Tuesday, May 5, 2009

East by Northwest

With automobiles taken care of, I thought it time to discuss how we got around when not in the Fiat. First: the planes. Our flight to Amsterdam lasted just over eight hours. Up until this point, the longest we’d been on a plane was four hours. We knew this was going to be interesting. With the advice of Aubrey, we did our very best to sleep for as many of those eight hours as possible. However, this mission was impossible.

As you can imagine, it’s not easy to sleep on a plane. First, you’re sitting upright, not conducive or comfortable. Second, there’s the inevitable head-bob situation. Third, the movie selection was enticing. Fourth, the stewardesses. These lovely people would come around every hour on the hour, we’d wake up and they would ask us if we wanted water. By the fourth hour I was like really?! I don’t want any water! I’m very hydrated! I want to sleep! Please, for the love of Amsterdam, let me sleep! I was in the middle of a Tylenol PM coma so I was a bit groggy and maybe a little crabby. After fighting the good fight, I’d say we slept maybe three or four hours, interrupted of course.

The flight back was exactly the opposite. We had to stay awake. Although this was easier, by the eighth hour, we were still itching and wiggling to get out of the seat, off the plane and on American soil. We each watched four (different) movies on that flight and managed to keep our eyes open. However, the saga of the stewardesses continued. They were making their dinner rounds and with the choice of a vegetarian or chicken roll, they ran out of chicken just before our row. I like chicken, no offense to vegetables. About four hours later, they came around with the second offering of food. I can’t remember what this particular meal was, but I do remember they ran out of the good choice just before our row. Again. Seriously! If you ran out of something once, wouldn’t you try and at least switch the row that gets gypped the second time? Common sense would make you think so but apparently not.

Aside from the above, there were a few other oddities. For instance, flying out of Paris we, ironically, connected back in Amsterdam. Prior to security at Paris, we were told we’d have to check the bag that we had already carried on the first flight. After some verbal disagreement between airport staff and ourselves, we shuffled around the contents, added a few layers to our bodies (it’s okay – we were headed to Minnesota) and easily carried on the luggage. Once on the plane, we somehow ended up in the wrong row. After moving ahead a few feet, we found ourselves in row four, two rows back from the entire two rows of first class. With six people per row, that means 12 lucky people got to sit in the elusive first class. I had to giggle when they closed the magic curtains just after takeoff. This was an hour flight at best and they took the time to close the curtains for 12 whole people. Having never sat in first class, I can only assume those 12 people were doing sacred rituals or at the very least, taking shots of Tequila.

Overall, the flights weren’t terrible and I’m sure they could’ve been improved upon had we partook in the free wine, but we’ll label that a lesson learned for next time.

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