paris. economy class. international.

Oct 28, 2010

Ever since I can remember, I've dreamed of visiting Paris. I could fly to every other city in the world, and spend half of my life hanging out 40,000 feet above the Earth... but in my mind I'd never be a REAL flight attendant until I flew to Paris.
As I packed my suitcase for my trip I made an attempt to pack my most stylish clothing, but I soon remembered that I lack anything of style and settled for warm attire instead. I was off to Paris!!
With the strikes and chaos going on in France I was a bit concerned that I may be destined to spend my layover stuck in my hotel daydreaming about the Eiffel Tower.
Shortly after entering the briefing room I met the lovely Vanja. To date, she is the only crew member I've met who shares my ridiculously extreme levels of excitement when it comes to exploring beautiful new places. I'd previously flown with a friend of hers who had noticed that we were on the trip together and had told her all sorts of nice things about me (aww!). It was the first time in Paris for both of us and we were instantly bonded in our enthusiasm. It's a sad but true fact that a lot of crew have negative views on everything related to the job, so it was refreshing to meet somebody so optimistic and happy in general.
The flight over was a breeze. The passengers were friendly and cheerful despite a nearly 2 hour delay, and the crew was great. We hung out in the back galley getting passengers to join us in singing and dancing and all in all it was one of the best flights that I've had so far on the 380. I realized how terrible I've become at speaking the French language, but attempted anyways.
Vanja was sitting at the door across from me and as we touched down at Charles de Gaulle we looked over at each other with huge grins and tried to contain our happiness... we were in Paris!! Once the last passenger had disembarked we were much more vocal about our excitement, annoying the rest of the crew with giddy chatter about how we'd soon be at the Eiffel Tower.
We arrived at our airport hotel, miles from the city. A group of us agreed to meet 30 minutes later to share a taxi. As the rest headed off to shop and meet up with friends, Vanja and I made our way to the metro station and successfully found our way to the Trocadero station. As we emerged to the street we looked at one another blankly. Umm, where was the Eiffel Tower? We were momentarily lost, but we soon spotted tour buses and knew that we must be close. A few moments later we caught a glimpse of the giant famous tower, standing in all of it's beautiful glory. I don't care what anyone says, I was blown away. Far from overrated. After a few moments of high pitched squealing "OH MY GOD, PARIS!!!", we hugged each other and then proceeded to take many, many photos. The area was crowded with men selling miniature towers and we insisted on having one. We even scored a free keychain out of the deal, for being "sexy"... which Vanja misunderstood as them saying "Merci" and replied "De rien!" (You're welcome!) It had been some time since we'd landed and we were starting to feel a bit peckish. Earlier in the day we'd established that we'd feast on crepes, but we decided it was best to save them for dessert. We wandered away from the tower to find a small pattiserie where Vanja grabbed a sandwich and I, trying to be cultural, had a croissant. Once we were satisfied, we made a beeline for the crepes stand, where we both ordered chocolate and banana crepes. We continued walking closer to the tower as chocolate dripped down our hands.
It was getting dark and with every passing minute the tower looked more spectacular. Every 2 metres we stopped to take more photos. Soon we were standing right in front of the Eiffel Tower, still on a natural high. Suddenly, it because to sparkle! Lights flickered all over the entire tower, and I secretly hoped that nobody around was prone to seizures. Vanja and I stood speechless, just staring in amazement for several minutes. Who ever thought that a pointy metal tower could be so breathtaking? Couples kissed and I longed to be there with my own love, but I knew that I was fortunate to be there with somebody else who was as happy as I was in that very moment. I could feel goosebumps forming and as lame as may sound, a dream of mine came true right then.
We'd come all the way to Paris, and we had every intention of making the most of it. As night fell over the city, we forked over 3.5 Euros to climb to the first viewing level. The rest of the tourists stood in the ridiculous long line for the elevators, so the stairs were empty and we took our time walking up, constantly reminding one another that we were IN the Eiffel Tower... just in case it had slipped our mind. Once we made it to the top we gazed out at the endless lights of the city and the beautiful old buildings that we knew must have historical significance. We spent awhile just trying to soak it all in before walking back down. Some how time and flew by and it was already quite late. Although we were too distracted to realize it, we knew that we were both exhausted, having been up since 3 am. We decided to return to the hotel, but not before we had more crepes. We went to a different stand, in case the employees recognized us and thought that we were gluttonous tourists - which of course, we were, but they didn't need to know that. The men making our crepes were charming French men, telling us how beautiful we were and confessing their love for us. Vanja swooned as I giggled at their silly attempts.
Once we had our second round of crepes in hand, we sat on a bench and stared at the beautiful flickering tower, well aware of how lucky we were to have such an amazing job that rewards us with such amazing experiences.
The fun didn't stop once we caught a taxi. Our driver Mohamed was an Egyptian who had been living in Paris for 27 years and spoke very limited English. I struggled to communicate in French while he attempted to speak English, but we somehow managed to hear his life story and learn that he had only been driving a taxi for 2 months since his former job wasn't doing enough to support his family in tough economic times. He pointed out the Arc de Triomphe and Champs d'Elysees as we drove past, and told us random facts about the city.
After a long day, we were finally back at the hotel. I quickly checked the internet, hoping to find my November roster, but was disappointed to find that it was late. Returning to my room I soaked in a super relaxing bubble bath and then fell into a deep, happy sleep.
I woke up the next morning and returned to the crew lounge to use the internet. Vanja was there as well, and we nervously clicked the email to view our schedule for the next month. I shrieked and felt as though I'd won the lottery when I spotted YYZ. I didn't care about the rest of my flights... I was going to Toronto! CANADA! Tim Horton's! Family!! Vanja was equally thrilled to find her very first Sydney flight (she's from Australia) and together we hugged and jumped up and down thinking that this was the greatest way to end an already amazing layover.
After a delicious buffet breakfast I went back to my room to pack up, so high on life that I sat for a good 5 minutes just watching bunnies jump across the rabbit infested field outside my window. I was in the best mood that I'd been in for quite some time, and I had Paris to thank!
I probably had a smile on my face until after we'd landed in Dubai.
I love my job, my life, the people in it, and PARIS!

I'll Never Get Tired of London!

Oct 25, 2010

Since joining the A380 fleet I've had more than my fair share of flights to London Heathrow. That said, the novelty has yet to wear off. I make the most of every layover, hopping on the train and making the 45 minute journey from my airport hotel to the heart of the city. My most recent trip was no exception. I was in my hotel room for no more than 10 minutes... just enough to drop off my suitcase, change, and wipe off the remnants of my red lipstick.
Like a seasoned pro, I caught the busy train and rode it to the Piccadilly Circus station. I didn't have a plan, I just wanted to soak up the vibrant big city atmosphere that Dubai severely lacks. I wandered towards Trafalgar Square, stopping to admire and patriotically take photos of Canada House with its giant Canadian flag blowing in the wind.
It was a Saturday afternoon and locals and tourists alike crowded the streets. Who could blame them? It was a cool, sunny autumn day, perfect for spending outdoors. I happily window shopped, thinking about how I must be the luckiest girl on the whole planet to have such a super cool job.
Hunger had began to set in, and I searched desperately for a healthier alternative than the typical fast food chains. I'm going on a beach vacation next month, so I've made it my mission to eat healthier and maybe even incorporate exercise into my life once again. I found a great little place called "Itsu - Health & Happiness" and made up my mind that it was exactly what I wanted. I ordered a delicious vegetable dumpling miso soup, the perfect meal to satisfy my hunger and warm me up. Once I'd finished eating it was back outside to continue my aimless wandering.
I was about to discover something that would put me in an over-the-top good mood. I glanced inside a shop that appeared to sell gourmet chocolates. Upon entering, I discovered a massive store transformed into a Christmas shopping paradise. 5 floors of chocolate, gifts, and decor awaited me, and I knew that there was no escape any time soon. I'm admittedly a Christmas fanatic. I realize that it's only October, but I'm that girl that has my tree up the day after Halloween. I'm okay with forking over an extra chunk of cash for the electricity bill that comes with having beautiful lights lit around my home. I love Christmas, and last year I was stuck in the desert where you'd forget it was even happening if it weren't for one massive tree in the center of the Dubai Mall. So I set off, giddily admiring the beautiful displays and forcing myself to refrain from putting every tree ornament in my basket. I spent a ridiculous amount of time in that shop, remembering how great the festive season truly is. The price tags were high above my budget, but I wasn't really there to make purchases. I left with a box of pretty Christmas cards and dreams of decorating my home once I finally flee the sandpit and settle back into Canada.
It was raining as I stepped out into the street, reminding me that I was in London. I was in no hurry, so I found a cozy cafe and indulged in a mint hot chocolate topped with a thick layer of whipped cream. I'd ate healthy the entire day and spent hour walking, I deserved it. I was pleased to find free wifi and I spent awhile catching up with Ryan, muttering on about Christmas and love. Somehow, time had flown by and it was already dark outside. I decided that I should probably begin to make my way to the hotel, as I had quite a long way to go. On the way I stopped in for my mandatory grocery store fix, stocking up on amazingly fresh berries as usual. I stood in Piccadilly for awhile longer before finally heading to the Tube station and catching the train back to the hotel.
The usual London trips have suddenly become so much more exciting with my realization that soon the city will be full of Christmas markets, lights, ice rinks and all thinks happy and festive.
'Tis (almost) the season!

Good Times in Thailand

Oct 19, 2010

I was still recovering from jet lag from my flight back from Sydney as I headed to the briefing for my next trip. I was headed to Bangkok and despite my extreme lack of energy and therefore motivation, I was looking forward to a few days of fun in Thailand.
We met many interesting people on our flight over. It all began during boarding with the drunk man who asked me on a date as he hiccuped and spent 10 minutes in search of his bag that had been sitting on his seat the entire time. Once he began shouting and insulting the passengers sitting next to him, we offloaded him. There was a total of 1 male crew member on the lower deck, the last thing we needed was an aggressive drunk man to deal with at 40,000 feet. Then there was the man who insisted that the airline should pay for damages to his iPhone... apparently it had been sitting on the tray table and when the passenger in front reclined his seat which in turn sent the phone flying and cracked the screen. There were many, many more strange individuals. I wondered how some people are even capable of getting as far as boarding an aircraft, given the thought that must go into booking flights, checking in, and getting all the way through security to the gates. It remains a mystery to me, all that I do know is that it was a mentally draining flight and we were exhausted by the time that we finally landed in Bangkok.
The rest of the crew headed to their rooms for the mandatory post-flight nap. I opted for caffeine and sat sipping a green tea latte at a coffee shop across the street from the hotel. I browsed the supermarket, picking up some fresh fruit to eat while waiting for the rest of the crew to wake up. A couple of hours later I met up with 3 others, including one crew member on his supy flight. A380 crew are so lucky. My first supy flight was a miserable messy turnaround to Cochin, India... not a nice layover in Thailand. We were starving and set out in search of dinner. I was adamant that we eat Thai food, and slightly disappointment when the others were ready to settle for a less than appealing Italian restaurant. Fortunately I was able to persuade them to continue walking for a bit, and after 5 minutes of walking down a dimly lit side street we came across a cute little restaurant serving Vietnamese and Thai cuisine. I was thrilled as I ordered Pad Thai and Vietnamese salad rolls. 2 of the others were new to the world of Thai food, and I raved on and on about how great it was until they finally sampled my meal and thoroughly agreed that Pad Thai is simply amazing. After a nice dinner and plenty of funny moments, we headed back out in search of dessert. We found it at a small convenience store, where we bought delicious ice cream and happily wandered into the street. We split up as 2 headed back to the hotel and myself and another girl headed for the spa. I'm not typically one to indulge in spa pampering, but I decided to give it a try. After browsing the spa menu we both decided to have facials and were led up to the "Romantic Room", much to our amusement. It was super relaxing and I definitely dozed off a few times as I was pampered. Afterwards we headed back to the hotel and I fell into a deep sleep.
The next morning I woke up early to grab some breakfast before my flight. I was quite proud of myself as it seemed I'd finally mastered the art of dodging traffic to cross the street. I grabbed some yummy fresh fruit and headed back to get ready. We were off to Hong Kong for the day, to return to Bangkok later that evening. It was a quick and easy flight and once we'd arrived we were given the option of staying on the aircraft or enjoying the airport lounge. I chose the latter and sat in the airport enjoying complimentary snacks (dim sum!), coffee, and wifi. 4 hours later it was time to head back, and by this time I was feeling quite sleepy. During the flight we had to take our seats for about 15 minutes due to turbulence, and I thought the gentle bumps were going to rock me to sleep. I was relieved to land in Bangkok and convinced that I'd head straight to bed. Once we arrived, however, we discovered a huge celebration in the streets... apparently a significant holiday in the Hindu religion. I met up with 2 other girls interested in seeing what was going on, and we went out into the street that was lit up by thousands of candles and filled with people. The scent of fragrant flowers filled the air, and everyone around seemed very happy. Spotting us as clear outsiders, one man kindly handed us each a fruit, smiling as he greeted us in Thai. We walked for awhile and took in the atmosphere before turning back to finally catch some much needed sleep.
I'd agreed to meet a few girls and the supy guy the next morning to head to the infamous MBK in search of anything and everything that you could ever want to shop for. I headed to the lobby a few minutes early to find supy guy waiting patiently, but nobody else was anywhere to be found. We waited... and waited.. and nobody showed up. Finally too impatient to wait any longer, we hopped in a taxi and chose to go it alone. We arrived at the massive mall and we instantly overwhelmed. Before we could shop, we needed to eat. We found a busy food court and I grabbed some... you guessed it... Pad Thai... for 1/10th of the price that the hotel offered (and that is even with our crew discounted rate). After lunch we spotted a DVD shop and I selected numerous cheap chick flicks to keep me entertained during my days off in Dubai. I was in search of one thing this trip, and I set out on a mission to find it. For months now I've wanted an instant camera. I finally found the one that I wanted and I (okay fine, Supy) negotiated a better price and left the store happy with my new purchase. We wandered the mall with no particular plan, stopping at a Thai-ish shop where he picked up an elephant decoration as a souvenir of his first trip, and I bought a fridge magnet to add to my collection. I also got a few pretty cushion covers since my flatmate is moving out this week and the apartment is looking quite bare since she's packed up her belongings. We searched the busy shops trying to find gifts for our significant others (I've been Christmas shopping for months and so far have absolutely nothing, nor ideas) before leaving empty handed and catching a taxi back to the hotel.
I wasn't quite ready to nap, so I headed back into the streets for a quick walk, stopping to buy some snacks to eat before the flight. I'd had a great couple of days and I didn't particularly want to return to Dubai. I reluctantly packed up and napped before the flight, sad to leave but ready for a few days off to do nothing but sleep.
In the airport I was heartbroken when the crew member in front of me purchased the very last mango sticky rice (my newest Thai obsession) in the shop. I'd been so kind and let others jump in front of me in the passport line, but perhaps next time I'll be a bit more aggressive. I'd been craving it the entire day. I was happy when I found another place selling it, but in a much smaller portion. We flew back to Dubai on a quiet overnight flight, and I headed to bed to sleep for an entire day.
I'm already looking forward to my next trip to Thailand!

Sydney & Auckland, we meet again!

Oct 14, 2010

After a brief illness last month that resulted in me calling in sick for my flight to Sydney, I was excited to finally be returning to the land down under. Nothing was going to stop me this time!
After much procrastination I packed my suitcase, set for 6 whole days far from the Middle East.
As I met the crew, I was pleased to meet another Canadian. As we got to talking, she had a sudden realization. "Are you from Red Deer?" she asked. "Do you write a blog?" I laughed at the randomness of the situation, as she explained that her mom frequently reads my posts... so hello to Kimberly from Vancouver's Mom, thanks for reading! I've tried to convince your daughter to start up her very own blog to keep you updated! There is a strange sudden bond when 2 Canadians meet on the other side of the world. Even more exciting, is when we discover that we are both from Western Canada, unlike most of the others who hail from Toronto. We knew that we'd get along great.
I was in high spirits as we boarded the big bird, and boy would I need them. We were in store for 13 hours of nonstop call bells and passengers that were bottomless pits of hunger. Aside from my mandatory (but far too short) crew rest, I spent the entire flight on my feet. It was 6 am when we landed in Sydney and I felt as if I was sleepwalking through airport customs.
You all know me well enough to know that I wasn't going to let a bit of extreme fatigue stop me from enjoying my day! As the rest of the crew slept, I changed into some comfy clothes and my favorite pair of flip flops and set out for the day. I made a beeline for Gloria Jean's in need of a quick caffeine fix. Realizing that I was hungry and that it was breakfast time, I made my way to McDonald's. I absolutely love McD's breakfast in Australia. For just $3 I grabbed some delicious pancakes and sat down to take advantage of the free wifi to let Ryan know that I'd arrived safely. Of course he already knew, as he has the nerdy habit of tracking my flights... but after a full day in the sky it was nice to talk to him. My caffeine buzz was short lived, so I grabbed another latte for the road and set out for a big day of aimless wandering. I set out towards Kings Cross, taking a photo of the sketchy hostel called "Asylum" where I'd stayed with my friend Jake a few years back. Continuing on, I made my way towards Oxford Street, where I was slightly shocked by the obvious public displays of homosexuality... not because I have a problem with it, but because I live in Dubai, where such things are not tolerated. I react the same way when I see heterosexual couples showing any form of affection beyond hand holding. Life in the Middle East has that affect on a person. It was a bit refreshing to see such an abundance of freedom, and I spent a few minutes reminiscing, missing my oh-so-gay and oh-so-awesome friends back home in Canada. I browsed quirky artsy shops and the Saturday markets as I soaked up the thrills of a westernized society. As I headed back towards the city, I grabbed some sushi and savored every bite.
I happily wandered through the Botanical Gardens, "Awww"-ing at the many weddings taking place. I stopped to smell the roses and take in the views. I sat for awhile watching the world go by around me. Families sat together enjoying picnics and couples strolled hand in hand. I felt a bit envious as I continued walking all by my lonesome. It was Thanksgiving back at home and I knew that most of my friends and family would be enjoying the day surrounded by the people closest to them. I continued walking to forget about my moment of loneliness. Despite my increasing levels of fatigue, I somehow found the energy to decide to trek across the Sydney Harbour Bridge. Let me tell you, it's longer than it looks. I snapped far too many photos of the city and the Opera House as I stood high up on the bridge thinking that my life was pretty great.
As I walked back I made my way to Darling Harbour, one of my favorite places in Sydney. In celebration of Thanksgiving, I ordered a turkey sub from Subway. It wasn't the traditional dinner I'd hoped for, but it was turkey and I felt a bit more content. By the time I'd finished eating I was struggling to stay awake, so I decided to return to the hotel. I fell asleep and didn't wake up until early the next morning, when it was time to do it all over again.
I got ready for the next flight... this time to Auckland! I was so excited to be back in chilly New Zealand. I'm not really sure what I love so much about the city. It's typically cool and rainy when I visit, and there isn't a lot that I can do in the short period of time I'm given. For whatever reason, Auckland has won my heart and I spent the evening eating sushi and Subway (I stick to what I know and love) as I walked around the pretty streets. I came across a beautiful park full of old trees, fountains, and cherry blossoms! I took some photos and enjoyed the fresh air and abundance of real live nature. I decided it was time to head back to the hotel. It was early to bed for me, as I knew my body was still trying to recuperate from the lack of sleep the day prior. I slept an amazing 12 hours before waking up feeling great. I even found the motivation to go to the gym! The treadmills had TV's built in and I ran and laughed as I watched "Whose Line is it Anyways?". It had been raining all morning but it had appeared to die down. I grabbed my umbrella and put on some warm clothes as I headed outside. I walked into the city, browsing the shops that had closed the night before. As the rain began pouring down once again, I ran to seek refuge inside a cafe where I ordered the best Chai latte that I've ever drank and tried to warm up. Sadly, my time in Auckland was fast coming to an end and I had to return to the hotel to get ready for my flight back to Sydney.
Back in Australia I went for Subway, yet again. I tried my best to stay awake, knowing that the next day had a long night flight in store for me, but I couldn't do it. I went back to my hotel room and called it a night. I woke up bright and early the next day ready to enjoy the last few hours of my layover. I had been contemplating an early morning walk at Bondi Beach, but I quickly changed my mind when I opened the curtains to discover a rainy day. I took it as a sign to relax as I went for a short walk to Circular Quay for one last look at the Harbour. I ate McDonald's pancakes again and wasted the morning wandering before heading back to my room to sleep before the flight.
14 hours later, I was back in Dubai, dazed and jet lagged. These long trips take a toll on my poor body, but they are worth it!

Feeling Thankful.

Oct 7, 2010

As another holiday (and one of my favorites, might I add) approaches this weekend in Canada, I'm feeling pretty patriotic and a little bit homesick. As I board a plane to Sydney, my fellow Canadians will be stuffing themselves with turkey, stuffing, potatoes, gravy... and my personal favorite... pumpkin pie. It's Thanksgiving!
I'm a self proclaimed holiday-addict. I'm the girl who decorates for Christmas in early November and still paints Easter eggs despite being in my 20's. Thanksgiving is no exception. I spend the entire month prior dreaming of turkey dinners.
Knowing that there was no way to go home this year, I tried to at least make it to Toronto. I knew that I could count on my grandma to make a delicious pumpkin pie... far better than any you could buy at a store. When I didn't get the flight on my roster I tried swapping it for my Sydney/Auckland trip, but it was no use. I sadly accepted the fact that I would have to miss out on one of my favorite days of the year.
However, a few let downs won't let me lose sight of what this holiday is really about... being thankful. At this time of year I always like to take the time to give thanks for all that is great in my life, and this year I have even more to add to the usual list...

I'm thankful for the amazing opportunities that I've been handed. I might have to miss out on a few turkey dinners but looking at the big picture I'm truly blessed. This was my dream job, and how many people can honestly say that they reached their dream? I'm thankful for each and every country I've been able to visit and for the amazing experiences I've had along the way. Heck, I'm even a bit thankful for the homesickness. It's shown me what is truly important to me and now I make every attempt not to take the little things for granted.
I'm thankful for my family. Thanksgiving is such an important day to spend with family, and I'm fortunate to have such a great one. They support my dreams and they have all along. I'm thankful for Ryan's family as well, for treating me like I'm part of the family.
I'm thankful for Ryan. This year has been hard for both of us but he loves me no matter where I am. People said so many negative things about long distance relationships but if anything it's made us fall even more in love. Absence makes the heart grow fonder, right?
I'm thankful for my friends. For my old friends back home and my new friends in Dubai. I love them all.
I'm thankful for a lot of things, but if I were to write them all I'd be up all night, and I have a flight early in the morning!
Happy Thanksgiving, Canada.
Oh, and let's not forget....I'm thankful that I can call myself Canadian. I may be biased but I think it's a pretty darn amazing place to call home, and I look forward to going back someday.

So... what are you thankful for?

More from Manchester..

Oct 4, 2010

I never imagined the day that I'd be excited to visit Manchester. However, since my discovery of Primark I've looked forward to each trip and brought a nearly empty suitcase to fill up with my purchases. Just a day after returning from London I was headed back to the UK. Back to back flights can be pretty exhausting, but I generally prefer them to spending my time in Dubai.
The crew was great, and I was happy to be able to fly with a fellow blogger friend!
In the back galley I chatted excitedly about my plans to go shopping with a few of the girls who didn't originally have plans of leaving the hotel room as they were trying to save some money. I managed to persuade them (although it really didn't take much effort) to join in.
I felt a bit guilty for being such a negative influence until they brought out chocolate and forced (Fine, I exaggerate) me to eat some. Have I mentioned that I am really terrible at eating healthy? Feeling like a failure I indulged in the deliciousness of After Eight mints.
Once we landed into lovely Manchester it was straight to our hotel rooms to change and head out into the city. The shuttle driver recognized me as it had only been a week since I'd hopped into his van bound for the city. There were 8 of us in total as we stepped into the zoo that is Primark. We established a meeting point and agreed to return to it 2 hours later. And we were off! I found a shopping bag and wandered the store, tossing items in with every step. It was all so cheap! Realizing that I'd never wear half of the stuff I'd stuffed into the bag, I reassessed my potential purchases and emptied half of the bag before proceeding to the checkout to escape before I overdid it.
Hauling a huge paper bag full of new pajamas and shirts, I wandered around the street, stopping to buy blueberries along the way. It's become somewhat of a UK tradition to buy fresh berries to enjoy the next morning for breakfast.
It was time to meet the rest, so I headed to the meeting point where each of the girls sat with their very own paper bag stuffed full. After all of our shopping we'd worked up quite an appetite, so we set out in search of dinner. Where do you go after you've spent your entire meal allowance on clothing?? The food court, of course! I grabbed Subway to make up for my lack of healthy eating earlier in the day, and then failed once again by ordering ice cream for dessert. Everyone else was doing it! We reassured ourselves that our 7 hour flight without sitting down followed by 2 hours of shopping had earned us such a reward.
After ages standing outside waiting for the return of the shuttle van, we finally headed back the hotel. Everyone was exhausted and in our dazed state we reached the point of giggly and silly, laughing at everything as we walked back to our rooms. The hotel staff probably thought that we'd had a few drinks in the city, but in reality we were just drunk off of shopping.
I slept for approximately 12 hours before waking up for the flight back to Dubai, which was chaotic, I may add. It was non-stop from take off until landing. I was absolutely exhausted by the time we landed, but at the end of the day as long as we arrive safely I can't complain. After running around the cabin for hours there is nothing better than cozying up in my very own bed! Goodbye until next time Manchester, thanks for the adventures!

Lost in London

Oct 1, 2010

It was 1 am and I was wide awake. I'd gone to sleep only 4 hours earlier and I didn't have to be up for another 2. Unfortunately I was unable to fall back asleep and I braced myself for what was sure to be a long and exhausting day as I headed to London.
Somehow I made it through the flight and to the hotel without falling asleep. It was pouring rain and quite chilly outside as I considered my options. I could make the 45 minute journey to the city, wander in the rain and take photos... or cozy up inside my hotel room, order room service, take a bubble bath, and sleep early. So what did I do? You guessed it. I got changed and headed downstairs to wait for a bus. On the bus I met up with a couple from New Mexico who were in the city for a vacation. They were so friendly and we chatted until we reached the train station, where (having been there just once before) I expertly led the way. As I sat on the train I was barely conscious. I noticed the Chinese lady sitting next to me was watching a Chinese movie on her iPod, which appeared to be quite erotic. Not the typical train ride entertainment, but to each her own, I suppose.
5 hours later (okay, it was more like 1 hour but it felt way longer) I arrived at the Piccadilly Circus station. I stepped out into the heart of the city, relieved that I'd brought my umbrella. I spent awhile wandering the tourist spots, taking more photos of double decker buses and phone booths. I browsed shops full of tacky souvenirs for a brief chance to warm up and dry off from the rain. I strolled through China Town and eventually wound up in Soho, where I window shopped. I was extremely sleepy and getting hungry, so I found the nearest Starbucks and sat down with a latte. In my dazed state I found myself people watching... slightly envious of the normal day to day life that these people led. I still wouldn't trade my job for a 9-5, but they all seemed so content and relaxed as they sipped their coffee and caught up with friends in the warmth of the coffee shop. Continuing my aimless wandering I strolled down streets, turning at any that looked interesting. I soon found myself completely lost on a random street in the pouring rain. I was concerned for an entire 5 seconds before I shrugged it off and continued walking with my camera in hand.
Eventually I ended up at Hyde Park, which was the opposite of the direction I'd thought I was walking. My sense of direction is terrible, but in my defense I'm in different corners of the world every week. It tends to get confusing. I hadn't had anything to eat yet, so I found a nice cafe where I was able to access the internet for a whole 5 minutes. I suppose it was better than nothing. Layovers are difficult as I don't have constant contact with Ryan, and I'm a needy girlfriend who misses him after an hour. It was getting dark and I still had a long ride back to the hotel, so I decided to find the nearest Tube station and head back. Along the way I spotted a supermarket where I stocked up on fresh raspberries and blueberries to eat the next morning for breakfast... simple pleasures that I'm deprived of in the heat of Dubai.
I found a station and headed to the platform to wait for the next train. What I hadn't considered was the fact that it was 6:30 pm on a weeknight... and thousands of other people were trying to get on a train as well. 2 trains came and went, far too full for me to squish on board. By the time the 3rd arrived, I was determined and pushed my way on. I didn't care that I was sandwiched between people with no room to breath, let alone stand comfortably. As luck would have it, the train didn't depart. We stood anxiously waiting to move until we were informed that it should just be a few moments as they tried to work out the problem. Finally, we were off, 15 minutes later. At some point the train had changed destinations without me knowing and I'd missed the stop that I'd needed to transfer at. Irritated and ridiculously sleepy, I hopped off the train and caught another one back to the previous station, where I caught yet another train... finally, the right one!
10 years later (yes, exaggerating again) I was safe and sound in my hotel room.
I took a bath and snuggled into bed....I've never had such a great sleep in my life!
It was time to return to Dubai, so I proceeded to get ready for the flight. I made a stupid mistake and gulped down 2 litres of water an hour before my pickup time. I felt the urge to find a bathroom as we proceeded through security, but I could wait. Continuing my streak of luck, it took ages to make it through security as they felt the need to search each and every one of our handbags. Finally we headed to the terminal, where we sat with a view of toilets which were on the other side of the gate. "It's okay." I told myself, "I can wait." We had our usual crew briefing, which seemed to take longer than any other one ever has. Crew members were asking multiple questions and the purser went to the ground staff to clarify answers that he was unsure of. I didn't know how much longer I'd last, and I began to consider the embarrassment that would come with peeing my pants in the middle of an airport. FINALLY we were given clearance to board. I rushed past everyone and fought through the crowd of cleaners onboard until I finally reached the lavatory. Oh my goodness. Never again will I drink so much water before a flight.
One day of rest and then it's back to the UK for me... this time to chilly Manchester once again!