Guantanamo Bay: May 2016
Even earlier morning this time, ugh. Took a bit of exploring before we made it to the main gate of NAS Jacksonville (Naval Air Station), but everything was in order and the guards directed us to the AMC Terminal (Air Mobility Command), where we were in line by 5am (!) to check-in. Being the lowest priority class of passengers for Space A, we cleared security but didn't actually get assigned seats until 6:00 or 6:30am.
Still not too bad an experience-- once we had boarding passes, we dropped off the keys to the rental car at the Enterprise dropbox right in the terminal and then not long after, we were loaded onto buses for the ~30 minute ride to Cecil Field, where a Miami Air charter was handling this particular rotator flight.
The flight itself kinda sucked; Miami Air uses older Boeing 737-800's that don't have the most comfortable seats, and the food is terrible. At least it's a short flight (2 hours) and clearing security at NS Guantanamo Bay (Naval Station Guantanamo Bay) was surprisingly efficient. Uncle Sid met us right after, and the ferry ride across the bay was surprisingly pleasant.
After being welcomed by a pleasant ferry ride, we had an almost as pleasant welcome at the Gold Hill Galley. Four days of military galley food started off surprisingly well, although this was to prove the high point, t'was all downhill after today.
Explored the NEX/Commissary, which is kind of like a smaller, more limited Super Target or Walmart with built-in grocery store. Apparently it's a daily trip for lots on the base (including us!), and while selection is limited, they only charge cost on most items, which meant there actually are some very good prices on a lot of items-- we felt like we scored a few times on our trips there. Got a glimpse of the now-closed Camp X-Ray as well, which was both cool and a bit eerie.
Dinner at the Officer's Club that night reminded me very much of the Faculty Club at UCLA; 1970s-era inside and so-so food despite being the fanciest location on the base. The officer's dock nearby was very simple but had some beautiful landscaping and our first banana rat sighting-- not to mention our first of many encounters with swarms of mosquitos too. :-/