31 October 2007

How to Get a Pilot in a Dress

I recently came across a disc of photos from a Ski Week and had to post them, in all of their ridiculous glory. Each year the International Airline Ski Federation holds an annual ski week, with airlines from around the world participating. Thses photos are from the March 2007 ski week held in beautiful Jackson Hole, Wyoming. Past years have been held in Schladming (Austria), Levi (Finland) and Alyeska (Alaska) to name a few.

One of the last nights of each week is a costume party. There is a 'theme' to each party and this year was cartoons. Getting the team to decide on a costume is always a give and take between the women ( the planners) the men just go along with whatever is decided. This year my airline chose Underdog as our cartoon ( our standings in the races would indicate it was an appropriate costume for us !) Some teams had very emaborate purchased costumes, some thought up some the day of. In any case, here are a few of the costume highlights-
The above costume is SwissAir's 'Globi' which is a cartoon they assured us every child in Switzerland is familiar with . (No, none of us had heard of Globi either!)
These pilots are with Condor. Their team traditionally ignores the theme and wears what makes them ( and us) laugh. Yes these 2 men are pilots.
These men with their purchased brawn are with Southwest, and I think the Wilma Flintstone is with American Airlines.
This gang is from Transavia, a Dutch airline. I remember seeing this cartoon as a child but completely forget the name, I think they were bank robbers??

Looking at these photos makes me excited for 2008 in Garmisch,Germany. Some teams are more competitive than others, but everyone has a great time and it really is a big piss up and a chance to meet new friends from around the world. A recent marriage just happened for an Emirates and former MyTravel ( now Etihad) couple, as well as a Qantas and SAS couple.

30 October 2007

Overheard in Business Class

Purser: Sir, You're not that good looking , I suggest you work on your personality.

Holy crap!!! While he was a bit ride and boorish, I would never have the guts to say something like that!! I nearly dropped my tray when I heard that one. Some crew can say anything to passengers and get away with it.

29 October 2007

Hurry Up and Wait....and Wait.....

This photo, from the rockin blog London Photos perfectly captures an autumn morning in London. This weather also meant it was the first day of the year to drag the uniform winter coat along. I try to delay the onset of coat wearing as long as possible, but dear readers ,winter is a comin'.

Perfectly lovely flight, made even better by bring my birthday trip. Not because it is my birthday, but for the extra pay that accompanies working a holiday. We are paid 'holiday' pay for working any of the following holidays; New years day, Easter, August Bank Holiday, Christmas and our respective birthday. Often 'holiday' pay trips go senior and you cannot hold them in your schedule as all the senior gals like the money too. Your birthday is the one holiday you can always seem to work. Yay for the extra pay!!

Boo for the one hour wait in the immigration queue at Dulles airport ( see a theme here at Dulles?). Nothing like waiting behind Qatar (great color uniforms), Lufthansa and United crew times 2. At least the air was not filled with the noxious fumes of last week. The final joy was when the purser and I reached the front of the customs line ,no one was behind us and she closed her lane, snapping that she was closed. Thanks!! My impartial survey of Los Angeles, New York, Boston, San Fran and Chicago reveals Dulles customs and immigration to be the rudest and meanest and slowest port of entry...Blue ribbon for IAD. You can share it with the TSA there,don't feel slighted.

27 October 2007

I'm a Stewardess!!

Obviously this crew is based in Newark or JFK!!

26 October 2007

Bark at the Moon

October 26th was an evening with a full moon. Normally I don't give a rat's ass about lunar cycles, but full moons sure bring out the freak in passengers. Things that normally would not make them bat an eye have them shrieking like banshees. Whenever there is a flight chock full of kooks we always look at the moon and ,invariably, it is full.
I am not one that follows horoscopes or things of that nature with much interest but I am beginning to wonder if I should bid my schedule around the lunar cycle. 8D and 9D, you need to be locked up during full moons.

25 October 2007

La Dolce Layover

I recently had an unusual layover in Rome, Italy. Unusual in that I usually fly to the States, and flew with a former roommate I had not seen in a decade. (We lived together when I was 8 okay, stop with the math!!)

After landing and a loooong drive into the Eternal City ( complete with the eternal rush hour) we arrived at the FABULOUS hotel, located on Piazza Barberini. Took a quick little catnap and then hit the pavement before we met for dinner. Luckily I had a layover there in July so was familiar with the layout of the area.

First stop was the Monumental Cemetary of the Capuchin Brothers, which my guidebook described as 'one of the most horrifying sights in all Christendom'. It is something of a large tomb, several rooms, lined with the skeletons of over 4,000 Capuchin brothers. If you keep in mind that is was constructed when there was a 'cult for the dead' and spiritualists preached with skulls in hand, it is beautiful in a strange and eerie way. It is in the Church of the Immaculate Conception on Via Vittorio Veneto 27 ( metro: Barberini) and well worth a quick view if you are in the area.

After fortifying myself with a gelato after that visit, I headed towards the more traditional Trevi fountain to throw a coin in. It was so crowded I decided to return in the morning light before pickup to get photos. Next stop was the Spanish Steps. Note to others who are fans of the high heels, make sure yours have great traction before descending the WELL worn steps. The constant traffic has the steps as slick as ice in some areas. As crowded as it is there, it is part of the charm. People snapping photos, kissing, eating gelato and shopping all intermingled happily.

At the bottom of the steps are the ever important public toilets and an AMEX office, as well as a public fountain which is a great place to refill a water bottle of take a sip. The fountains of Rome were designed as places for the public to procure drinking water, it is perfectly clean and as nice as bottled. Really high end shops line the area, far beyond my budget, but I already had spotted my destination. Sermoneta Gloves.

Sermoneta Gloves is , to me, the holy grail of gloves. Truly. To look at it you would say I was crazy. it is a TINY storefront across from the steps. It could get lost amongst Chanel, Dior, Prada, etc, but stop here. You walk in and see a cashier only and think, what the hell...but press on upstairs. in a room the size of a small kitchen you will elbow to elbow with other shoppers who know... There are hand mannequins of all the styles possible. the ladies who work there ( and probably have since the 50s) speak 'glovese' in many languages. Point at the style you like, tell them your size. They will hoist up or down a wheel of gloves for you to choose from. You pick the color, the lining and try on after they have popped open the fingers with a special tool. Love at first feel. 2 pairs and 80 Euros lighter, I left with a smile on my face.

After a quick stop at Blue Sand for further retail therapy ( I can say 'sale' in every language) and a disco nap, I met the former roommate,Frank, for dinner. One delicious meal pf pasta,pizza and red wine later, we I took him to the Capuchin cemetary so he could see for himself next time. To our incredible luck there was an opera concerto going on within the grounds. We were able to listen in from the courtyard as we were too late to enter.Moments like that made us realize how very luck we are,music,friends and Rome.

I got up at sunrise to catch some more photos before pickup, and back to reality. I had the Trevi Fountain nearly to myself. Only a lone policemen was there. What a contrast to the daytime, when it is chock a block!!

A quick coffee later ( standing ,local style *also cheaper*) I headed back to the hotel to get ready for work. One last snap of the Fontana del Tritone and I was back to reality and getting ready for work.

23 October 2007

Overheard in First Class

(This exchange will only be painful to those that know something about wine. Sir, for a full fare first class passenger, you should be ashamed.Hell, anyone that read the wine list should be ashamed.)
He: I want some white wine!!
She: Sir we have a New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc or a French Burgundy.
He: I wanted CHARDONNAY!!!
She: Sir, the French Burgundy is a chardonnay.
He: Where is it from?
She: *sighs* Burgundy

Dulles Redux

After fumegate when we arrived at Dulles the other night, I thought my opinions of the airport could not get worse. Silly rabbit, of course they could!!!

As our crew bus approached Dulles Airport, we saw that there were literally hundreds and hundreds of people outside the airport. From a distance, we assumed they were press waiting for the arrival of some person of note.Who was it , we wondered?? George Bush, Britney Spears,Paris Hilton??? Traffic was clogged, each cars occupants panicking at missing their flight.

One of the quick thinking crew members called the inflight office to get the scoop. There was an evacuation of the main terminal due to a suspicious package at baggage claim. Everyone had to leave the terminal ( and this is during the rush hour of afternoon departures to Europe). The people looked like they were waiting for a concert on the grassy embankments, except they all had luggage. Hundreds of crew members milled around outside, smoking or talking on mobiles, or both.
Finally after about 1 hour they reopened the terminal, the crew security line was about 200 thick. I think we could have done speed dating as we winded our way through , think of the possibilities!! At long last we made it to the plane, with only a 30 minute delay.
I do think that the joker that left a bag there should be publically flogged and forced to apologize to everyone he or she inconvienanced. But it did add a little interest to an otherwise ordinary day.

22 October 2007

Queues and Fumes

The theme of todays flight was fumes.....Bad fumes!!!!! These fumes were brought to my nose by the following individuals 2J who reeked of booze,the unnamed male crew member that farted throughout crew rest ( no more curry for you before break...please??) and the male crew member that clearly left his deoderant at home,and his soap. Oh the humanity people!!!
You would have thought that at flights end there would be sweet relief, but during the 1 hour wait at crew immigration at Dulles there was a smell of kerosene that was so strong that firefighters came past us wearing gas masks. Of course immigration had cleared 3 widebody flights passengers while we waited.....And waited....And inhaled the stink......

20 October 2007

Quick and Easy Salsa, or Part 2

Where did I leave off? Oh yes, being watered down by fire hoses.....Fun times.... After the 9th truck of tomatoes drove through the town the fighting slowed down. A whistle indicated the throwing of tomatoes was to stop. That was when some idiots decided it was a fab time to throw sopping wet clothes at everyone. Cindy got a black eye from an errant shirt. As we were on steps against a wall we literally had over 50 shirts at our feet by the end of la Shirtatina.

The walk out of the square was nothing short of Tailhook. People throwing things at each other, you had to hunch over to avoid getting hit. people were missing shoes,putting on the ones they found on the ground. I saw the wedding dress,lonely and stained with tomatoes on the ground. I really hoped the guy waering it had something else on, cause man was he large!!

We proceeded to the local flat that was kindly holding a garden hose out their window to clean us off. There were 'showers' by the train station but being covered in tomato skin,seeds and muck for another minute was unthinkable. We tossed our shirts and walked to where our clean clothes were in our bathing suits. It was a real trick to get chenged in public, but resourceful as flight attendants are, we managed.

Now for the ugly wait for a return train home in the hot sun. I felt like I was waiting for the last flight out of Saigon. One hour after joining the masses, we were let in the station after the workers checked that we were clean and had shirts on. Luckily, oh so luckily,we got seats. The ride home was quiet, we were all EXHAUSTED and sore.

Once we made it to the sweet relief of the hotel showers, further salsa and seeds fell out of places we never expected. Dinner and cold beers ended the wonderful day that was la Tomatina. Would I do it again?? Probably, but in costume this time!! (I am thinking hula skirt and leis!) It is not often you can put aside all the responsibilities of adulthood and just engage in pure FUN and PLAY for a few hours. This is one of those places. But be ready to get dirty. And do not wear flip flops!!

Broadway Musicals and Serial Killers

I am more than a little frightened. I was just clicking on the 'interests' part of my profile to see what other bloggers shared my love of travel. (I am bored and home sick, I swear!!) Shiver me timbers, at the bottom of the page was a person who listed their interests as travel.....singing, broadway musicals ,serial killers and feral children!!!

WTF??? Could they have had a less jarring segue??? Perhaps inserted kick boxing or judo between musicals and serial killers??? I suppose a person with those interests might be equally scared of my love of knitting and aviation.

I did not read their blog. Hoping to sleep with both eyes closed tonight!!

18 October 2007

And Now....La Tomatina Part 1

Since I have taken another holiday and not yet documented the folly of la Tomatina- here goes....

Tomato throwing begins at 11 am. We took a 7am train filled with other tomato throwers. There were men in tuxedos, a fat man in a wedding dress,people dressed like cops,people in togas. (Note to self, plan a team 'theme' if you attend again)The train was as packed like a sardine can, people sitting on floors,on laps, wherever there was a random space. After 1 hour of jostling and bumping, we arrived. Bunyol is truly ( no disrespect intended) a little nothing of a town that comes alive one day a year, then goes to sleep again.

There are places to stow your clean clothes and rucksacks ( well worth the small fee!). Stands popped up with T shirts to commemorate the throw,food and drink to sate you,but curiously no postcards. Maybe the typical thrower ( which would be Australian apparently) is too frugal to buy a card. maybe digital cameras negate the need. We found a spot to sit and ate a sandwich before heading into town.

As we headed down the hill in a sea of strangely dressed folk, 2 caught our eye. A matador and a Spanish seniorita were filming everything. Both were men and the seniorita has the funniest fake teeth in his mouth. He picked up our friend Jim and spun him around. The buildings in the town center were covered in plastic and window shutters were closed. They knew what was coming. Did we??

In the edge of the square was a greased pole about 20 feet tall with a ham on top. The throwing could not begin until someone, anyone got it down. Men and women gave it a go, but the thick white fat slathered on the pole all knoched them off. There were other people climbing a coconut tree nearby which was more humorous as they got up quite high, then splintered the bejesus out of themselves as they slid down. There must be a local 'ringer' for someone climbed up just before 11 am and got the ham down.

Soon the crowd bean to get very loud, those in the front saw the brightly colored trucks each with over a ton of tomatoes in them. Locals sat on the top of the trucks and threw the tomatoes into the crowd. Let the melee begin!! Each truckload was good for about 5 minutes of no holds barred fun!! You threw at your friends, at bald heads, people that had annoyed you on the train, whoever you could hit in the TIGHTLY packed space. We were glad to be wearing the goggles ,it got messy and ugly. In between the truckloads of tomatoes people began throwing hats, shirts ( those HURT!!) even a bra or two was tossed around. The fire department hosed us down with their fire hoses, it cleaned the salsa off and cooled you down in the incredibly packed crowd.