Saturday, September 09, 2006

Cold-Iron... Almost Halfway

The transit from Panama to Norfolk seemed incredibly short. According to my calendar it took a week, but we were pretty busy with training the whole time. I was running two drills a day for three days; it went pretty well, but wore out my training team.

Luckily we were given a chance to recharge before that with a steel beach picnic and a Caribbean swim call. I didn't have much time for pictures since I had watch right after and only had time to jump off the ship and swim back to pilot's ladder. There was a wicked current pushing the ship away and two-three foot seas, which you just don't notice when you're on the ship. I got to gawk at the propeller and rudder a bit, which is always fun. I wished I'd had some dive gear so I could've gotten a closer look!

Now we're in Norfolk, and it's almost like home. Naval Station Norfolk is the world's largest Navy base and home to the world's most bas-ass Navy. I've never been a big fan of the area, and I haven't been stationed here any longer than two weeks, ever. It must be nice to have all the Navy's resources right here waiting for you, though. It's gorgeous and sunny, not too warm, and I'm a lot happier to be here than I ever have been before.

We're in America, with shore power, sitting pierside and cold-iron and enjoying a peaceful weekend before the conferences begin for the next exercise - Group Sail. I'm not even sure which battle group it's with, but I do know they want me at these meetings for a change. It's good, I think I'll come away from them more knowledgable about what's going on.

So my first night back in America in two months was good. I went to the Navy Exchange, decided not to buy anything and go see Talledega Nights instead (it was stupid funny, I highly recommend a matinee - but I laughed pretty hard). I had no idea what any of the movies playing were about, which is kind of cool because you're always surprised.

It's the same with the news; I know things are happening and sometimes even know which things they are, but rarely have the time or energy to get upset about them when I have equipment that needs fixing and other work to take care of. Sorry about that, if you're missing my astute political and philosophical analyses - I'm in deployment mode. I stopped giving a crap about Valerie Plame before the kerfuffle started. Rantings of dictators are on the periphery. I'm not going to get to, nor do I want to see the 9/11 movie. My priorities have been elsewhere, but I'm following along with fellow bloggers as much as I'm able.

I met up with some hashers last night after eating a little bar food at Mo & O'Malley's on Granby St. while listening to irish-drinking songmeister Don Bunch. They had a fine stout there called Bareknuckle Stout, surprisingly brought to you by Anheuser-Busch and from St. Louis. I met the Tidewater hashers at Hell's Kitchen and later went to some night club where the music was too loud, the people couldn't dance and everybody was way too cool to for me. Body paint and angel wings are not my thing. I didn't stay long, but i lost my voice trying to talk over the music anyhow.

So while I'm here, I hope to spend some time hashing outside of meetings and general work. It should be a productive, yet easier week of getting things done and being able to leave the ship in the evenings.

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Blogger L. Riofrio bloody well said...

The Navy took us to Panama in the late nineties, just before the US pulled out. There was still a base to stay at; our quarters were little air-conditioned trailers called "hooches". On a later trip we stayed in hotel in Panama City, which was a lot more comfy.

You won't missing anything by skipping the media frenzy. Despite what the media says, I believe that the majority of Americans believe in the mission. The anniversary of 9/11 reminds us all what it is about.

10 September, 2006 01:51  
Blogger Robosquirrel bloody well said...

I've been to Vasco Nunez de Balboa a couple of times and it looks like it was a terrific base in its day. I think we made a mistake pulling out of there.

Panama City is about the most "American" city in Latin America, probably because we were there for so long, but it has certainly changed - like it's slowly decaying - now that we're gone. Still, it has the advantage of the Canal to feed the economy.

Unfortunately, my ship didn't get liberty in Panama City this time around, maybe next time. Colon is the city on the Caribbean side, but it is apparently a rough town. I was invited over by an expatriate retired Navy captain (who is a Panama City hasher), but we weren't allowed to leave the pier; we couldn't even go on the pier without a buddy.

10 September, 2006 07:47  
Blogger web_loafer bloody well said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

14 September, 2006 03:00  
Blogger web_loafer bloody well said...

I'm sorry I was so smart alec early this morning, please delete my comments. Lack of sleep.

14 September, 2006 10:07  
Blogger Robosquirrel bloody well said...

web_loafer: I appreciate you coming back. I signed up for the 2996 Project, yes. Though I am deployed and currently in a working port getting ready for a huge exercise, I could probably have found some time on Monday. Our Internet land line is finally hooked up, as well, making my response to you about ten times faster than when underway. I have a few minutes now, I just didn't want to throw it up - I had something else to say as well.

14 September, 2006 10:47  

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