favorites.  So, at Iron Chef I ordered a box dinner full of unfamiliar-sounding foods, having faith I would joyfully gobble them up.  And I did!  I added the seaweed salad, which is a new favorite of mine, but the rest of the box was new to me and very much to my liking.

That night, I stayed again at the Holiday Inn Express.  Because my normal travel-home day is Thursday, and Thursday was Thanksgiving, I was able to travel on Wednesday instead.  I expected the day before Thanksgiving to be a very busy travel day, yet both my flights had plenty of empty seats.  I had an entire row of seats to myself on both flights, something to be very thankful for….

 

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