30 June 2008
The one I entered ( hey, it was raining !) was filled with bobble head dolls, chop sticks , fuzzy dice , green tea, Buddhas small and large, woks, 'risque' novelty items and all things Jesus. Seriously, ALL things.
Why not use Jesus to erase your mistakes? I am not actually certain if he is an eraser as well as a pencil topper, maybe that is sacrilegious to use Jesus's head in that manner?
This little pink Jesus ( designed for a female audience presumably) seems to be a modified magic 8 ball. Just think of the decisions this guy could make for you. Should I shave my legs before this date? Do I go out with the crew on this layover or 'slam click'? Which trip should I bid for next month? He could really make my life easier. I notice that the Buddha next to him is on sale, maybe his advice is too mystical?
This product is frankly a little creepy. I did not care for Lincoln's eyes following me at the Lincoln Memorial, I will certainly not pay to have the same effect at home. it seems like his eyes might be day-glo.
How thoughtful of the shop to sell totes that enhance my holiness. I can put all my things Jesus in the bag and go!
27 June 2008
Most die -hard travelers, and certainly any airline employee are familiar with the concept of crashing in a friends spare room/couch. I will freely admit that I am not alone in planning holidays based on where I know people, as Hollene in Sweden and Monique in Switzerland can attest ( and hopefully Bob in Ticino....soon!). The twist of that is couch surfing at complete strangers homes. Hmmmmm.
I looked online at the two sites recommended by the article , couch surfing and hospitality club and checked out what they had to offer. Couch surfing let you browse users profiles, who had 'vetted' them by staying at their place or hosting them, and the profiles gave you a pretty good indication of their personality. Hospitality Club had a bit drier profiles, but you would in every case email the host/guest before so you could get a feel for each other. Photos were with each profile as well. Both groups had members in places as diverse as Iran, South Africa and Minnesota, USA.
Could I stay with a complete stranger? Hard to say, I don't think for an entire holiday, but in places where getting a feel for the country in impossible without a local, like Iran, for example, it might be worth a try. Most of the hosts seemed genuinely proud of where they lived and at the very least , many indicated they would be happy to meet for a coffee /beer and share local tips with you. I think for the moment that is where my comfort level is. If yours is further out than mine, give one of them a try and report back!
26 June 2008
25 June 2008
24 June 2008
When at the layover hotel, my bedside lamps would not work. After changing the bulbs and realizing that was not the problem, I decided to move the night table to make certain they were plugged in. BIG mistake. I looked down at the floor area and there was a friggin mountain of porn there. Literally 2 inches tall of "Club" magazine, apparently stuffed with pages from other magazines. Gross. Years ago when we stayed in an all crew hotel in San Francisco,our pilots usually got the corner rooms. There was ALWAYS porn in the dressers, they would apparently leave it for the next lonely,sad pilot. There are 2 airlines that layover in our Denver hotel, Which airline pilots are the guilty porn hoarders?? I had visions of a pilot checking in after me and getting angry that room 1063 was not vacant.
On the flight home a man told the crew 10 minutes before landing he thought he was having a heart attack. Indeed he was. Luckily all airports have emergency staff at the ready, we were met by paramedics who likely saved the mans life. I am sending good thoughts his way.
Working for an airline, low pay and sometimes low morale but never boring!
17 June 2008
When the heck did things change? Laying over downtown is affording me a chance to explore a new city. Yummy food at Cuba Cuba, browsing the fabulous independent bookstore the Tattered Cover and going on the rides at Elitch Gardens is filling my layovers. The locals also seem to have small town friendliness, which is a bit shocking as I am so used to the big city big hurry ways of London and San Francisco.
In spite of all the good, Denver seems to have its share of quirks as well. The photo below, advertises a certain type of business. Any guesses???
14 June 2008
Getting there was supposed to be so easy. A quick flight from Zurich, using a standby ticket on Swiss International. Heck, I even got a seat when I checked in, which if you travel standby means the Gods are smiling upon you. Hah!! Boarding card in hand I waited for my gate to be announced, noticing that MANY flights were cancelling that day. Then the words of terror appeared on the departure monitor 'annuliert'. Cancelled . Crap!!! The weather meant that nothing was getting to Munich that day by air, flights were being sent to Frankfurt .After a quick retrieval of my luggage ( thank the Swiss for their efficiency in returning my luggage, my carrier would have laughed or snarled if I requested this as a standby) I headed down to the bahnhof in the airports basement.
Train ticket in hand, and one hundred Euros lighter, I waited for my train to Munich. The train which broke down just over the border of Germany. 2 hours at one station while they repaired some engine part ( my German does not know mechanical words). Thank God for the paperback and iPod! At 9 pm, 12 hours after I arrived at the airport in Zurich and 2 train rides later, I was in Partenkirchen. Home for a week of snowboarding and airline employee partying and mingling.
Until 1936, Garmisch and Partenkirchen were merely towns that were side by side. Friendly neighbors perhaps but minding their own business. The 1936 Olympics required that towns that hosted events have a certain number of hotel rooms, Garmisch did not have enough.What to do? With the waive of his hand , Hitler put the towns together as the mouthful we know today, Garmisch- Partenkirchen. (Okay I took a little artistic license with the hand waiving, but he did put them together, Hitler seems like a hand waiver to me, in addition to a desk pounder).
Partenkirchen is definitely not the party nexus of the ski resort area, and that is fine with me. It is the quieter part, where you can walk down the middle of most streets,there are stores devoted to the selling of dirndl skirts ( closed for the winter in little Partenkirchen, but big sister keeps hers open), Marzipan shops and many a foot doctor. Germans are obsessed with foot health...Dr. Scholls, Birkenstocks,etc.
The pension we stayed in was the lovely Gasthof Fraundorfer, run by the inimitable Barbara. She is a lady that wears her dirndl while conversing in about half a dozen languages , all making her guests at home. The food here is I swear to God so good that I wanted to eat every meal there. Never have I felt this way about hotel food before. I am not the only one as the restaurant is JAMMED at dinner, even guests need to make reservations. The accordion and oompahpah dancing and singing really set the mood.The Gasthof is on the photo below, I heard a tour group stopping in front one morning and the guide explained that the hotel/restaurant was a place where newlyweds stopped off after their marriage and the art on the front of the building was in the plaster, put there while it was wet, so it does not chip or fade. So many of the buildings in the area had artwork, mostly of a religious nature, you can still see the staunch Catholicism here.
The snow in these photos reveal that, yes, this holiday was in March.....
The little flag waiver below was above our room. The pilot staying above us hung one of our airlines baseball caps on him for much of the week.
In spite of the cringe worthy advertising, the town is a real jewel. Walkable, delicious food wherever you go ( fast food lovers head to Garmisch for McDs and Pizza Hut) , friendly people including old timers that still wear the traditional dress and lots of snow!!
05 June 2008
But now I am back and will update you on travels of months past. We will go back in time to march, when fuel was cheaper, there was no typhoon in Burma and earthquake in China. We will laugh about my trip to Garmisch. Then we can reminisce about the family obligation tour and the pow wow I attended ( no I am not Indian). We can also ooh and aah at the flowers in bloom in the English gardens, little blog.
The times we will have, starting tomorrow. I swear.....The first post after a time away is always the hardest...