Amo l' Italia

Mar 19, 2010

There are days when this job is far from the glamorous life that most people perceive it as. Multiple turnarounds, passengers so mean that you want to curl up in the lavatory and cry, and extreme sleep deprivation. That being said, there are days when I can not believe that I get paid for doing something that is so much fun. Take for example, my last layover. As far back as I can remember, I've wanted to visit Italy... this is quite likely due to the mass amounts of chick flicks that I've watched that were filmed there. When I discovered a flight to Milan on my roster, I was thrilled. I crossed my fingers that they wouldn't change it at the last minute. Luck was on my side, and as I headed to the airport and other crew members asked where I was going, I would reply "Milan...", with a smile. Stuck on terrible flights such as Cairo and Delhi, they'd sigh with envy.
The flight over was quite interesting. We had a full passenger load and 90% of them spoke little to no English. I quickly learnt the Italian words for chicken and beef to make the meal service much easier. Everyone was so happy and friendly, and it was an easy flight. About halfway through the flight, a chime started sounding throughout the cabin. It sound familiar and took me a few seconds to realize... it was a smoke alarm. Mass panic briefly set in as all of the crew rushed to find the source. We discovered that it was in the lavatory, which was occupied. One crew member stood with the halon fire extinguisher, while another forcefully opened the door to find a man standing with a lit cigarette as he went to the toilet. A cloud of smoke blew into the cabin. Stunned by the 3 crew members standing in front of him, he made quite a mess of urine on the lavatory floor. We confiscated his cigarettes and a box of matches and angrily told him that not only was he breaking the law, but he was endangering 300 lives. Knowing the possible consequences, he suddenly became extremely apologetic. We let the purser deal with him as we calmed down the passengers nearby, who had no idea what was going on. Imagine hearing a smoke alarm, seeing smoke, and hearing the crew yelling in a language that you don't understand. Once things had calmed down, we patiently waited to land.
Upon arrival, we had a 45 minute bus ride to the hotel. Once we had finally checked in, it was 9 pm and I was exhausted. However, I was in ITALY! I could have went to sleep and ate in the morning, but instead I dialed up room service and ordered a real Italian pizza. It came delivered it's own little box, with a knife and fork beside it, which I found amusing. Oh my goodness, it was delicious. Satisfied, I crawled into bed and called it a night.
The next morning I woke up to a phone call from my boyfriend, the birthday boy. As it turns out, calling Italy is much cheaper than Dubai, so we chatted for awhile before I realized that I had to shower and go meet Vivienne (who is from Vancouver and just so happened to be on my flight to Nairobi as well) to head out for the day. Confused with the time difference, the poor girl was sitting in the lobby waiting for me an hour early. I quickly got ready, grabbed my camera, and met her downstairs. The weather seemed decent enough, so we decided that we'd go to Lago di Como/Lake Como. Like sardines, we crammed into an extremely full train to head to the main station. We had plenty of time before the next train, so we found a nice cafe and ordered lattes. For future reference: Ask for cafe latte when ordering in Italy, or like us, you'll end up with 2 cups of hot milk. We went back to the counter to order 2 shots of espresso as well. Italy has the best espresso, and it was perfectly complimented with a fresh croissant... Vivienne swears that nowhere in the world can compete with Italian croissants. We grabbed some olive bread for the journey, and headed to catch our train. I found myself staring out the windows for the entire hour train ride. Fields! Trees! It felt a bit like home, and a completely different world all at the same time.
Once we arrived in Como, I fell in love with Italy. The atmosphere is amazing. The streets were lined with cafes and locals zoomed past on bicycles. Friends would greet each other on the street with a kiss on both cheeks, and as we walked by people would smile and say "Ciao!". It was cloudy and looked like it might rain, but the temperature was perfect and the rain never fell. I went camera happy, getting dizzy from staring at my surroundings rather than watching where I was walking. After awhile of wandering, it was time for gelato. Unable to make up my mind, I asked the man behind the counter which flavor was his favorite. He tried explaining the ingredients but didn't know the words in English. I agreed to try it anyways, and whatever it was, it was delicious. I happily posed for photos with my very first REAL Italian gelato. I couldn't have been more happy that I'd decided to spend the day with Vivienne. Like me, she was completely happy wandering aimlessly, stopping to take photos because every 4 feet that you walk, it looks more beautiful. Lake Como was quite amazing. Beautiful houses nestled in the mountains that stretched out as far as I could see. Apparently many celebs including George Clooney and Madonna own homes around the shores. I can imagine that in the summertime it would be breathtakingly beautiful, but even in the winter, it was nice, and we were spared from the massive crowds of tourists that the summer brings. After walking along the lake for a good deal of time, we decided to take a train up the mountainside. The track was extremely steep and made me a little nervous, but the views were incredible. On a clear day, you'd be able to see the Alps stretching out for miles, but it was quite cloudy. At the top, there was a small village with and many amazing homes. We took a walk around, fearing for our lives every time a car came speeding down the narrow and winding road. Every building was so amazing. So old, colorful, and detailed. It was all quite surreal. There I was, wandering around Italy... ITALY! Even better, it was for work! After a few hours of taking in the sights and atmosphere, it was time to catch a train back to Milan as we had to fly home that evening. On the way back to the hotel we stopped to see the incredible Duomo Cathedral. I was in awe... the architecture was incredible, and the walls, windows, and roof were so detailed. Not to mention, it's massive. We fought off men trying to sell us bracelets and ran from pigeons (Vivienne is terrified of them) as we took the mandatory tourist photos. We grabbed more gelato (this time pistachio for me!) and caught the train back to the station closest to our hotel. Before departing for Dubai, home of expensive and in my opinion quite boring food, we headed to the supermarket to grab a few essentials... pasta, cheese, coffee and Loacker wafers for me, wine and cheese for Vivienne. We rushed back to the hotel, quickly got ready, and it was time to go. I wish that I could have had at least one more day... 24 hours is never enough. The flight was full, but since it was overnight the passengers slept the majority of the time. I was jealous, trying my best to stay awake despite having been awake and busy the entire day. Due to fog and heavy traffic, we were slightly delayed and by the time I arrived home, it was 8 in the morning. I dragged my suitcase into my room, put my groceries in the fridge, and fell into my bed.
Milan officially takes the spot of my best layover so far.


megan said...

Krysta,I can't believe the things you are doing in your life! It sounds like a blast and I am so jelous! I look forward to reading your blogs so keep em coming!

ingrid. =) said...

I'm so jealous!! I'm tied up with assignments and work work work.
It's nice to know you're having fun. Live it up!

Ronnie Rabena said...

Hey Krysta my sister from another Mister, wow you have such an awesome job haha! That's so good for you. Just wanted to thank you again for doing that interview with me. I have it posted now so you can check it out anytime :D Have fun!

carkeymiss said...

hehe lavatory...

Tleppihs Nayr said...

Your text size on this post is a bit weird.. try copy and pasting into a new notepad document (removes formatting) and pasting it back into the blog so that your blog formatting can be the default. It's driving me nuts haha.


Mr. OCD <3

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