My 40th

Trip Start Sep 07, 2011
Trip End Dec 22, 2011

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Flag of United States  , Rhode Island
Saturday, September 17, 2011

Have you ever had one of those days where everything in the world just seems right? 

I spent my 40th BDay at one of my favorite places in the world, and what better gift than perfect weather, a great planeride, hanging with people you really click with, and good food.  111 countries so far and my favorite place comes down to one tiny island off the coast of Rhode Island...Block Island.   The place is quiet, rural, quirky, and not overrun by the masses.   I hesitate to even let word get out how awesome the place is...

And by quirky I mean little oddities like this...every year the island takes a head count on Groundhog Day to determine the population.   In case you're curious, this headcount yields 900 to 1,000 people on the island that time of year.   Why Groundhog Day?  The locals probably don't even know why.  Then again this is Rhode Island where not a whole lot does make sense.  Man do I miss living up here in Providence.  

New England Airlines flies from Westerly to the island in 8 minutes of bliss as the plane heads across the water at 1,500 feet.   Flying for a living takes all the fun out of being in the air, but today reminded me of why I got into flying in the first place.   Because the plane is so small, there's no TSA, no security, no nothing.   Buy a ticket, walk outside, board the plane, and get on your way within a few hassle free minutes.   Don't you love it when you find that one little thing in life that is just no worries and easy?   I didn't quite know what to do with myself flying commercially without going through a nudie scanner or getting groped by some sweaty 300 pound woman with blue rubber gloves.   Then again maybe some people l like the grope.

The pictures on here are from a Tour de Block Island by bike. This is the only place I can think of where it's a half mile pleasant walk past meadows and cottages from the airstrip into town to a bike rental joint. The island is just hilly enough to give a nice workout but small enough to see in a day.  Lucky for island the only calling card left by Hurricane Irene last week is tree leaves turned brown from the salt spray.  

Heading back to the mainland I sat in the right seat up front (since this is a single pilot operation) for weight and balance reasons and I couldn't help but smile.  After the flight I spoke to the pilot briefly and told him he has the job all of us airline pilots dream about.  He said I have the paycheck he dreams about.   Goes to show we always want what is not right in front of us.

Keep in mind here I have been living in Hanoi, Vietnam for the past year and a half and the food situation there leaves much to desire. I am going somewhere with this. I am used to sitting on foot high stools and praying this isn't the meal that is going to sit me atop the porcelain god for days on end. Most of the time I can't even tell what sound the animal I am eating made before it met the wok.  Was it an oink or a woof or what?    

I know you are wondering what the has to do with a day on Block Island...I got so excited to actually sit down in a nice restaurant at the Mohegan Sun Casino in Connecticut.  This was Todd English's restaurant Tuscany and the food was amazing.   I couldn't help to think though that a $18 entree at this place equals 18 street food lunches back in Hanoi.   Funny how living somewhere reprograms what we know and our whole reality.   My reality is now Vietnam and I feel like a fish out of water now when visiting the US.   

And you know nice as dinner out in the US can be, I think I actually prefer the crapshoot that dining in Vietnam can be.   I don't know if I have changed or if the my old world in the US has just moved on without me.  

I ended the night on a winning streak with $51 at the slots.   You know that is 51 lunches back home in Vietnam.  Jackpot!!!   I just hope I hit it big again in Hanoi and wind up with pork or beef rather than woof woof or meow. Life over there is like a slot machine for sure.

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Joe on

Yes, BI was a great day!!!! It is nice to know you love it so much because that only means you will have to come back this way sometime soon .

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