Seoul Searching

Nov 22, 2010

Clever title, I know. In my current state of fatigue I was quite proud of thinking that one up, despite the fact that I wasn't actually searching for anything while in Seoul. I apologize in advance for any spelling/grammar errors because I'm typing this all in Notepad and haven't slept much in the past 48 hours.
I'm currently somewhere 40,000 feet above the world, firmly planted on the seat that I've been occupying for the past 11 hours, oh... and I still have 4 more to go. Not to mention a connecting flight. None of this matters though; because when all is said and done I'll be landing in Calgary, Alberta and running into the arms of the boy that I love.
Anyways, back to the intended topic of this blog. Rewind 2 days and I was bound for Seoul, South Korea. I was a bit antsy with the anticipation of vacation immediately following my trip, but still looking forward to it. We landed into Seoul and quickly established plans to go out for Korean BBQ. A few crew members joined and we ventured into the cold winter air on a mission to feast on delicious food. It was just as yummy as I'd remembered, though I skipped the Soju wine this time around. We ate until we could no longer consume any more food, paid, and ventured into the night. A few of the crew made their way to a nightclub while the rest of us headed to 7-11 to stock up on snacks for the duration of the layover. The air outside was brisk and I'd complained about how cold I was for the entire walk, but it wasn't enough to stop me from buying some green tea ice cream. Dessert is mandatory. I was satisfied as we headed back to the hotel. I debated going to the gym, but in the end sleep won me over and I called it an early night.
The next morning I had a short lived date with the treadmill, suddenly remembering the fact that I'll be sporting a bikini in Mexico next week. After I'd showered and bundled up in warm clothing, it was time to wander the streets. Unlike last time I'd visited Seoul, it was a clear sunny day, perfect for a walk! I set out with no particular destination in mind. I spotted a store called "Daiso" which my friend Greta had told me about and recommended that I visit. I decided to check it out and spent the next hour trying to talk myself out of buying absolutely everything. Everything in Korea is so cute!! I bought a few items, among them a couple of cups with little bears and terrible English spelling mistakes. I'm not really sure what inclined me to make that purchase, but I couldn't put them back on the shelf. Heading back outside I continued walking, browsing random stores and trying to make purchases with absolutely no knowledge of the Korean language. By the time I move home to Canada I'll be so used to one word sentences and communicating by pointing and body language. I'll be the charades master. After grabbing some lunch I decided to slowly make my way back to the hotel. I hadn't planned to do much of anything on my layover, saving my energy for my long journey back home.
After a nice long nap in my room, it was time to start getting ready for my flight. I flicked on the TV for some background noise and found myself watching the breaking news updates of North Korea's attack on South Korea. I nearly had a heart attack when a reporter talked of "unconfimed reports of Incheon Airport being closed...". It could NOT be closed. I was flying out of that very airport in a few hours, and being the risk taker than I am, I'd booked a flight home that was scheduled to depart only 4 hours after arriving in Dubai. I went into panic mode, checking the internet until I was confident that the reports were false. Normally I'd get excited at the prospect of an extended layover, but this was the first time that I absolutely needed to go back to Dubai as soon as possible. The security at the airport was heightened, but we were still able to depart, much to my relief. At 9 1/2 hours, the flight to Dubai was longer than I'd anticipated. I'd be extremely rushed to make my next flight. We landed, I grabbed my suitcase, and ran for the taxi stand. "Big hurry, fast please!" I emphasized to the driver. I reached my apartment, changed out of my uniform, wiped off my lipstick and swapped suitcases before running back downstairs to catch another taxi. A great sense of relief flowed over me as I realized that I had plenty of time to spare. I was flying standby, so I was stil a bit anxious that I might not be able to get on the flight. Fortunately, I was given a boarding pass and sent on my way. Everything was working out and I could finally start getting excited about HOME.
So here I sit, waiting to land in San Francisco and catch yet another plane home. I'm on a Boeing 777-300 for the first time since making the switch to A380, and I must say that I don't regret my decision one bit. Not that there is anything wrong with Boeing, in fact it's far more crew-friendly... I suppose I've just grown rather fond of the double decker.
It's time to watch my 5th movie of the flight and perhaps catch a little bit of shut eye before landing.
I'm officially on vacation, so there probably won't be any posts from me for the next couple of weeks! I'm sure I'll have loads of exciting stories to entertain you with when I return!

Just a quick little gush

Oh my goodness!! I'm going home tomorrow!!
I haven't seen my mommy or my family or my boyfriend or my puppy in 4 months.
I'm a great big ball of excitement at the moment.
I love my job, but I do need the break to just relax and remember what it's like to have a regular life.
I'm the happiest girl in the world, and life is pretty darn amazing.

shopping and touristing in beijing

Nov 19, 2010

As my long awaited vacation approaches, my motivation to go to work is dwindling. Normally I'm thrilled to escape Dubai for fun overseas adventures, but time has come to a grinding halt the past couple of weeks.
I was less enthusiastic than usual as I got ready for my flight to Beijing. I wanted to pack my suitcase and fly to Canada. I wanted to be one of the 400 passengers rather than be the one serving them. It took awhile, but I finally accepted that I had to go. I coated my lips with my hideous red lipstick and headed for the airport.
Let me give you a little picture of what a flight to China is like. 90% of the passengers are Chinese, and of them, 99% speak little to no English. For the entire duration of the flight we struggle with great communication barriers, suddenly realizing the importance of body language. Perhaps it's a cultural thing, but on this particular flight, it seems that every single person takes their shoes off. When you think about it, it's kind of cute. They make themselves at home and place their feet on the floor on a mat made of the plastic packaging that their blankets came wrapped in. The novelty wears off fast as the cabin fills with the odour of 400 pairs of smelly feet. Gasping for air, the crew subtly spray air freshener through the aisles as they walk through. At the end of the flight, it takes extra long to disembark as I suddenly become a model, posing for photos with every 2nd person to walk past. I wish they'd do this at the beginning of the flight, when my hair was still neatly done up and my makeup hadn't melted off of my face. Regardless, I suppose I should take it as a compliment.
On this particular day we landed into Beijing and I quickly gave up on my tiny hope of visiting the Great Wall of China. A thick layer of smog filled the air, limiting visibility of nearby buildings. It's really quite sad to see the level of pollution. My eyes were burning after only a few hours, and I could only imagine the impact on the health of the people who live there.
It was early evening and I wasn't ready to call it a night. Some of the crew discussed going to the Silk Market for some cheap shopping. I opted for Newmarket instead, remembering the aggressive sales people at the Silk Market. I managed to convince 2 crew members to join me... both males who said that they were just going for something to do. I was the one in need of shopping, they were just keeping me company. 2 hours later I left with one purchase as they both hauled tons of purchases that had cost them their entire allowance. Good thing I'd saved enough for a taxi back to the hotel! Back to my purchase... I grabbed an awesome pair of fake Ugg boots that look real and feel just as cozy as the real ones I'd splurged on in Australia. I need to point out that I bargained for a good price, all by myself! Normally my guilty conscience gets the best of me, but my extreme fatigue and desire to own those boots took over, and I bargained until the frustrated sales lady finally accepted my lowest price. I probably could have paid even less, but at $20 Canadian I wasn't about to complain. I'm now set to visit Canada, with warm toes! We went back to the hotel, dropped off our bags and walked over to the grocery store. I didn't need anything, but I'm always amused by random findings in the Chinese supermarket. We wandered through the seafood department, saddened at the sight of a tank full of turtles. I imagined a family sitting around the table feasting on the poor little reptiles. It was getting late and I'd been awake for close to 24 hours, so I paid for my jasmine tea and went back to my hotel room where I slept like a baby until early the next morning.
I went downstairs to meet a gay Lebanese guy who was so much like my friend Jake from Canada that it scared me. They share the same inability to stop talking and the same love for their own reflection. I knew I was in store for an exhausting day, but I was prepared for it. We'd agreed to visit the Summer Palace, and I was in tourist mode when he said "I think it's too far for today, let's go to the market again and we can go visit this temple that is nearby". I stared at him, trying to plan my words so as not to lose my temper. Too often I'm a pushover when it comes to my layovers, settling for what others want to do. Take for example my last trip to Beijing, when the girl who'd agreed to go to the Great Wall with me bailed at the last minute. I was not going to back down this time. "I'm not going back to the market, and I've been to the Lama Temple. So either we go to the Summer Palace, or I'm going back to bed" I announced. I immediately wished that I could take the words back for fear of upsetting him, but to my surprise he replied "Oh okay, I don't mind going, that's what we said we'd do so let's do it." Shocked with my victory, I smiled as we walked to the metro station. Forget taxis, we were feeling adventurous! It's a good thing that my fellow adventurer was confident in his ability to navigate, because I was admittedly quite intimidated by the map of the Beijing Metro lines, written entirely in Chinese. We caught the train and to my relief, emerged at the gate of the Summer Palace. We paid for our tickets and stepped inside, instantly switching to photographer mode. It seemed that for every photo I took, I took 2 more of my self-absorbed travel partner. He had to be in every single one of his photos, and I explained to him that I'd take photos of the beautiful landscape first, and photos of him on his camera phone second. I hated to seem rude, but I wanted to take my photos and he'd pose all day if I'd let him. The place was beautiful, even with the pollution creating a grey haze throughout the air. There were gardens, lakes, temples, and trees! We walked for hours, up steep hills and through beautiful buildings. Eventually we grew tired and decided to head back to the hotel.
I packed my suitcase and crawled into bed for a pre-flight nap. It's hard work being a tourist in such a short time frame! Back to Dubai we flew, on a dramatic flight filled with arguments and general unhappiness amongst many of the crew members. Meanwhile, I was back to my usual perky self. Just another day in the crazy life of crazy me.

Roadtrip to Oman!

Nov 12, 2010

I spend the majority of my days off in Dubai doing little more than lazing around my apartment and watching multiple episodes of TV series and chick flicks. On days when I'm feeling more ambitious, I'll venture to the shopping mall with my friends to wander aimlessly discussing our crazy life in this crazy desert.
When I received an email inviting me to go on a trip Oman for a day, I jumped at the opportunity. I was joined by my friend and blog buddy, Greta. I'd arrived back from Toronto the night before, and I was exhausted as I took a taxi to the city at 6 in the morning. Despite this, I was excited for an adventurous day as I boarded the bus.
Growing up in Canada it seemed hard to believe that in many parts of the world you can drive a couple of hours and be in another country. Yet, after 2 hours on the road we'd reached the border. We waited forever as our passports were stamped before we were finally on our way again.
The scenery was a drastic change from the flat endless desert of the U.A.E. Tall, rocky mountains soared into the sky as we drove alongside the beautiful turquoise waters of the sea. We winded around curvy roads until we finally reached the marina. 5 traditional dhow boats awaited us, and we eagerly climbed onboard. The sides were lined with comfy cushions and we picked a sunny spot to plop down on. We had a lovely crew of 2 Omani men who served us tea, coffee and fruit as soon as we'd made ourselves comfortable. We set sail, cruising between steep cliffs, taking in the incredible views. Everyone snapped photos in every direction. After a nice relaxing cruise, we reached Telegraph Island where we anchored and had the opportunity to go swimming. The water near the island was beautiful and clear, but where the boat sat it was dark and far too deep for my comfort. I was content on staying and sunbaking, but Greta persuaded me to swim to the island. I'm not a great swimmer and I was a little bit self conscious about being the only person wearing a bright orange life jacket. When 2 other girls donned them as well, I agreed to join them. We jumped (okay slowly and hesitantly climbed) into the warm water. As people on the boat made cruel jokes about sharks in the water, we grew a bit nervous. Greta, who was the only one not wearing a life jacket, stuck close by in case she needed to grab hold of me for flotation. As we got closer to the island the water became more clear and shallow. I could see coral below me and I briefly panicked, remembering how I'd been told that it's often sharp and painful if you touch it. I'm pathetic, I know, but in my defense I've lived far inland for the majority of my life and I'm still adjusting to the great big sea. Slowly but surely, we made it onto the island and walked the stairs to the top despite the painful small rocks that we stepped on with bare feet. Success! We'd made it! Glancing back, the boat didn't seem so far away. We stood at the top and posed for photos, since I'd brought my waterproof camera along for the swim. Some people snorkeled around the island as we swam back to the boat. Great timing! Lunch was being served up, and we were treated to a feast of yummy foods including curry, hummus, and fish that the captain had barbequed for us. I loaded up my plate, feeling a bit gluttonous but satisfied.
After a huge meal we were tired, and we relaxed as we continued cruising the waters. I was drifting in and out of sleep when I heard a whistle and somebody shout "Dolphin!" I bolted up with my camera in hand to catch a glimpse of a dolphin in the distance. I was giddy, having only seen them a few times in my life. The rest of the boats quickly caught up and we all looked around eagerly, but the dolphin was nowhere to be seen. All of a sudden everyone rushed to the front of the boat, having seen more dolphins. I tried to see but was blocked by a wall of people. They disappeared again and I retreated to my seat, sad that I'd missed out. Then, right in front of me I saw something in the water!! I took photos and happily stared in amazement as two dolphins swam beside the boat, jumping in the wake! We spent awhile speeding through the waters as they showed off in front of us. After they finally left, we all stood with grins on our faces as we flipped through our photos. What an awesome experience!!
We slowly made our way back as the sun began to set over the water. It had been a great day, but I was sleepy and ready to return to Dubai. I would have loved to have watched the sunset in the mountains, but I quickly fell asleep and woke up once we were at the border. As all things are in the Middle East, it was a slow process as we got our passports re-stamped and waited to be allowed back into the U.A.E. Eventually, we were on our way again.
I don't know if it was my extreme fatigue or if in fact the driver was going incredibly slow, but it seemed to take forever to get back to Dubai. I tried to sleep and listen to music, but I was bored and uncomfortable in my cramped seat. We finally made it back to headquarters, where I had to wait another 20 minutes before the bus to my building arrived. I could barely stay conscious, but I'd had a fun day and I was happy to have finally done something more productive with a day off!

My First Canadian Layover

Nov 11, 2010

I've been working in the skies for nearly a year now, and in that time my job has brought me to nearly 30 countries. I'd circled the globe and yet somehow, until last week, completely missed the one place that I'd been dying to visit. I was thrilled when I checked my roster and discovered that I'd finally scored a layover in Toronto. After months of bidding and attempting to swap flights, I was finally going back to Canada!
The flight to Toronto is notorious for being one of the worst, but I wasn't going to let that affect my mood. It was a long and often challenging 14 hour flight, but I stayed optimistic. I can honestly say that I probably drove both the crew and passengers to insanity as I chattered on about how excited I was to go to Canada and see my family and drink Tim Horton's coffee.
I landed with a huge smile on my face, not even phased when the Captain announced that it was only 3 degrees outside. On the way to the hotel I stared out the windows, getting excited at the sight of Canadian flags and familiar brand names. I was still over 1,000 miles from home, but I felt as if I was almost there. We arrived at our hotel, which happened to be super nice and in the heart of the city. One of the advantages to our airline being relatively unknown in North America is that we get to stay in great locations to serve as walking billboards. As the crew made plans for the weekend, I shouted "See you on Monday!" and retreated to my room. I wasted no time, quickly changing and heading downstairs. I was exhausted but there was no way I was going to waste my first night in Toronto by sleeping through it! I headed to the concierge and asked where I could find the nearest Tim Horton's. She laughed, realizing that I was just a homesick Canadian happy to be back in my country. In typical Canada fashion, there was a Timmy's right around the corner. In fact, there were probably at least 10 in the 5 block radius. Now, for those of you unfamiliar with the Tim Horton's phenomenon, let me try to enlighten you. Affectionately known as "Timmy's", it is a coffee shop known and loved by 99% of Canadians for reasons that even I can't explain. Personally I think Starbucks tastes better, but there is something so satisfying about Timmy's coffee. Perhaps they add some addictive substance. Maybe the fact that I'm overly patriotic makes me love it more, or maybe it reminds me of my boyfriend... after all, our first meeting was at a Tim Horton's in Red Deer. Whatever the case, I was ecstatic as I ordered a French Vanilla cappuccino and a turkey bacon club... with real bacon! I was picking up a wireless signal, so I stayed awhile, talking to Ryan. I'd really been hoping that he could make it to spend my layover with me, but the cost of flights combined with getting time off work made it a bit unrealistic. I was extremely sleep deprived and the caffeine hadn't hit me one bit. Throwing my healthy eating plan out the window for the weekend, I crossed the street and went to Starbucks to satisfy yet another craving that only North America can fix... Pumpkin spice latte! The cafe was in full Christmas mode and I sat blissfully sipping my festive latte.
Buzzed and happy, I headed back to my hotel room, where I spent a long time on the phone with Ryan... hooray for cheap phone calls! I'd finally reached the point of fighting to keep my eyes open, so I gave in and called it a night. I had a big day ahead of me and I needed to be well rested. My body missed the memo, and I woke up at 4 am even though I was still exhausted. Thanks, jet lag. After a couple hours of struggling to fall back asleep, I gave up. I showered, got ready, and headed out to grab another pumpkin spice latte to give me a much needed caffeine boost. I was meeting up with some of my family and I couldn't wait. My grandparents called to let me know that they were almost at the hotel, so I headed downstairs to meet them. Once they arrived I rushed to hug my grandma, who I hadn't seen since last December when she dropped me off at the airport to go to Dubai for the first time. She took photos and told me how great it was to see me, handing me a rose. I knew right away that it was from my sneaky boyfriend, and my suspicions were confirmed as I read the note attached. He'd asked my grandma to bring it to me. I was feeling like a pretty lucky girl as we drove off towards Hamilton.
I dropped off my bag in the familiar bedroom at my grandma's house and we hit the highway. We drove to Niagara, where we met up with some more family members... my uncle, his long-term love (they really should just get married, I like weddings!), and my younger cousin, Colton. We set out hiking down the beautiful trails at the Niagara gorge, down to the river. It was a beautiful autumn day and the sometimes steep climb back up kept me nice and warm despite the cool breeze. I took dozens of photos, commanding that my family stop and gather as I propped my camera on tree stumps and rocks for photos.
Once we'd made it back up, we got back into the car and drove into the city. I've been to Niagara Falls many times, but it doesn't make each visit any less exciting than the first. I could hear the rush of the falls as we walked towards massive crowds of tourists. I joined in, snapping my own photos. We stood for awhile, just standing at the amazing power of the rushing water. Once we were finally content that we'd taken enough photos, we headed inside to warm up, with yet another Tim Horton's coffee. Yes, I have an addiction and I'm not afraid to admit it. Our next stop was an outlet mall that I'd shopped at with my mom a few years back. I spent my meal allowance money on cozy sweaters and a super soft scarf that I just couldn't put down.
It had been a long day and we were all feeling quite hungry as we headed to a restaurant called "The Lake House", where we had reservations. It was a nice place right on the lake, and the food was amazing. I opted for grilled salmon... fresh, delicious, Canadian salmon! After we'd stuffed ourselves full, it was time for dessert! I could barely move, but that didn't stop me from sharing a bowl of gelato with my grandma.
After dinner we stopped at my uncle's house, to meet the baby of their family... Stella, an adorably playful boxer/bulldog cross. Lately I've had extreme puppy fever, wanting few things more than to have my very own cuddly fuzzy friend... this visit did not help. We stayed there for awhile chatting and catching up, until it was time to go back to my grandparent's house for the night. Jet lag combined with the fact that I'd been awake since 4 am made for one very tired Krysta. I said goodnight and quickly fell asleep, content with a great day.
The next morning I slept in, finally crawling out of bed and dragging myself to shower. I slowly got ready for the day, even doing my hair to look nice... a very rare event these days. I spent the afternoon visiting with my family, including my great-grandma, who hadn't made it to Niagara Falls the day prior. It was great to see her and to relax with everyone until it was time for dinner. My grandma had made a delicious roast and I could hardly wait for my first home cooked meal in months. I loaded up my plate, enjoying every bite. I nearly died of happiness when my grandma brought out dessert. Homemade pumpkin pie!!! Anyone who spoke to me last month probably was well aware of how upset I was about missing my favorite part of Thanksgiving dinner. I indulged in a delicious slice, and although I was full, I wanted more. I stopped myself until Colton went for seconds, which automatically justified that I should do the same. It was amazing, and for awhile I thought that perhaps they'd have to carry me back to my hotel room in Toronto. The evening was coming to an end as I said my goodbyes. It was back to the hotel for me, as I had to fly out the next day. I knew that I'd be back again in the not-so-distant future and that thought kept me from getting too upset.
I relaxed in my hotel room, chatting to Ryan before settling in for a nice, long sleep.
The next morning I woke up bright and early on a mission to shop. I headed towards Eaton Centre, realizing halfway there that it probably would be at least an hour until it was open. I killed time by grabbing a coffee and a muffin, patiently waiting for the shops to open. When they finally did, I frantically rushed from store to store, not even sure what I was looking for. Some stores played Christmas music, much to my delight. I spent a large chunk of cash at Bath & Body Works, loading up on yummy smelling soaps and multiple bottles of hand sanitizers in every scent imaginable. They come in handy with my job. I bought a few other essential Canadian amenities before returning to my hotel to catch a few hours of sleep before the long torturous trip back to Dubai.
I was feeling pretty miserable as I got ready for my flight. I contemplated faking sickness, or conveniently forgetting that the departure was that day. The thing about going home, is that you never want to leave. Fortunately, I had the thought of vacation only 2 weeks later to keep me optimistic.
I flew back to Dubai, sad to leave, but happy to have had such a great weekend. Perhaps my opinion is biased, but I think that I'm from one pretty darn amazing country!!

Running Errands in Dubai (The Most Frusturating of All Tasks)

Nov 2, 2010

Do you ever have one of those days where it feels like you can't seem to accomplish anything??
It seems to be the story of my life. Welcome to Dubai, where nobody ever seems to know what is going on and the vibrant multicultural mix of people leads to terrible communication barriers.
In the past couple of weeks I've been going about my usual business, trying to take care of errands on my increasingly rare days off in Dubai. In typical Dubai fashion, it seemed that every step forward brings me two steps back.
Take for example, moving. After 3 years here, my flatmate finally called it quits and headed back to her home country of South Africa. Naturally, I jumped at the opportunity to move into her much larger bedroom. One step ahead, I went to the accommodation department fully prepared, only to be told that I couldn't apply until she had handed in her keys. Fast forward a week, and she has moved out. My days off have all been weekends, thus I haven't had the chance to visit accommodations. Today I find out that the room has already been allocated to a new staff member. After 11 months of waiting, I'm out of luck despite my attempts to get ahead by applying early.
The departure of my flatmate led to another issue... the internet. It was under her name and we were assured that it would be simple to transfer the account over to my name. So I handed her over the fee and off she went. She returned to inform me that I had to be present. The next time that we both had a day off, we headed back, only to be told that we could not transfer the account, and that it would have to be cancelled and I'd have to apply for my own. This of course, cost a great deal more than what we'd originally been told, but when we complained the employee shrugged his shoulder and smiled. I wanted to hit him in the face for his stupid smirk, but I resisted knowing that it would solve nothing, and that I'm not strong enough to punch anybody. So we cancelled the internet, and I was forced to reapply... this of course, after I went to HR to obtain a letter from my company stating that they approved the installation, which of course took 2 working days to receive. After 3 torturous days of no internet (yes, I have a terrible addiction) a man finally showed up to install my very own account. Much to my shock (massive use of sarcasm) the modem that my flatmate and I had split the cost of only a few months prior was no longer working, and I had to pay for a new one. The old one was covered under warranty, but it was now void since we'd cancelled the account. I argued and expressed my great frustration with the company and their money stealing ways, but it was no use. Like the man at the store, he shrugged his shoulders and grinned. "Okay ma'am, no problem. I give you new modem, I will charge to your account!" I sighed, feeling defeated.
Finally back online, I took the opportunity to book my flights home for later on this month. I was so excited and it seemed all too easy. You guessed it... it was. A few days later I received an email informing me that my request had been rejected. Apparently for past year my first name has been listed as both my first and middle name, which explains why pursers often call "Krysta Marie" when going through the crew list. Until it is changed on the database, I can not book my flights. I have sent an email, we'll see how long it takes before somebody finds the energy to reply.
Brushing this minor setback aside, I met up with a friend to head to the uniform store to collect a winter jacket, as the temperatures are dropping in the majority of the places that I fly to.
After an hour and a half in the queue clutching my number, it was finally my turn. I happily proceeded to the counter where I informed the employee of my need for a jacket and he directed me to the fitting area to find the appropriate size. The man working by the fitting area seemed happy to help until I told him that I needed a jacket. "No, we don't have in your size" he answered, turning away to assist another customer. "Are you sure? Can I try one on?" I demanded, but he simply told me to go back to the counter and ask when I could expect more sizes to be in. Now feeling extremely irritated, I returned to the counter, explaining that I'd been waiting for nearly 2 hours and that I'd appreciate if he could tell me when to return. What did he do? Take a guess. Yes, you are absolutely correct. He shrugged his shoulders, and smiled. "Maybe come back next month ma'am. It's okay, just wear a cardigan!" to which I replied "No offense, but if you've ever been to Canada, which is where my next flight happens to be, you'd understand why I need a winter jacket. But thank you, for all of your help." "You're welcome!" he answered cheerfully, clearly not detecting the sarcasm in my statement. I returned home with nothing to show for my wasted afternoon.
This is all just a typical week in this lovely place that I call home. Eventually, everything gets done despite taking far longer and costing far more than originally anticipated. I promise, when I return to Canada I'll make the greatest effort to never complain about the speed of service when it takes 2 hours to apply for a passport, or 10 minutes to stand in line at the grocery store. When my Dubai days are long over, I'll remember those unfortunate souls still living in the city where every simple task is the equivalent to running a marathon.

Grant & Krysta's Adventures in Man-chesta

It was another early morning and I was off to Manchester yet again. It seems to be my most frequented destination lately, lowering my bank account balance and increasing the profits of Primark with each visit.
This time around I was flying with my good friend and batchmate, Grant. We spend a great deal of our days off in Dubai together, wandering aimlessly around massive shopping centers, talking about our flights, and going for lunch at Subway. Out of our entire batch, Grant and myself are the only 2 who have made the leap over to the A380. While we would have preferred a slightly more exciting destination, we were still happy to fly together and enjoy the company of a friend during the layover. It was business as usual onboard. We served up non-stop gin & tonics to a cabin full of thirsty passengers, landed, and went to the hotel.
Grant and I agreed to get changed and meet up to head to the city. A few others were waiting for the bus as well, so we agreed to all go together. Upon stepping outside into the bone chilling air, I wondered how on Earth I'll ever be capable of moving back to Canada. It was 8 degrees in rainy Manchester... about 40 degrees warmer than I could expect around December back home. The bus was warm, fortunately. We arrived at the train station, where I assured the others that we were in fact getting on the right train. They seemed to doubt my confidence, but in the end, I was right and we arrived in the city. Grant and I headed in our own direction while the rest made a beeline for Primark.
I'd spent the entire flight insisting that we go to Starbucks, so we headed to the first one and grabbed some hot chocolate to warm us up. We didn't really have a plan, so we did what we do best... browsed random shops and left most empty handed.
Grant practically had to drag me away from the beautiful Christmas displays in some shops, convincing me that I could not fit a 6 foot tall tree in my suitcase. Way to kill my festive spirit!
It was Halloween and contrary to Canada, there were few reminders aside from the odd intoxicated person in costume, a banana being my personal favorite. I longed for trick-or-treating and haunted houses.
In typical Sunday fashion, the shops began to close early in the evening, giving us few options aside from returning to the hotel. We were both practically sleepwalking and quite content with calling it an early night. After grabbing Subway (because why change a good thing?) and stocking up on more raspberries at the supermarket, we slowly made our way back to the train station and dragged ourselves wearily to our hotel rooms.
It had been an uneventful layover, but once in awhile those are necessary to catch up on sleep lost during the busy exciting layovers. I slept nearly 12 hours before getting up, getting ready, and returning to the sandpit.
Just another shift!

(On another note, I'd like to welcome Selina from Switzerland to Dubai!
She has just moved here to begin training to become a crazy cabin crew member like me. Welcome to the desert, and good luck with training!)