arriving in Tampa for one short interview and an evening on my own

Tampa Travel Blog

 › entry 3 of 6 › view all entries
Tampa and Raymond James Stadium shot while landing

Again, my flight had taken off late, yet landed early by 19 minutes.  At 2:00pm, I was inside Tampa International Airport and began my trek to the onsite Marriott.  From my arrival gate, I took the tram to terminal F and checked in at the hotel where Mark had booked my reservation.  By 2:30, I was settled into my room, 513, with a partial view of the runway.

 

After an hour with no word from Mark, I gave him a call to touch base and find out what he had planned for our meeting.  In our talk, he asked me to keep track of any expenses and let me know that I could put them on the room or get reimbursed later.

Tampa International Airport across the tarmac
  Since Will would only be available for an hour, Mark was unsure if we would have time to eat during the interview and suggested I grab a sandwich or something to hold me over.

 

Downstairs, at the Skyye Lounge (bar), I had a grilled chicken wrap and delicious fresh fruit kebob.  Following my late lunch, I broused around the Landside Building mall and found a Visitor’s Aid booth, where I spoke with the elderly gentleman manning the counter.  He gave me a few suggestions of things to do in the area and how to get around and I took some brochures, maps, and bus schedules back to my room to wait for Mark to call.

 

While re-ironing my shirt that had wrinkled in the course of my travels, I received a call from Mark.

inside Tampa International Airport, Terminal F
  He bumped up our meeting from 6:00pm to 5:30; so given the ten minute notice, I suited up and took the elevator down to meet them in the lobby.  Mark looked relaxed in a dress shirt and pants while Will, on his way home from vacation in Montana, wore casual attire from his baseball cap to jeans and sneakers.  We made our introductions and sat in constricting chairs around a café table to begin the short interview.

 

The guys were in a rush because Will needed to catch a flight home to Atlanta within the hour.  The interview felt comfortable and seemed to go well, but as always, it can be difficult to predict which way they would decide.  Both managers asked me about my future travel plans for concern that I might pose a flight risk, so I tried to deflect the question the best I could.  Honestly, I would love to take more extended trips, but future circumstances will determine when and for how long.

 

There were only a few potential errors I felt I might have made.

TPA tram rail from Terminal F to the Landside Building
  At one point, while Will was boasting of what the company had to offer, I snubbed the medical insurance plans and explained why I found them dreadful.  I described the much better plans I had had through previous employers and contrasted them against the $300 deductible attached to his plan.  Also on the subject of benefits, I inquired if the initial 11 days of vacation leave would be negotiable.  After opening the topic, it occurred to me that maybe I should have waited for an offer before requesting extra time off.

 

My only other concern was for whether they might consider my spending habits in their decision making process.  Mark had told me twice that the company would reimburse me for any expenses I incurred due to my visit and that I could put whatever I needed to on the room (i.e., charge it to his company credit card), so I did just that.  I had eaten well and charged my meals (including drinks) to the room, yet wondered if they might use the dollar amounts (about $107 total) as a barometer to judge how large an expense account I might require on the job.

room 513 in Tampa Airport Marriott
  Alternatively, they could have recognized that I know how to live and would therefore be skilled at entertaining clients.

 

Back in my room before 7:00pm, the interview was over, so I changed out of my suit and ironed my shirt once more before packing away my formal ware.  At around 7:30, I went down for an hour-long workout in the limited, though adequate weight room, which I followed with a ten-minute soak in the massaging jets of the outdoor hot tub.  Once my swollen muscles and aching joints were thoroughly soothed, I took a dip in the pool to swim laps for another 30 minutes.

 

Alone in the water at first, I soon was joined by a mother and her two daughters.  Shannon and I started talking while McKaylie, five, and Presley, 20 months, swam around us.  The little girls were adorable, particularly McKaylie who sociably swam up to climb on me and participated in the conversation.

suited Evans in Tampa Airport Marriott, room 513
  She was a good swimmer, able to stay afloat without any assistance.  Her younger sister wore inflatable armbands to provide her buoyancy.  Shannon, a restaurateur and musician, made stimulating company until quarter past nine when I realized I had to hurry back in before the restaurants would stop serving dinner.

 

I took a quick shower and got to The View at CK a minute before their 9:30 closing time.  CK is a revolving restaurant like Sky City in the Space Needle of Seattle , but not nearly as high and with far less spectacular views.  Even though the panning night vista was predominantly of parking garages, the changing scenes still provided an interesting atmosphere.

window view from Tampa Airport Marriott, room 513
  The only notable landmark I was able to spot through the darkness beyond the activity about the airport was Raymond James Stadium with its flashing red lights.

 

For my meal, I began with a $4.75 Sapporo Premium (Japanese beer), and ordered the 20-piece sashimi platter for $28.  Although it could not compare to the fish I had had at Tsukiji in Tokyo, the quality was still quite good and the presentation flaunted a lovely pallet of colors.

 

Served on a bed of romaine lettuce and shredded Japanese radish with sides of wasabi and shaved ginger, the sliced raw flesh looked fresh and vibrant.

Tampa International Airport at night shot from The View at CK revolving restaurant
  The ‘regular’ tuna had a nice flavor only slightly detracted from by the intramuscular membrane texture, the “crab sticks” tasted fine like typical imitation crab meat, and the snapper was flavorful, if just a bit mushy.  Somewhat chewier than I might have liked, the conch was not bad.  My white fish (yellow tale) was mild yet good, marinated eel salty and sweet, octopus a little dense, but so very good, and my favorite was the tuna tataki, which I was delicate and fabulous.

 

In keeping with the Japanese theme of my supper, I added a second beverage before I was through, the Gekkeikan warm house sake for another $8.75.  With tax and tip, the total bill was around $54.  My stomach was full enough, so I passed on desert to spare the seven bucks, but thought I might grab another bite at the bar later on.

 

At 11:00, I was back at Skyye for a slice of the key lime pie.

Evans dining alone at The View at CK revolving restaurant
  I found it on the menu for $2 less than CK was charging, but sadly, the desert case was already locked for the night.  While the waiter had been checking it, Pat, a Southwest Airlines call center manager sitting beside me, opened a conversation.  We and the other patrons discussed with the bartender what other places in the airport might be open late.  Not even TGI Fridays serves past eleven, so when the bartender announced last call and asked if I would like a drink before he cashed out, I ordered one beer and put it on the room.

 

Continuing our conversation, Pat and I were the last to leave the bar after finishing our drinks around midnight and we parted ways in the lobby.  There was nothing else to do at that hour and I was planning to get an early start in the morning, so I simply returned to my room for the night.
my 20-piece sashimi platter and Sapporo Premium at 'The View at CK'
  Easing into the comforts of my luxurious, soft bed and fluffy, down pillows, I watched a little TV and went to sleep just past 1:00am.
Join TravBuddy to leave comments, meet new friends and share travel tips!
Tampa and Raymond James Stadium sh…
Tampa and Raymond James Stadium s…
Tampa International Airport across…
Tampa International Airport acros…
inside Tampa International Airport…
inside Tampa International Airpor…
TPA tram rail from Terminal F to t…
TPA tram rail from Terminal F to …
room 513 in Tampa Airport Marriott
room 513 in Tampa Airport Marriott
suited Evans in Tampa Airport Marr…
suited Evans in Tampa Airport Mar…
window view from Tampa Airport Mar…
window view from Tampa Airport Ma…
Tampa International Airport at nig…
Tampa International Airport at ni…
Evans dining alone at The View at …
Evans dining alone at The View at…
my 20-piece sashimi platter and Sa…
my 20-piece sashimi platter and S…
night view from Tampa Airport Marr…
night view from Tampa Airport Mar…
Tampa
photo by: ejames01