Thoughts on Kingdom, Church, and Grace from an American living in Hong Kong

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Cocktail Reception On Board the U.S.S. Carl Vinson

Tammy and I had the most wonderful evening this week as we attended a cocktail reception on board the aircraft carrier U.S.S. Carl Vinson which is in Hong Kong for a few days.  If you are follower of Beyond the Pale than you may remember that this is the second visit by the Carl Vinson to the territory this year.  In that blog post I chronicled my friend Francis' invitation to the opening night reception and my subsequent (minor) jealousy surrounding that invitation.

I mean,  I want to hang out on an American aircraft carrier walking past rows of F-18 Hornets with a drink in one hand and my beautiful wife on the other... but how.

These receptions are public relations events and in this case it means hosting U.S. Consulate workers, American businessmen, Hong Kong local vendors, visiting military guests of the People's Republic of China etc.  I don't really qualify under any of those categories per se.  

The food was fantastic! God would have it, He saw fit to fulfill certain desires of the heart so to speak.  And just how did God fulfill this little heart desire of mine you ask?  Well, I got to know a friend here in Hong Kong who has a little say over who gets invited and lo and behold, I received an invitation a couple weeks ago.

So on Tuesday evening Tammy and I headed down to Fenwick pier on Hong Kong Island where the "water taxis" waited to cart us out to the carrier.  The U.S.S. Carl Vinson is really big and as we approached, the serial number "70" was lit up as a beacon cutting through the nighttime sky.

Guests rode the elevator up to the deck
The reception itself is held in the giant hanger bay and the U.S. Navy knows how to do food.  People think the huge American defense budget is all bullets and missiles but they forget the shrimp tables and roast beef carving stations.  But what I really had my heart set on was the chocolate chip cookies.  Yes, you heard me right...

...the chocolate chip cookies.  My friend Francis who attended the last reception said, "Seriously though, nobody has better chocolate chip cookies than the U.S. Navy."  And you know, he was right!  (I had 3)
Besides that high end shrimp and roast beef, it was also nice to have some good old American spicy jalapeno poppers.  Darn they were good and when Tammy wasn't looking I snuck another one!

Reception entrance
One of the highlights of the evening was everyone heading out onto one of the aircraft elevators for a trip up to the flight deck.  Yes, I got to fulfill my dream of having a glass of wine in one hand and my beautiful wife on my arm as we walked past rows of fighter planes.  My childhood always comes back in these moments as most American boys my age wanted to be a fighter pilot at some point as a kid.

Its also fun for us Americans living overseas to have a little "home" turf arrive for a few days.  Chatting with some of the officers is very lively and sometimes, although I usually love the diversity of Hong Kong,  its just fun to talk in "Americanese" about America with other Americans

The evening ended and we headed back out to the ferries that would shuttle us back to the dock but not before we picked up a U.S.S. Carl Vinson T-shirt for Gabriel and a ship photo for my office.

Your mission should you choose to accept it...
I have to end with a special thank you to our friend Christine and her daughter Claire who kindly watched Ethan George for the evening.  This was our first night "out" with a babysitter and knowing he was in such good care allowed us a relaxing evening.

Special thanks to the officers and crew of the U.S.S. Carl Vinson!  Thanks for the work you do and for such a wonderful evening!

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