Friday, August 22, 2014

Red eye flight to Virginia Beach

We started to fly on Thursday from SEATAC. I was issued TSA Pre, but Kathy was not, so I went through the line with her. Screening was not too bad. We got to the gate early, but the plane, UA1167 was late. I got a chili at Pisa Cafe near gate A9. Our table was located so I could see the jet bridge so I would know when our flight got there and the chili was pretty good.

A lot of people were stressed about their connections, but we had a two hour layover so we stopped for breakfast at ORD; we had gate F4B. Truth is, I prefer the MacDonalds, (love the Egg White Delight), but Kathy wanted a sit down restaurant and that is certainly fair, so we opted for Chili's. I had the classic breakfast, it was OK, but Kathy had their South West Omelet. That is tasty! Kathy could not finish her breakfast, so I was honored to help. That flight, UA4456, was also late, but we were not in a hurry. We both slept. Redeye flights are getting harder and harder on me.

We landed at the Norfolk/VA Beach airport. I have never been there before. It seems really peaceful and there look like some interesting places to eat, but some of them are before security. I am always a bit tense until I clear TSA. We had not arranged a car, so we took a taxi to the hotel. I do not prefer taxis, too many times, I have been some rickety vehicle, being driven too fast and aggressively. However, this driver was a lady from Ethiopia who drove carefully and was pleasant to speak with.

When we got to the Hilton, there was a tiny amount of confusion, we are checking in on Friday, but we have some other rooms reserved for family on Saturday. However, Landon was on the case. We were given a lovely ocean view corner room. The guy that helped us from the bell desk, Ibrahim, shared a bit of local lore.

I wanted to get a late lunch. There is a bit of a hole in the wall on 23rd Street that has great fish tacos, so we went there. It is called Baja Cantina. They give you three types of hot sauce and they are all quite respectable and I believe they are housemade. It was a lovely experience and they were able to accommodate Kathy with gluten free taco shells. A lot of their food is fried, but we were able to order grilled fish. It is a blast pouring a bit of the hot sauce onto the taco and eating it, but I also enjoyed them as is. We were about to sit out with the outdoor tables, it is a very hazy, humid day for Virginia Beach with the occasional drop of rain. I have been here when the sun is so bright you cannot comfortable touch the table.

We decided to return to the hotel along the VA Beach path. They are having an African American festival centered around 23rd street. Great music, a bit loud, but awesome. What I liked the best were these posters in frames with stories about important people and events in the history of our African American brothers and sisters. We stopped at every one and read it. I hope their festival goes well, they may be dealing with some rain and possibly even a thunderstorm.

There are three keys to getting back into performance shape after a red-eye flight that I have learned in my two millions miles of flying. First, it is OK to take a nap, but don't take a long one since you have to get into your new time zone and that means falling asleep at the proper time for that time zone. That rule does not apply to Kathy, she can nap, jump up and shoot some photos, come back to bed and crash and get up in the new time zone. Second, open every blind and curtain possible; thank you Hilton, (and SANS), for the corner room; this way the natural light will hit us in the morning. Third set at least one, and perhaps two or three alarms for the time you will need to be up when you are working. For me, that is 6:30 AM the first day, but after that it can be 7:30 AM.

For supper, I wandered up to North End Pizza and got a Greek salad for Kathy and I to share. I love that place, but it is best to call ahead. Their Greek salad dressing is among the best I have ever tasted. Kathy is out shooting the evening talk and then we are off duty.

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