Thursday, June 5, 2014

France and Germany… a send off from the Army-- Part 11

After two nights at Hotel Goldinger, Bill and I decided to get a room at Ramstein.  We had actually been thinking we'd try to leave Germany on Friday, the 30th of May, but there weren't any flights going out.  The Air Force lodge at Ramstein is within walking distance of the passenger terminal, which makes it really convenient.  We booked for two nights, hoping that we wouldn't need both nights.  This was my first time staying at the Air Force lodging at Ramstein and, I must say, I was impressed by how nice it was, especially considering that it only cost $55 a night.  I did think it was funny that there was a check list for bomb threats by the phone.


We were given a room that reminded me of something I might see in a Hilton.  There are American plugs in the rooms, which makes it easy to charge iPads, iPhones, and whatever else have you.  There are laundry facilities that people can use free of charge.  All you need is soap.  The inn is also connected to the largest BX/PX I have ever seen.  In fact, the BX/PX complex is like a big mall.

I was glad to be able to wash clothes and Bill went to Chili's to get us some lunch.  Later, after the clothes were washed and dried, we walked around the big AAFES complex and I was reminded of when we lived in Germany.  There are a lot of local vendors/artisans there that make knick knacks and gifts.

It looked like there were going to be a couple of flights leaving Ramstein on Saturday, though neither of them were offering many seats for Space A travelers.  I had a feeling we could be staying at Ramstein for two nights.  We passed time at Chili's and talked to a soldier who was living in Germany under sad circumstances.  I posted about that on my main blog, so I won't rehash it here.

The next morning, Bill picked up some pastries and coffee at a bakery and then we made our way to the pax terminal.  There were lots of people there, many of whom had apparently been trying to get out of Germany for days.  An airman announced that roll call for a flight to Hunter Airfield in Savannah, Georgia would be in 20 minutes.  The flight to Georgia was a surprise.  It wasn't noted on Ramstein's Facebook page; so it was a lucky thing that we were there at the right time.

We had been planning to go for a flight to McGuire Air Force Base in New Jersey, but when Bill heard the call for Georgia, he wanted to sign up.  The flight had six seats available and, as Bill was a cat 3 who'd signed up for Space A when we first arrived in Germany two weeks earlier, he was at the top of the list.  We easily made the flight and were soon on our way back to the States in a C-17 with four others.


One of the few places dogs aren't allowed in Germany...

I much prefer military flights to chartered flights.  Although you have to wear ear plugs to block out the noise and the flights are usually longer because the planes move slower, I enjoy seeing the Air Force at work.  I also like not having someone reclining in my lap, kicking the back of my seat, or otherwise harshing my mellow.  On a military flight, you can actually lie down on the floor and sleep if you want to.  The airmen gave us blankets, which really came in handy because it was chilly on the plane.

Bill and I bought box lunches, mainly because it's been my experience that the food served on military flights is actually edible.  This was no exception…  We had chicken, fruit salad, chips, a Rice Krispies Treat, water, and apple juice.  I was glad we bought the lunch, too, because I eventually got hungry even after having eaten it.

I enjoyed meeting the others on our flight.  One guy was once in the Honor Guard in Arlington and now works in Europe in counter intelligence.  He was on his way to Oklahoma to see his new baby.  Two were doctors, married to each other  and getting ready to begin three year residencies in Washington, DC.  The other guy sounded like he might have been from the West Indies.  He was going to New York.

We landed in Savannah in the early afternoon and then spent some time trying to get taxis.  It was very warm in Savannah, which was a shock given how chilly it was in Europe and on the plane.  A lady with a mini van took Bill, me, the guy going to Oklahoma and the guy going to New York to the airport area.  The doctors decided they would get a hotel downtown.  The lady who drove us to the hotel was funny.  She had a sign in her cab that read "No eating or drinking.  Throw up fee $250".  One of the guys mentioned it and I immediately understood.  I'm sure the puke fee mostly applies to drunks during festivals.

Bill happened to have enough HiltonHonors points to score us a free room at the Doubletree Inn near Savannah's airport.  We checked in and I got cleaned up.  I was really craving a steak for dinner, but there weren't many restaurants near the hotel and the Doubletree's room service menu didn't offer steak.  Bill went out to get us fast food at Wendy's, but then he spotted a restaurant that did offer steak.  He went there and bought us dinner… and then when he brought it back, I opened the cartons and realized to my horror that the steaks were covered in mushrooms!

Now, this may not seem like a big deal, but I actually have a phobia of mushrooms.  I don't eat them.  I don't even like to look at them.  No mention of mushrooms was mentioned on the restaurant's menu.  What was even weirder was that the steaks came with Caesar salads that were served with cheese and dressing on the side.  I don't know why the mushrooms weren't served the same way.  I mean, usually one who wants mushrooms has to request them and pay extra.  Unfortunately, the mushrooms kind of ruined my appetite.  I did eat a little after Bill scraped them off, but I was a bit traumatized by the fungus.  Yes, I know it's ridiculous… it's just one of my quirks.

I booked us on an early flight on Delta going from Savannah to Houston because flying to San Antonio was outrageously expensive…  more on that next.


   

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