Thursday, February 7, 2013

Wine Traveler's Travels (From the Archives) 2002

Wine Traveler’s Travels

12 March 2002           

I have been grounded for the last two weeks due to my surgery, all went well and the biopsy of the polyp was negative.  I can now breath through both sides of my nose all the time, it was well worth the discomfort the first week.  Today I am off to St. Petersburg, Florida to finish up some training at Bayfront Medical Center.  Dad is going into the hospital today for the localized radiation therapy, so he will not be joining me on this trip.  I was running a little behind this morning but would have been fine except my travel agent never booked my flight; she had reserved it and sent me an itinerary but never booked the tickets.  So by the time I got the after hours (5:20 AM) agent on the phone and re-ticketed it was too late to make my flight, so I had to go on a later one.  This week’s bagged breakfast was a mini bagel and cream cheese, a bowl of crispix cereal with a four-ounce carton of 2% milk and a pack of raisins.  I’m going to look at switching to Northwest airlines after my membership at the Admiral’s Club expires; as they still serve hot meals, have fewer MD 80’s, and a more liberal upgrade policy. 

Well after I got to Dallas I found that the next flight was delayed.  Then when we finally got on board we had to wait while they checked out some kind of seal on one of the wings.  We finally started to back away from the gate and then we went right back to the gate and the pilot announce that one of the engines was not idling correctly and we may have to get another plane, which is just what happened.  Now instead of arriving in Tampa at 5 PM, I wouldn’t be getting there till after 8PM.  While in Dallas I spoke with one of the perinatal sales specialist who would be visiting this same hospital while I was there.  She was concerned about the Hotel the travel agent had booked us at; it was only $68.00 in March in Florida???  As she was to get there before me I told her if it looked bad to find us someplace else.  Well it was in the less desirable part of town, and had outside entrances, which really makes the female employees, I’ve worked with, nervous.  Julia had tried to find us something else through our travel agent but the rates closer to the Hospital were about $200/night, so she arranged for us to have rooms next to each other facing the Pool so it was inside the courtyard and not facing the parking lot.  The rooms and the hotel itself were very nice and clean the surrounding neighborhood though was not. 

That first night I just grabbed a fish sandwich at a local drive through, as I had not been fed since that morning.  The next morning as I drove us into the hospital we both remarked that it would be a great day to call in well, the sun was shining and it was about 75 degrees.  Work went well, when we got back to the hotel I realized I had not packed my bathing suit, so I stayed in my room and worked on Email while Julia sat by the pool reading.  Later we went to the St. Petersburg Pier, there I went shopping for a bathing suit but did not find one.  I did find a flamingo coffee cup and a small flamingo figurine to add to my collection.  My cube at work is becoming a Flamingo menagerie.  We ate dinner at the Columbia restaurant on the fourth floor of the pier, this pier is renown for its design it is an inverted pyramid.  The Columbia restaurant is one of six that started in Ybor City, the historic area of Tampa that is the home of the Cuban community and former Cigar manufacturers.  I had the La Completa Cubana, which is a combination of Roast pork, roast beef, and a beef filled pastry called an empanada.  Rice, beans, fried plantains, and steamed yucca were the accompaniments.  Julia had the Roast Pork dinner, which came with the same accompaniments.  The Pork we both agreed was a bit bland, the roast beef on the other hand was awesome.  I had hoped to save some room for flan, which is Cuban style custard, but was much too full to eat another bite.

Julia Left the next day to visit yet another hospital so I settled for fast food again and watched the ABC special about Rosie and her kids.  It made me want to go home and hug my kids, and consider looking into becoming a foster parent.  I think she definitely had a good point in the fact that straight or gay there are people who should and shouldn’t be parents.  And that the ability to adopt should be based on their ability to offer a loving, caring and safe environment, not their choice of a partner.  While I always thought Rosie was an interesting person I now have a new respect for her.  I hope my kids had a chance to watch this special so they could see how lucky they are to have two parents who love them so much.

I finished up early on Friday and checked to see if there was an earlier flight, I had put in for an upgrade for this return flight, but I would lose the first class from St. Pete to St. Louis.  I took the earlier flight so I could get home in time to see Gail and the kids before bedtime.  From St. Louis to Seattle I was in the front of the bus, the meal was a salmon salad, a small piece of grilled salmon atop fresh garden greens with a Caesar dressing, a roll and potato salad on the side.  The Salmon while small, half the size of the one I had when TWA was running this route, was very tasty.  I got home and enjoyed seeing my boys.

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