Mah-wage!

Last night, I went to a wedding reception. Read: not a wedding. That happened earlier in the afternoon and I couldn’t leave work but that evening, there was a terrific party for the good Dr. Ken and his lovely wife Linnea. Ken is a friend of mine from the Kitty Hawk and it was so much fun to go to a party with people I know in San Diego. Well, actually I only knew one person when I got there but I met a lot of their awesome friends throughout the night.

I was on call so I kept an eye on my pager but no calls. Yay! And even though I didn’t initially feel like dancing, I summoned up the energy and had a great time. Sometimes it’s hard on a Friday night to shake off the work week, you know?

And I have a new favorite song! “Wonderful Day” by O.A.R. Now, I’ve never been much of an O.A.R. fan b/c I lumped them into the “frat rock” genre of music but I think I have to reconsider. At the very least, this song is one of the happiest & jauntiest I’ve heard in awhile.

And then if you want another fun song, “Low” by Flo rida is so awesome to dance to. Listen to it and don’t dance, I dare you! At the very least, it’s going to make an awesome addition to a workout mix. Got to fit into those Applebottom Jeans, you know?

My Summer Vacation

With a subject like that, I feel I should be writing this in a bound composition book. Which, BTW, did you know the covers for the black and white marble composition books have totally changed? They still have the same pattern but the firm cardboard is gone! It is now a very flimsy thin cardboard cover. Way disappointing.

So, this summer has ended up being totally awesome. Apart from my entries bemoaning my complete lack of Kanji knowledge, it looks like I left off somewhere in Guam. Oh and the language fix. EMBARRASSINGLY simple. Less whining, more doing is the takeaway point o’ the day.

Guam was awesome. I stayed in a hotel right on Tamuning Bay, away from the main strip in Tumon Bay. I went there several times for dinners, movies, and hanging out but there were so many KH people around that it was nice to be removed from the action for the majority of the time.

There was an awesome restaurant near the Marriott that I totally cannot remember the name of but it was a combo coffee shop with fresh out of the oven baked goods and a great restaurant. I had an ahi tuna/mashed avocado tower that was incredibly good. The presentation was beautiful- perfectly layered circles of the dish components.

My favorite place in Guam is definitely Ritidian Point. It’s a nature preserve with beautiful beaches that feel like they are private. Each beach site has its own parking spot and it’s really nice to go on a weekday. I could look in either direction and for a good part of the time I was there, I was unable to see anyone else. It was so beautiful and peaceful.

After the Guam trip, the KH sailed around for almost three weeks until we got to Hawaii. Hawaii was amazing. I stayed in a condo near Kailua (East/windward side) 1-3 July, worked on the 4th and during the day on the 5th, then stayed in Waikiki 5-7 July. The absolute culinary highlight was brunch at the Halekulani. I have been to some amazing brunches in my life (Army-Navy, Shangri-La in Malaysia) but this was so far beyond those places it’s hard to describe. My favorite dish was the Eggs Benedict with the egg on crab hash as opposed to Canadian bacon. It was delicious. Other highlights were the Kailua pork right off of a whole roasted pig, crème fraiche with the ripest berries, fresh sashimi, cheese blintz, and awesome pecan rolls. I got to wash it down with a spicy Bloody Mary that was totally delicious since the waiter seemed to take it as a personal challenge to deliver a truly spicy one. The horseradish was minced to a wasabi-level of fineness and definitely delivered a punch. Although I still prefer the diced horseradish since it adds a little more texture to the drink.

I also went to the beach. I went sea kayaking once. I have still yet to climb Diamond Head and I didn’t go back to Waimea Bay and jump off the rock so I guess I’ll have to go back again at some point.

Although I did go back later in the month. Yes, after 3 weeks of RIMPAC (oh the jokes made with that name, oh ho ho!), the KH went back to Hawaii for three days. Although I had a few work related errands to do, I still managed to get to the beach, eat, drink and sleep. It was very relaxing.

Then came the time I had been waiting for all summer- getting my iPhone! No, just kidding. It was time to get ready to leave! I cleaned out my desk and stateroom, packed things in bags, completed my check-out list, and was ready to go when we pulled into San Diego on the 7th. I picked up my car that day, filled it to the brim, and moved all of my stuff into my new digs in Hillcrest which is an AWESOME place to live. My run to work is just under 2 miles. There’s a great wine bar right around the corner with a great cheese/meat/bread/olive platter that I found on my first night (priorities!). I ordered the large platter because I was hungry and my only other wine bar “platter” experience was at Bitsy’s in Ometasando where the $12 plate had maybe an ounce and a half of cheese on it. And a cracker. But oh my, I am back in the USA where restaurants are communist establishments if they do not take it upon themselves to expand your waistline for you each and every time you visit. The plate came with four forks and was enormous. But it was very good so next time I’ll go the half-size mini route. Gooooooooo, self-restraint!

The next day I did, in fact, get my iPhone. I had been planning on going to the hospital to check-in but I was told to not even bother, that a Monday start was just fine. Although I wrote back and essentially said, “No really, I already feel like a big dummy starting so late,” I was told not to worry. So, if I’m told twice to take a day off , well, that’s what I do! So I got my black 16G iPhone and I love it. It is still outfoxes me on a daily basis with its sheer amazingness but someday, I’ll be able to stop making one-touch phone calls that I don’t mean to make.

Kanji haunts me!

Argh! I’m in a U.S. territory and my blogger account still comes up in Japanese lettering. What to dooooo???!?!?!!?!?! I certainly don’t know enough to change it. Boo!

So, guess where I am right now? If you said, “Mmmmm, not Hawaii?” I would say bad words followed by “You are correct!” The past two weeks have been a roller coaster of rumors and irritations as the Kitty Hawk has to continue forward since the GW is a burnt little husk of a boat right now. Here’s a breakdown-

Kitty Hawk: Summer o’ fun: CANCELLED, Summer of long exercises: Game on!

GW: Pierside in SD, collecting COLA and working duty section only

Who’s the winner? I will let you take this vague sporty metaphor and draw your own conclusions.

HOWEVER. I am slightly winner-y in that it looks good that I will start my residency sometime in August. While this is less than ideal, it’s definitely better than September and definitely better than being bumped for a year. That would have made me very sad.

And, to answer the question as to where I am, I’m in Guam! In the Santa Fe hotel. Who needs 8 days in Hawaii when you can have 3.5 in Guam? That’s like a showcase showdown prize you would TOTALLY pass on. But at least you’re still in the Showcase Showdown, right?

I went to a Hail and Bail yesterday, which was fun and today I’m just chilling out. Maybe I’ll finally get my haircut after wanting to do so for the last 2 months. Whoa! Slow down speedracer of excitement! And Thursday I’m meeting up with a bunch of people to go see the Indiana Jones movie. I will let you know my personal opinion of how Harrison Ford has aged. Until then!

Sayonara!

And…I’m outta here! It’s been an awesome, less-than-a-year in Japan but I’m so excited for what lies ahead. Although I’ll probably scoff at those words in a few months once I’m fully immersed in the bleariness of residency sleep deprivation. Things are newly up in the air (of course) after a fire on the G-Dub, but there’s no sense in worrying about things now. It’ll take a week before any real news comes through about how the KH may be affected. So, I don’t even have my fingers crossed right now because in the grand scheme of things, my lil’ residency plans are pretty puny on the importance scale. I mean, except to me, but it’s only on my blog that I’m the star of the show!

I wrapped up my time in Japan with a duty day, followed by a trip to Nikko and Tokyo. Yesterday was a crazy busy day, but I have now crossed off everything I wanted to do in Japan. After all, I even got to eat at Pepper Lunch, under the JR train tracks in Shibuya! It’s a punch-button menu place where you hand in your ticket and get a plate of whatever raw beef you ordered that cooks in about 30 seconds flat in the hottest cast iron skillet known to man.

Thanks for reading. I’m planning on continuing my writing because it’s a nice little outlet. If I become too boring during residency, please let me know. Then I’ll start making stuff up!

I *heart* HK!

Hong Kong is AWESOME! I’m having such a fun time here and have been since Monday when the Kitty Hawk pulled into Victoria Harbor.  After feeling pins-and-needles-y all weekend, things were looking pretty good on Monday. We dropped anchor! We were going to be let in! Hooray!

I was on the first liberty boat and was very happy as the KH receded into the distance as we headed to Fenwick pier. We arrived in Hong Kong and headed straight to the hotel for check-in. Sue and I are staying at the Jia, which is a really nice boutique hotel designed by Phillipe Stark. Now this means very little to me, but it’s a pretty sweet place. After walking around in the afternoon, we went out for dinner at a great Mediterranean restaurant in Soho. It was delicious and we ordered way too much food. Then Knutsford terrace in Kowloon was awesome where I had my second-ever hooka experience. Minimal coughing involved!

On Tuesday, I went on a Lantau Island tour with several friends. It was sponsored by the ship’s MWR. We went on a little cruise to find pink dolphins (no luck! But I got to ride a boat- novel! Then, onto a fishing village with the coolest dried fish market. The guide took us through and explained what different things were, which definitely added a LOT to the market experience. Then we went to the Lantau Island Big Budha and Ngong Ping monastery. I climbed all ~270 steps to the Buddha after a vegetarian lunch in the monastery. Tuesday night, we went to Lan Kwai Fong, where I had margaritas at Agave. We also went to a very chic outdoor terrace bar for drinks. Finally, we ended a night at this random bar before heading to an all-night live band place where we left I-have-no-idea-when.

Yesterday, I went to Maxim’s Place in City Hall for Dim Sum- awesome, awesome time! Then to Stanley Market with a death-defying bus ride there and back. Finally, I went on a MWR tour with the same crowd from Lantau. We went up Victoria’s peak in the tram, then went on a harbor cruise. That was pretty sweet b/c we saw both sides (Hong Kong and Kowloon) of the Victoria Harbor laser show. It was a pretty cool light show, mostly on the buildings themselves rather than the Laaa-sers.

Ok, exploring today! I’ll write more later!

Round-up!

I really am planning on finishing the description of the best mother-daughter trip ever. I also need to talk about Thailand (awesome!) and even my few days back in Japan. When I think about Yokohama, all I hear is, ” Whooooooo-oooohhhh-oooohhhhh, Yokohama Baystahs.” It’s a song, one of many, that is sung during baseball games. I LOVE Japanese baseball games. And this time, I even bought the noisemaker bats. I got to bang them together (in time!) and even do a dance that involved the bats. It was awesome! Ok, biggest synopsis ever but here we go…

After Mom and I did all things “local,” we headed down to Kyoto. We saw the Golden Pavilion, the Ryoangi temple, Sanjusangendo temple, and Nijo castle. I loved Nijo castle the most, mainly b/c that was the new sight for me. But also, the wood-working and panel work inside the main castle were incredible. Detail work always impresses me, just the cumulative effect of lots of meticulous planned out work and vision. It’s not a way of thinking that comes naturally to me, but I appreciate the results.

Also, the Ryoangi temple with its 15 rock garden fame now has one less rock thanks to us. That, or we threw a rock from our pocket in to make an even 16. I can’t remember! Mom and I are so naughty!

The next day, we went to Nara where we did a lot more walking. The Daibutsu (Big Buddha) in Nara was very impressive, as was the wooden building housing it. We also went to a few other temples in a rather large loop. Overall, we had a great time. I did not, however, love the famous deer. I thought they were rather mangy and we did not feed them stupid deer cookies that one could buy. We did see a Buddhist temple from the 700s though- the oldest in Japan. 700 A.D. is when Buddhism was introduced by a Chinese monk who really went through a lot to get Buddhism to Japan. From the sounds of it.

The next day, we saw Sanjusanjendo (see above) before heading to Osaka where we saw the castle and a pretty plum tree garden. We also went to one of the oldest Buddist temple SITES in Japan. Please note that the building were all much newer and it pays to read Frodors carefully, those over-enthusiastic nincompoops. Curses.

Then we headed to Hiroshima, where we saw the Peace Park and the museum, the Atomic Dome, Miyajima with the floating Tori, and we ate magnificent okonomiyaki, a local dish with a thin pancake/tortilla/crepeish base, cabbage, chicken, seafood, egg, and NOODLES. There is also a delicious sauce, which I bought so I can try my hand at making them at some point. Hiroshima was definitely a highlight as I really wanted to go, plus the city was way more vibrant and new than I was expecting. They did a good job of balancing legacy with living in the present.

After Hiroshima, we went to Nagoya for a fertility festival which was SO MUCH FUN. Not so much for the floats, which were very interesting, but more for the street fair atmosphere with lots of people, food stands and live musical performances by Taiko drummers.

Finally, Mom and I had a picnic in Yoyogi park on her last day. We also went to the Meiji temple. Here’s a hint- although nice to see (and I’m glad we went Mom!), dragging a suitcase through a half-mile of gravel does NOT make you the most inconspicuous pair of people around. Wheelie wheels don’t work so well off pavement or flooring. Boo!

Then, I got underway the next day. Meh. Fairly uneventful- no port calls to speak of. Right now, I’m hard at work on my SWMDO pin so that I can wear a shiny gold badge on my uni and show people that I made a modicum of effort to learn about the ship and other people’s job. It’s actually led me to some pretty cool places on the ship, although most of the aviation cool stuff I’m saving for afterwards since it’s not actually part of the SWMDO board.

Then we came back and Sue and I went to Thailand for 2.5 days/2 nights. Way short, although I still managed to burn despite 30 and 55 S.P.F. Reapply! That’s my takeaway point o’ the day! It was really beautiful. I really do love the beach!

Then we came home, work was insane (in a WAY unfun type of way) but the weekend was a lot of fun. Saturday, I crashed after Friday duty but on Sunday, I browsed in my favorite store that I finally figured out where it was after a months long hunt for it (BTW, Loft on level 7F in the Sogo Building near Yokohama Station). That’s definitely one thing about Japan- even though there aren’t a lot of very tall buildings due to earthquake fears (Landmark Tower in Yokohama is Japan’s tallest at 70 stories), there are a lot of medium sized buildings and businesses are stacked vertically for several floors. And it’s not like a mall with picture maps and central open areas so you can spy stores across the way. All the stores are in normal building buildings. So, when I can’t read the signs very well, I’m at a little bit of a loss. This verticalness also applies to restaurants and clubs, which is a little weird since I’m used to being able to look into ground level establishments and checking out the busy-ness of the scene prior to deciding to go in.

Rereading the above paragraph leads me to believe that I really need to get some sleep. Apparently when I’m sleepy, I think that as long as I use different inflection (which works oh so well in an electronic medium), I can use the same word as a noun, adjective, and verb. So succinct!

Oh, also on Sunday, “Whooooaaa-oooohh-ooooohhhhh- Yokohama Baystahs!” Baseball. I loved it. And now it’s Monday night (actually Tuesday morning just before 2) and the ship’s getting underway. So, the blog will be sadly quiet for little bit. Curse blogger and its hungriness for cookies that the ship’s firewall says “Dame” to. (Dame, pronounced DA-MAY, is always accompanied by an X gesture with fingers for small things, forearms for more emphatic gestures. It means no, no good, no more, etc. Very useful gesture- it’s helped me figure a bunch of stuff out where I would otherwise be completely lost.)

Kitty Hawk to Hello Kitty!

I’m back after a 5 day “Sea Trials” cruise, which did not affect the medical department all that much except that we lived at work. Oh YEAH! Waiting for the next meal, working out, seeing sick call, realizing I haven’t seen sunlight in three days…all in day’s work. Except what I was NOT expecting was 2 inpatients, a MEDEVAC, and an urgent hospital consultation the day we pulled in. For 5 days, it was completely unexpected to have that much work. And they were all my patients- black cloud, black cloud!

When we arrived in Yokosuka on Friday, who was on her way to see me? Mumsie! And not only that, but she’s super cool. Was she in my apartment, moping around and napping until I got back? No! As if! She was touring Kita-Kamakura where there are a lot of neat Shinto shrines. I’ve never actually been in that part of Kamakura, so now I have new TTDs, courtesy of my Mom!

Yesterday, we went to Hakone. I’ve written about it before, but new things I got to do included taking a boat ride in a pirate ship knock-off across a humungous volcanic crater lake and a short hike at the top of the sulfurous fields where I bought eggs cooked in the local water. It was a black hard-boiled egg. That’s all. But now I’ll live an extra 7 years- yay!

Today, Mom and I had a whirlwind Tokyo day. We went to Asakusa, the Sumida River cruise from Asakusa to Hanode, the Imperial Palace, Harajuku and Omotesando. All very cool and very satisfying to see so much in one day. At the imperial palace, we had a tour by members of the “English Speakers Club,” consisting of students from several local universities. It was AWESOME! They were so funny and Mom and I learned what “Sagoy” meant (amazing…no, I mean, that’s the definition. amazing).

What was also neat about the Imperial Palace is that security involves lots of people counting with clickers. People sit at various places looking all the world like a loiterer but as you walk by, “*Click*.”

Tomorrow, Mom and I are heading to Nikko. UNESCO World Heritage Sites- 3 of them! Then we’re doing a whirlwind tour of Southern Japan, which will be new for both of us and totally cool. Kowabunga!