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Norfolk, VA

Naval Shipyard Norfolk, VA

Norfolk was the third naval station I lived, and let me tell you, it was the pits. Now, it's not all bad, it has some decent beaches in Virginia Beach and Dam Neck, there's a few malls, and a decent amount of entertainment. Unfortunately that's all overshadowed by the city's downfalls. Crime is incredibly high. We lived in an up and coming neighborhood, two blocks north you wouldn't want to be out at night. The city seems to always have construction going on, it's ridiculous. I started paying attention to it, apparently one job usually goes up for new bids three to four times before it's finished, this makes it take YEARS to get anything accomplished since they're switching out the workers every few months. The traffic is terrible. I have family who live near New York, granted I've never driven in the big city (we always take the public transportation there) but I've been around New York area more than a time or two, and traffic is just as bad in Norfolk as in the outlying areas of New York. If you take the interstate, it can take you twice the time during the morning and afternoon rush than any other time of day, and the rush lasts for hours, it's not just a 8am and 5pm rush hour. From 7-10am and 3-6 you can expect to be in stop and go traffic. The city roads aren't much better. We lived five miles from base and it took us 20+ minutes to get to work by car. And that's if you don't get caught waiting for a train, which cross the roads near base constantly, and boy are they loooooong. The general attitude of Norfolk wasn't too pleasing either. I don't expect people to welcome me with open arms, but you get attitude from everyone. I'm not talking about the military facilities, you get some bad eggs here and there, but for the most part they were like any other DoD or active duty on any other base. The people who actually live in Norfolk were the ones that were constantly rude and disgruntled. And this was before the "great recession" in 2008. I was there from 2005-2010. And the spiders... *shudder* I lived in the heart of the city and there were always spiders getting in the house. Big ones too! I dubbed them mouse-spiders, because more than once we thought they were mice. You'd think with all the spiders I ran into there would be less mosquitoes, that wasn't the case. Warm weather brings with it lots of bugs, and going outside would invite the mosquitoes to see how many times they could bite me before I went to my car and back. The best part of Virginia were the prices. There are cheaper areas, but having only 5% sales tax was awesome since the state also implements a state tax and keeping my home state excludes me. There's also great food in some out of the way places. It's been three years since I had good Mexican food, man do I miss it. The weather isn't bad, it's hot in the summers, and humid as hell. The winters are cold, but not bad. There's very little rain all year round. I never knew I'd miss the rain so much until I lived in Virginia. I won't be going back here.

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