19 November 2009

Tipper

I love wacky old people, I truly do. Perhaps because I am pretty sure that is my future I have a soft spot for them. I had a humongous soft spot for an 82 year old passenger that was traveling with her little dog Tipper, on my last flight.

Tipper was traveling in style in a soft sided duffel bag carrier, so she could fit under the seat for take off and landing. She had the sweetest little blanket and toy with her. Did I mention Tipper was a toy dog?? Not a toy poodle, but a mechanical dog that barked. Truly.

My sweet old passenger explained that her real life dog died , she replaced her with the mechanical dog to keep her company. I suspect the real dog was killed by secondhand smoke, based on the passengers bag filled with cigarettes and her Kool menthol scent, but was not about to tell her that. I brought some cookies for Tipper to snack on, it seemed the right thing to do.

Apparently if you are wacky in any way, or could appear in a Tennessee Williams novel or be a family member of David Sedaris, I will be charmed by you on the flight. Kooks of the world I fly from Washington to Frankfurt tonight, please schedule yourselves accordingly.




01 October 2009

The Rustic Holiday

I am currently spending a week or so in Moloka'i , Hawaii at a friends house. Perhaps I should mention the friend is a beekeeper, the one creature I am mortally afraid of.. Keeping us company are 1 old horse, 4 dogs, wild turkeys ( not the fun whiskey kind), several geckos, centipedes and roaches. It is like an Outward Bound program.

Photos will be posted when I can get back to the mainland, with a reliable internet connection.


17 September 2009

The Princess and the 'Roach'

Dear 14F,
You kept us all entertained on my flight last night with your princess antics. The wrinkle of your nose when the sparkling wine was not champagne, or the beef to your liking. Decisions of chardonnay versus sauvignon blanc were mulled over like you were deciding who to award the Nobel prize to. You were not mean or rude, just precious.

When we were in the aisle serving breakfast, you called over a male crew member flapping your arms and screeching. You had a glass upside down on the floor and implored us not to move it, as a huge , nay, humongous crawly cockroach was underneath it. You trembled in fear at the thought that we might let the beast loose, while hugging your husband.

Honey, it was a grape.



07 September 2009

The Beauty Salon With a Bed

Dear Hotel maids worldwide,

I have a confession to make. When you find mysteriously stained hotel towels in rooms you are cleaning, I probably was the guest that stayed there. I like to use my layover hotel rooms as super secret beauty parlors. Today I am rejuicing my hair color, and what better way to occupy the 10 minutes of 'soak' time than blog about it?

I suspect I am not alone in this, nor is this limited to hair coloring. I have given myself facials, epilated, waxed , manicured as well as cut my hair in the hotel bathrooms.  Not only does this preserve my supply of pristine white towels at home, but it keeps these super secret beauty activities away from the gentlemen friends. For all they know, I am born with  this shiny hair color, with smooth legs and dewy complexioned.  (Some little lies are harmless, no?)

Seriously, how many salons always have time to fit you in, provide you with a television and bed to amuse you , and are absolutely free? Please crew, confirm I am not alone in frequenting Salon de Hotel Room....





20 August 2009

The Diary of Getting Home

I just worked my last trip of the month out of my new base, Frankfurt. As I was done for the month I planned on flying right back to the states, known as a 'turn and burn' among commuters. This meant working a flight from Chicago to Frankfurt, then flying as a passenger from Frankfurt to Washington DC, then making my way to Maryland. 

0930- Land at Frankfurt-Main Airport after working an 8 hour flight from Chicago. Hooray that we actually have a gate versus a 'remote stand'  ( parking on the tarmac and being taken in buses to the terminal).
1000- Queue up at the transfer desk to check in for my flight home. Watch a Lufthansa agent  being told to f$&^ off by a crabby Greek passenger. Nice.
1030- Finally get checked in for a seriously oversold flight home. Hope floats..
1045- Attempt to redo the makeup which must have fallen off as I served breakfast.
1100- Make way on the Skytrain to the pier where my flight is leaving.
1100-1145- As I am still in uniform, apparently serve as the information desk for where flights to Romania leave from, where the toilets are located (that I CAN answer) and whether or not their seat is a window seat on their flights, among other questions asked in 2 languages.
1145- Befriend another crew member hoping to also get on the flight to Washington.She is waiting for her transfer to Frankfurt as she lives in Bremen and is based in Washington DC (not as unusual as it sounds).
1200- Realize the only way the 2 of us are making it on this flight is to ride the jumpseat as NO passenger seats will be open on this bird. Rats..Smile sweetly and beg for the jumpseat.
1220- Board the plane home, introduce self to cabin crew and cockpit as jumpseater. 2 minutes of smiling and chatting with the pilots nets me a spot in their crew rest area for the flight- which means a bunk to sleep on rather than a jumpseat (thanks boys!)
1230 until landing- Lapse into a coma.
1500 EST- Land in Washington Dulles airport.
1615- Catch the Washington flyer bus to the train station, having missed the prior one by 3 minutes.
1640- Board the metro to Union Station, to catch the commuter train to Maryland.
1800- Finally figure out where to buy ticket at Union Station, grab a pretzel and lug bags onto train, thank you to the soldier who hefted my bags onto the train!
1900-Make it to Point of Rocks, board bus to stop close to home
1945-Home...........Lapse into second coma. 





15 August 2009

No Good Deed.....

Dear 29A, When I was walking through economy offering the leftover newspapers from business class you asked me for mint chewing gum. Sorry, we do not stock chewing gum, was my answer to you. I soon remembered I had bought a big container of menthol gum, and as I was in a swell mood that morning, decided to wade back upstream to offer you a piece from my personal stash.

Imagine my surprise when I offer you my gum and you wrinkle your nose at it and say that you had really wanted bubble gum.  Young lady, you are ungrateful.  


04 August 2009

The New Crowd

Now that I have transferred bases, I have to get used to a whole new 'crowd' of passengers, (and crew, but that will be a different post) . The UK passengers in economy seemed to be either school groups wearing matching sweatshirts/Tshirts, elderly tour groups,English families going to the US to visit Disney and shop, college graduates backpacking abroad for the first time or passengers travelling to either the middle east or Africa. Toss in a few random soldiers , a Hasidic Jewish family, a grungy band ending their less than successful European tour and that is our economy cabin on flights to /from London.

Oh how different a Frankfurt flight is.  Yes we have the soldiers, economy is FULL of US military and their dependants travelling back and forth, that much is similar. The 'color' has moved from the middle east to Eastern Europe. My German is used on the Birkenstock wearing Germans travelling to their holiday homes in Florida, but really Romanian or Ukrainian would be more useful. I swear a Gypsy woman was asleep at door 3 right in front of the jumpseat on my last overnight flight. I tripped over the humongous bare feet poking out from the many skirts she seemed to be wearing. I would have made her move but was afraid she would put a curse on me or try to clean me with a dirty rag and a bottle of 'Windex'. 

She was not the horror of the trip, it was the unaccompanied minor . This poor child was sent on an overnight flight back to his German mother wearing flip flops on his feet, NOTHING to occupy him, much less a toothbrush. The fact he apparently had ADD only added to the fun. He was so high maintenance we literally had to assign 1 crew member to watch him full time, 1 guy even gave up his crew break to keep him under control. He was slipperier than an eel, appearing in first class seemingly out of nowhere. Then under a seat, then in a bathroom flushing various things down the toilet. Even the female pilot tried to entertain him with a coloring book she had purchased for her child, but that only slowed him down for about 37 seconds.  Naturally he fell asleep just before landing.

This in a nutshell my friends, is why I work First Class.....




25 July 2009

Overheard in Economy


Passenger: Can I have a diet coke with ice please?
Crew member hands opened can and glass with ice to passenger. 30 seconds later she hands back glass with ice, asking if she can get rid of it. THEN she asks for...a glass with ice.
Crew member: Was something wrong with the first glass of ice I gave you?
Passenger: It was all stuck together.

Sometimes I am a loss for words.


12 July 2009

Dear Left Side of Business Class

Dear Left Side of Business Class

What a cast of characters you were last night . The flight from Denver started out a little chaotic, late arrival of inbound aircraft meant an oh so rushed boarding, it could have gone ugly very easily.  I feared the worst when we started running out of wine and wine glasses, you Denver lot were oh so very thirsty!! Luckily the humor of my colleague Andrew had everyone eating out if our hands within minutes.

Denver's aircraft food catering , is shall we say, uneven at best. The breads we were given to serve were best described as white, whiter and whitest, which is how Andrew offered them. Boy was the purser confused when he went through with extra bread and passengers asked for whiter or whitest. The cheeses did not match what was listed on the menu, and the beef we quickly renamed Soylent Green (google it).

These challenges aside, the flight was wonderful in no small part due to the cast of characters on the left aisle where I was working. 9A complained that he was forced to eat beef (well I would too but for the Soylent Green reasons), we asked why as it was his first choice for dinner. He replied he expected to have to eat his second choice so had ordered white wine. That logic was so whack it was funny.

12D, how special you were, in a sort of so bad you are good way. Your gold sneakers made you noteworthy right away. Your telling the obviously gay Andrew that the way to get a woman from Kentucky to give you a bl*& job was to dip your appendage in ranch dressing was  odd. But damn did you blush when I came up to you and said I was from Kentucky and heard you loved Kentucky women ( disclaimer, I grew up far away from Kentucky). You nearly wet yourself when I handed you a container of Ranch dressing for your time in London. 

14B you were so very fun. One of our most frequent fliers, you loved my offer of the chance to disarm my door for 20,00 frequent flier miles. Once I explained that 'disarm my door' was not a euphemism, that is. We upped the ante to the chance to ride the crew bus for an additional 10,000 miles plus an orchid letter. It just got worse from there.

14D, our dear upgraded soldier , how we loved you. You tried to come out of the toilet as the cart was passing, which resulted in a Laugh In style door open/door closed joke delivery. Andrew knocked on the door and tried to serve you in the lav. You almost fell for it. I loved your explanation that the military only needed soldiers to be 10% smarter than their machinery or equipment. This was before you could not figure out how to turn on the reading light. I do hope the tanks and missiles are easier!!

Dear left side, you made one of my last flights based in London a very fun evening!! 






11 July 2009

It Rhymes With 'Cow'

These are some 'found' film from a vacation taken about five years ago, before I had a digital camera. It is only half a roll, the other hundreds of photos I took are packed away while I moved, but I found this mystery roll under my bed, had it developed and was instantly brought back to my favorite destination. Laos.
This is the Buddha Cave, which was at least an hours boat ride from Luang Phahbang. It holds the prize as the place with the nastiest public toilet ever, but also one of the most magical places, as it is a cave filled to the brim with statues of Buddha. I will be honest and tell you I have no idea how they came to be there, or if you could leave new ones, but it was really special as its location was so very in the middle of nowhere. I remember bartering with the boat captains on how much it was to have them take us to the cave, maybe 10 dollars total.

The ladies above were the salesmen of the open air market in the same city. It was a far gentler market than those in Cambodia and Thailand. The ladies kept their babies is laundry baskets, and would provide you with a stool while you looked over their goods. 





The fruit and veg open air market  filed with food recognizable and not. They invited you to smell, poke and taste fruit foreign to you, and giggled as you laughed or squinted when you were caught off by a surprising sweetness or sourness of the food.

These were the monks robes hanging out to dry. I had always imagines that being a monk was a life's vocation, similar to nuns or priests. What I learned was that every man was expected to 'do time' as a monk, for weeks or months. They depended on locals for food, literally having bowls filled each morning. It made them that much more human to realize that the monks robe was merely something most were 'trying on' for a time.

These photographs are really hardly the best of the bunch I took there, only a few from the last roll. It was such a treat to find them and be taken back to the few weeks there is a country with no Starbucks, few ATMs or traffic lights, and a gentler way of life I miss Laos.




27 June 2009

I Thought You Had Been Fired

Dear Flight Attendant X,

I had heard through the grapevine ( or jumpseat wireless) you had been fired years ago. You, the crew member whose name we all knew and had half a dozen horror stories about. Second in notoriety only to Alex, the post op alcoholic who WAS fired. Hell, no one could compete with her, don't feel bad for coming in second..

A few years ago rumor spread that you had either been hired with British Airways, got married to your lunatic pilot boyfriend and moved to the states, were out on medical leave or had dissappeared under dubious circumstances. I was never sure which story I liked best but all had their merits.

Now all my fantasies of never seeing you again have gone poof as I have flown with you twice this month. You are back and as welcome as a case of herpes, head lice or a broken middle seat in economy. The reasons for your return are as mysterious as crop circles, Stonehenge or the plot of Lost.

Its not as though past flights with you were uneventful. There was the time an out of base crew made you sit down as your very presence was slowing down the service, your continual insistence that you could really make us look better with your professional make up artist skills, and lets not forget when you were pregnant and were asking passengers if you should keep the baby. Those were fun times.

Then, your mailbox disappeared from work, the stories about you dimmed from memory. Heck, there were people new to the base who had never flown with or heard of you. Now they get their chance. I really liked the flight where you watched me work during boarding while standing absolutely still. I was working first class, yet somehow had to work business as you were busy imitating a statue. Your laziness has increased, the force is strong around you , Lazy One Kenobi.

Flight Attendant X, you could make a Buddhist turn to violence, so lazy are you. I will miss many many things about being based in London but sweetheart, you ain't one of them. I bid a fond flight attendant buh-bye to you.


22 June 2009

Some Gentle Instructions

Dear Passenger, Here are a few tips for successful use of the airplane toilet and its many amenities. 



The drawer above is where you find supplies for ladies as well as ill passengers. It is NOT a place to put used tissues, toilet paper, or hair pulled from your hairbrush. It is clearly labeled no matter the airline or aircraft. Bottom line, if you see unused supplies in a drawer, on a shelf, or behind a door, do not place used items there.



Behold the waste container above. Yes there is a red X on it, but upon examination you will see that applies to cigarettes only. ONLY. This is where all the refuse I see in the container above really needs to go. 

Below you will see a magic button which will whisk away any solids or liquids you leave behind in the toilet on the plane. Gentlemen, do not be afraid, PLEASE push it. If I had a dollar for the amount of times I have entered the toilet after a pilot, or male passenger and there is a sample for me, well, I would be a passenger in first class rather than serving that cabin. I am not familiar with a urinal, but this piece of equipment does need to be flushed. I and the passengers using the toilets after you thank you profusely.





                                                 





16 June 2009

Crime Doesn't Pay, or Buy a One Way Ticket

Dear 25E,

When the captain told us that we had a passenger that was going to be met by the authorities, we wouldn't have guessed it was you. Your only crime seemed to be poor fashion choices, you were certainly polite enough.

We were assigned a remote stand (not a gate with a jetway) and on the airstairs were 6 of Heathrow Police's finest ( the blonde in particular). We were able to have everyone stay seated under the guise of a passenger needing assistance off the plane. Boy were you shocked that it was you, I imagine your girlfriend was too.

I am certain you have learned either to show up for your court appearances for theft to prevent this happening in the future, or to only buy one way tickets out of the country. Big brother really is watching and knows if we have been naughty or nice!


12 June 2009

Ch-ch-ch-changes!!!

I am moving!! Not my blog, but actually me. My transfer was awarded to our Frankfurt base, after 7 years of waiting. Of course this is awarded after I moved back from Germany and broke up with the German guy, but my timing has never been great.

I was panicking as I accepted the transfer in the computer. BIG deal after living in England for the bulk of my flying career, I feel like I am changing schools. At least I do not have to worry about what to wear on the first day! 

Never did I think I would leave London but I really need a change and also, FICA. The social tax of the US which I have not been contributing to for a few years (this is British law). I need to be fiscally responsible for once and not let fun interfere with my old age, after all, who really wants to have to eat cat food like they joke about? 

The minuses- I LOVE the crews based in London. Well not all of them (you know who you are..) but at least knowing who they are allows me to selectively choose to work in the cabin they will not be in.  I also love London. I will never stop seeing things I have not seen before, finding new restaurants , museums, statues, etc.  The bulk of my friends are here.

The pluses- Frankfurt is far cheaper than London. Flying in and out of London as a passenger is going to soon be an extravagance thanks to the departure taxes. Lufthansa offers us dirt cheap standby tickets, so it will be affordable to pop over to a neighboring country to visit for a few days. The ability to pay US taxes again , as well as FICA (never did I think I would list that as a plus in any context!)

So my flying career out of Heathrow will conclude July 31st. I am incredible excited, scared , sad and happy at the same time. Change is good, right? 


02 June 2009

Member of the Board...Really??

I recently had a member of the board if directors of my airline on my flight, travelling with his family. Confirmed first class travel is one of the many perks bestowed on members of the board, probably common among all airlines. These board members are usually CEOs of their own companies, who, in my eyes, rubber stamp pay rises for other CEOs. Still, I expected he and his family to be reasonable well mannered and have a modicum of etiquette. Boy was I wrong.

I imagined the CEO of a company would have a wife who dressed according to her position. Silly me, maybe a bedazzled  hot pink tank top and stretch pants does match her position. The son in jeans , scruffy shirt was not much better. Maybe the outfits would not bother me so much, I see things like that in first class, but the fact that I as an actual employee has to dress to a certain standard, heck even our CEO has to adhere to this dress code, but this idiots family does not, is what rankled a bit.

The behavior was even better. SHOUTING to get the crews attention. This when in the first class cabin you are really never more that 10 feet away from any given passenger, and we are working in a front to back fashion. Shouting that your wife wants breakfast, at 5 am, is this really necessary?  Getting up when the seat belt sign is on, 'smuggling' back food and drink to the few family members travelling in business class ( the poor souls) and throwing your used Kleenexes on the floor ( all 20 plus of them). Seriously, this is how a CEO behaves? No wonder your company is in the crapper Mr X. (For the curious, his company name is the same as where you would have found an oracle in ancient Greece, and a temple too).




12 April 2009

13D Where are you?

I meant to blog about Cozumel tonight on my layover. But I cursed myself with my wishes for crazy passengers of my flight to blog about, cause boy oh boy did I get one. I need to preface this by explaining that the mentally ill are drawn to me on the plane like moths to a flame. Ask the girl who thought she was a rabbit and hopped around the economy cabin then wanted to eat lettuce and carrots. Or the man who was convinced we had stopped flying and we needed to admit we were hovering, before he proceeded to eat the inflight magazine.

Poor 13D. His wig alone would have made him stand out. A full head of hair that was clearly not his original color perched atop a hairless , browless head. But his tenuous grasp on reality made him stand out far more. He appeared in the galley telling a crew member people were attacking him and he wanted to file lawsuits. Then disappeared. Then reappeared with a 'limp' arm saying one of the crew had shoved him to the ground. Then nearly pulled the lavatory door off the hinges trying to push a pull door.

I was sent to deal with him (there was only 1 passenger in First Class, I wasn't busy) and try to assess his level of crazy. Not that I have any training in this, was just the only one not tired of him by then. Tried to get him to sit down with the offer of a drink. He said 'they' were watching his seat. So offered to move him to an empty area of business class, and have a cup of coffee or tea. He didn't know 'who he could trust'. So offered him a sealed bottle of water and/or a closed can of soda.  Explained he was suing everyone on the plane. When I got him to sit, he kept his tray table at a 90 degree angle to keep the Nazis away. Think of how soon WWII could have ended, if that was all it took !

He could not determine if he had a green card or not, for the immigration paperwork. Explained he was going to Reno for a conference ( dying to know for what). When last we left him, he was scratching his head over the address he was headed to. I hope some family met him wherever he was going, and man, did my post flight happy hour mojito go down a treat after this flight. I need a rest!!


10 April 2009

Back...with a vengance??

Okay, It HAS been a really long time. Sorry dear reader... During my time way I went snowboarding in the Arctic Circle, crossed the Atlantic 8 times in 12 days, went snowboarding in Crested Butte. Colorado, had a few hot dates and was temporarily distracted by Mafia Wars on Facebook.

The photos from the cruise in...um...February will be up tomorrow. It will be a little longer for the Sweden photos as I cleverly removed my camera from my Mac before all were downloaded and corrupted the photo files. All 200 photos. Working on restoring them....If any Mac junkies have suggestions, all I can seem to find are programs for PCs...

I have been reading Julie & Julia which details the authors quest to cook all of one of Julia Childs cookbook 's recipes in a year and blog about it. Each page made me feel guiltier about not updating mine! So hopefully the coming weeks will have flights chock full of kooky passengers, crew members and fun layovers to document.  The hot dates will NOT be documented as I have found out one of my readers is my brother . See you tomorrow!!  


06 March 2009

Today I Lost A Friend

Sorry I have not been updating regularly. After returning from a Mexico trip ( I PROMISE to post the pics) I worked 16 days without a day off. Back and forth across the Atlantic. Never any idea the day of the week. Now I leave for Sweden, the Arctic Circle, to be precise for some skiing at an airline ski week. 

But a damper is put on it as I have learned a friend just passed away. She was a colleague that had been fighting lung cancer, a disease rather cruel for a non smoker like herself. Things looked hopeful until she had a collapsed lung over the weekend and passed the Monday after.

I feel particularly terrible as I never made the time to contact her during her illness. I would get her email address with the best of intentions, then not write. Time and again, and now it is too late. Fiona, I will miss you in spite of my lackluster communication.

She was a wonderful purser to fly with, always bringing the crew things like fresh limes from a friends orchard while on a layover in San Francisco, or buying champagne for the crew that flew a New years Eve trip with her. If your home was remotely on her drive home ( mine was) there was always a free ride for you . She also took care of her aging mother, that is who I really feel for.

Fiona, rest in peace.

I will be away snowboarding for a week, will return with postings then.


17 February 2009

Airport Meltdown

This woman's meltdown was over.....missing a flight. Seriously. Imagine if she did not get her meal choice onboard.



10 February 2009

The Cruise Statistics

I recently returned from a 5 day cruise to Cozumel, Mexico. I will tell you, dear readers, I was not the person who selected the cruise line (Carnival) or the destination, so please do not judge. Photos will be uploaded shortly and the cruise analyzed in depth. But in the meantime, a few of my cruise statistics for you to enjoy .

Number of days while sailing it was warm enough to truly wear a swimsuit:0
Mullets spotted on men who were unaware it was not still 1983:4
Amount of money I spent in a Mexican pharmacy buying unnamed 'necessities' that are sold over the counter there : $36
Total money won after putting 3 dollars in a slot machine :120
Number of velvet bedazzled jackets with crucifixes on them spotted on men :1
Phone calls from a lovesick Colombian room steward :2
The number of flights I stood by for in an attempt to get home:3
Kilos of guacamole and pico de gallo consumed while in Cozumel :2 (estimate)
Number of years a blue agave plant takes to mature to produce a 'pineapple' from which tequila is eventually made :10
Types of tequila I sampled in appreciation of the above fact :5


27 January 2009

The Worlds Best Passenger Complaint Letter

Sometimes I think the airline I work for is the only one people complain about. I get fairly convinced every airline has better uniforms, aircraft, food, movies, etc. It is not uncommon of a flight to hear "Virgin has better amenities" or "British Airways does not charge for drinks" or "Lufthansa has personal video screens" and it can sometimes get a little demoralizing.

 THEN I read a letter like the one posted on the Daily Telegraph's website and I realize we are all the same after all. It really 'takes the biscuit' as the writer says. The photos included are also worth a look!
                                                      The letter

I feel much better about my airline after having read it, though I do need to wipe my eyes.


20 January 2009

In Honor of Today





What an exciting day!!! As the sun sets on former President Bush's time in office, sir I cannot say I will miss you but I do promise to read American Wife. Also, I have been waiting 4 years to be able to call you former President, so no one can tell me I do not know about delayed gratification...


19 January 2009

Hysterical Ad

This clever ad if for Virgin Atlantic. In spite of being totally un p.c., I LOVE it!! It is a total lift from the movie Catch Me If You Can. (Hate to quibble with the ads director, but VS crews have always pulled their hair back, they would have never worn it down, but the swinging hair is half the sex appeal of the ad.)



16 January 2009

Dear 3E and 3F

Dear 3E and 3F,

Everyone saw you two go into the economy handicapped toilet together. You fooled no one by spacing it 30 seconds apart. If you want to get busy and join the mile high club, wait till an overnight flight when there is not a queue for the toilets.


14 January 2009

Postman's Park, or a little London love

Postman's Park is one of the secret spots in London that I love going to. (I can't always travel overseas, sometimes I am limited to my own neighborhood!) It is a tiny little spot I walked past for years before finding out about it on a London Walk.

As the sign above says, it is squashed into the Square Mile between the backs of several churches , office buildings and apartment blocks. It was created as a place for the postmen who had a site nearby, to rest relax and eat their lunch. Yes, amid the tombstones..



The Watts memorial was created to commemorate everyday citizens who gave their lives to save others.  Sort of sad that the wall has not been added to since the early 1900s, each story makes interesting reading and also makes you wonder if people are still so selfless. The plaques are made of Wedgwood china, and if you have seen the movie Closer, you will recognize not only the park but one of the names on the wall.  The Park is still used today by Londoners as a place to eat lunch or get a little peace and quiet. It is rarely too crowded to find a seat and while away the time.
















13 January 2009

The Meltdown


Last night I witnessed one of the saddest sights I have ever seen in an airport. Our crew was at our gate , waiting to board the aircraft when we heard a HOWLING come from behind the gate door. It sounded truly animalistic and was the kind of noise that gives you shivers. It was a Marine.

This poor young man was scheduled to fly back to Iraq that evening via Kuwait. He began to have some sort of post traumatic stress incident and completely melted down in the smokers lounge. Few things shake you like seeing a huge Marine balled up screaming, crying and absolutely not resembling a human. He was taken away in an ambulance. My heart broke for him, and I am still thinking and crying  about him today.  I hope he gets the help he and too many other soldiers need .  




12 January 2009

The Best Hotel Room View Ever

Everyone talks about the Chicago Water Tower, but I just don't get all the hoopla over this. As seen from our former gorgeous layover hotel, the Chicago Palmer House Hilton. In spite of your less than picture postcard views from our rooms, I will miss you so. (Yes I KNOW this is not the real Water Tower people...)


11 January 2009

What a Feeling

Dear junior flight attendant I just flew with,

Leg warmers are not acceptable with the uniform. Ever... I would go so far to say that legwarmers are not really acceptable anywhere outside a dance studio since 1983. You are new to international flying, I will cut you some slack but honestly. Just because you worked with folks that wore their pants too short, hair down and pink parkas with your uniform when you flew domestic, we do not do that (much) here in London. Please shape up little girl, I have high hopes for you. And spit out that gum too. Thank you. 


09 January 2009

Dreaming of Bangkok

Whenever it gets really cold, my mind wanders to past travels to warm locales. I grew up in Hawaii so vacations do not usually consist of beach destinations , I am just as happy to be n an urban location in the heat. On my travels to Asia, I usually use one city as a start and stop point, and Bangkok is usually the home base for Asia when on my way to Laos, Cambodia,  Indonesia , etc. 


Bangkok had been swimming through my head recently, memories of trips there are fighting for time in my daydreams.



1. The modes of transport in Bangkok never fail to enchant me. The Skytrain is a modern air conditioned oasis of cool in a steamy hot city. I could actually ride around on it for about an hour just to feel cool. It is also incredibly easy to navigate as a foreigner, regardless of language spoken.


2. Tuk-tuks are the other end of the transport spectrum. No seat belt, no safety, fumes from the vehicles in front of you and behind you belch at you the entire time. The driver will have some flowers hanging in his vehicle or some Buddha statue. You feel as if you are taking your life in your hands and getting financially ripped off in the process of the ride, yet that is somehow part of the fun.


3. Street food... The fruit stands that will cut and bag ( or place on a stick) mango, pineapple or various other fruit make my mouth water. The stands owners look like they are performing magic tricks with their knives. This is the healthiest 'fast food' you will ever encounter. The other street food is the hot variety, usually made on a hibachi plopped right on the sidewalk with the car fumes used as an additional ingredient. If it is a more 'upscale' sidewalk cafe , it will be served on plates and glasses washed in a tin drum or plastic tub right at your feet.


4. The weekend market. There is no better entertainment that exists, anywhere. (If there is ,please tell me about it)!! A skytrain ride to a humongous property which has no rhyme or reason, it is worth the trip even if you do not plan to buy anything. You will see everything from cute clothing, mobile phones, puppies and live Scorpions for sale there. The scarier animals are usually kept in plastic containers open on a table. Just looking in them is to participate in a travellers version of Fear Factor. The stalls are cheek to jowl , with no personal space for vendor or shopper. In spite of this, tempers do not flare, even in the searing heat.



5. The water taxis. Hop on and see how the locals travel. For a ride that costs pennies, you will see the riverfront of Thailand, get around avoiding the chronic gridlock, and see locals going to school and work. Standing next to you will be Thai schoolgirls, ladies coming from their shopping with baskets full of food, businessmen and tourists. The shoreline is a curious mix of upscale hotels, wats ( temples) and dilapidated apartments with laundry hanging inches above the water.



6.The wats. A shoes off experience. You will marvel at the beauty of the buildings, the calm of the monks and the many cats that wander the premises, all rubbing against your legs hoping for a bit of food or affection. The last time I was in Bangkok they were filming a Bollywood movie scene at a temple, song and dance routine was being rehearsed.



7. The wat massage. At one of the wats (Wat Po?) you can get a massage for just a few dollars. It is not the plush surroundings you normally get a massage in, you will be in a fenced in area on one of about 20 mattresses lying on the floor right next to each other. There will be no common language so the masseuse will resort to tapping, poking and just manipulating you. Thai massage is like a workout on a Pilates reformer , but the masseur is the reformer. Your body will be poked and pulled in ways that it has never done before. A tip, do NOT wear jeans, wear loose trousers . Your body will thank you the next day.



8. The people. The calm accepting and friendly nature of the people is amazing . I exclude one street vendor from this praise, and she knows who she is (old woman I will get you back) . Everyone else in Thailand reminds me not to loose my cool so quickly, and not to sweat the small stuff.



Other things like the flower market, Jim Thompson's house and the many tailors and massage parlors ( for your FEET people, not that kind of massage!) fight for my attention in my travel daydreams. Now to find the time for the actual trip...



07 January 2009

Those Were The Days

it is a rare day ( okay never) that I wish I was older. Seeing how flying was a few decades before I began males me wish I had been able to fly before deregulation took away all the prestige.



06 January 2009

Now That Is Recycling

Do you ever wonder what happens to old aircraft when they outlive their usefulness? Many are parked in the desert, but some find other lives outside the skies. One Boeing 747, formerly owned by Pan Am, is set to open shortly as a Jumbo Hostel at the edge of Arlanda Airport in Stockholm, Sweden.  The plane as a hostel was dreamed up by Oscar Dios, who has renamed the aircraft Lid, after his daughter.  








In place of the seats that occupy a traditional aircraft, 25 rooms with 3 bunk beds have been installed. (I would love to see how they stack up to our crew rest areas, I imagine they have taller ceilings.) There is a luxury suite housed in the former cockpit, with the steering column still intact. I cannot decide if they idea makes me want to run, as I spend so much time on a plane, or check it out. I am passing through Stockholm in March and hope to give it a once over. I wonder if they give crew discounts??


02 January 2009

Quite Possibly the Perfect Gift



I recently stumbled upn the website passengersonly. Their online store is filled with mouthwatering bags, totes, and other items you do not know you need until you see them. The perfect gift is an item I never knew existed until I saw it there.

I do have to qualify it is the perfect gift for your dear wine drinking friends. Dear friends as it is $375.00 . How the your friends travelling to Chile , France or New Zealand would love this little bauble, and they would have no excuse not to bring you back a bottle...or two.  I never knew I needed a rollaboard wine container until I saw this, although my budget is more of the wheeled Igloo cooler size  . 




01 January 2009

The Resolutions

It seems to be de rigeur for all bloggers to list their resolutions for the New Year, so I will join in and add a few..

1. Take a holiday by myself. I have NEVER done this, and it seems a bit embarrassing to admit. All 'world travelers' seem to have done solo junkets, some lasting for years. I will start small, maybe 3 days in a city, but I will do it...

2.Take more photographs. Now that I have a digital camera and FINALLY got a new Macbook, there is no excuse. I am ashamed to have no photos to look back on ALL the time I spent in Brazil, Chile and Argentina. The excuse that I am not a good photograph does not hold water. Better a crap photo than no photo at all.

3.Stop thinking I can always see things the next layover. My airline is moving our layover hotel in Chicago from a lovely location in the city to the suburbs.Grrr. While I have friends in Chicago, it makes me realize there are SO many things I have not seen there yet, and want to. I really need to take greater advantage of the opportunities I have, as they might not be there tomorrow.

4.Go to China. My airline flies there, I have no excuse. MUST go in 2009.

and for the work resolutions, less gossip, more patience and understanding.....