Sunday, May 1, 2011

The Challenge of Getting Anything Done on Okinawa

by Pa Rock
Cultural Explorer

Sunday, and it's raining.  The weekends on Okinawa seem to pull in the rains in much the same way as the moon pulls in the tides.  The weekend rains may not be welcome, but they are dependable!

I skipped the trip to Ie Island today, hoping to stay in and finally get this cold and hacking cough under control.  Of course, while lazing at home I got involved in a project that required a quick trip to Kadena Air Base.  I needed to get some documents scanned and sent out as an email attachment.  I began at the USO because they have an abundance of computers and that is where those arriving on Okinawa or preparing to leave general do their personal email.  Of course, they did not have a scanner - but the sweet lady behind the desk directed me on to the Base Exchange and told me where I could obtain the required service.

On the way to the Exchange, I stopped by the Officer's Club to cancel my membership.  While there I learned that anyone may apply for their card on the premises, but cancelling the aforesaid card required more patience and cunning.  The sweet lady at that information desk gave me a map to the building that I would have to find in order to cancel.  Of course, it was not open on weekends, and has very limited hours during the week.  But I will git 'r done - because I love bureaucratic challenges!

I found the Mail Center at the Base Exchange, and yes, they could and did scan my nine pages of documents at one dollar per page!    (Guess I will have to get a scanner - it wouldn't take long to pay for itself at a buck a page!)

I grabbed lunch at the Exchange food court - a cheeseburger from Burger King  - which was every bit as delicious as it sounds - and then headed off to the mini-mall close to where I work.  My purpose in going there was to grab a quick haircut, something that I normally do during lunch on a work day.  Lots of other men and boys had the same idea, so I sat and read a magazine on military history until my number (lucky 46) was called.  A haircut on base costs $7.80 which leaves just enough out of a ten dollar bill to tip the Okinawan lady barbers.  They really are a sweet crew, and always throw in a neck and shoulder massage as an added treat.

It isn't easy getting anything done here, but the people are nice (sweet) and the hassles are manageable.

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