Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Potato chips and the Emergency Exit Row

My BFF, Shelby, worked a flight yesterday.  This vignette of stewardess life happened to her:

During boarding, a 20-something lady passenger came into the Shelby's galley, holding an unopened bag of potato chips.  She asked, "Do you have a pair of scissors that I can open this bag with?"

Shelby replied, "No, ma'am, we don't have scissors onboard."

The lady continued, "Do you have a knife?  I want to open this bag."

Shelby replied, "No ma'am.  I'm sorry, we don't have any knives onboard."

The lady walked backed to her seat with her unopened bag of potato chips.

A bit later, while taxiing out, the same lady rang her Call Light to ask if she could sit in the Emergency Exit Row.

Shelby replied, "No, ma'am.  That's a premium seat that people have paid extra to sit in."

But, what she thought was, "Wait!  If you can't open a bag of potato chips, how can I expect you to be able to open and lift a 40-pound door and help evacuate people?"

Jus' sayin'...


Wednesday, January 16, 2013

The Hazards of Commuting

Heading to Beijing today for some shopping and sight seeing with my bestie, Shelby. In the meantime, here is a Facebook post from a friend, Brian. As a former commuter, I can so see how this happens!

"One would think that after 21 years of flying for a living I would understand all the idiosyncrasies of commuting.


Today's plan to get home on my day off was PHX - LAS - MKE. We got to LAS early so I looked on the board and saw an earlier MKE flight right next door. I ran to the gate and asked her if I could still get on this flight to MKE and she said "sure!" I hopped on and grabbed a seat while they shut the door right behind me and pulled the jet bridge. Now comfortable in my seat with the whole row to myself and so happy that I would get home earlier, I heard the flight attendant say over the PA that flight time to Salt Lake City was going to be 1+15. I slowly sunk down into my not so comfortable seat anymore and realized these passengers just don't look like Milwaukee ones. As the flight attendant came near I told her how much of an idiot I was and she exclaimed "Ohh this IS going to MKE but with a stop in Salt Lake and Seattle"

I now will be spending my day off sitting in an aircraft for 11 hours and then my 2 hour drive home...

Moral of my story?

There is none... I'm just an idiot!"

Thanks, Brian!

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Pretty Joey?

Just had to show what a pretty grand baby Joey is...

...until you give him a lemon!


Christmas in London

Another Christmas Eve in London for me! This is the third year in a row I have gotten my Christmas Wish List from the Crew Desk. Wow. Just WOW! And, I flew with a friend, Julie, so that was great! We didn't do much--slept a little when we arrived, then walked all afternoon over Regent Street and the fully and festively decorated Oxford Street. Michelle, one of our flying partners had her cousin Jamie meet us and he hung out with us as we shopped amidst the hoards of Christmas Eve shoppers.

An alley of shops off Regent Street

These fresh hydrangeas and roses had glitter on them--much prettier in person, though!

This was a Marmite promotion where people uploaded their own picture online
and it was displayed for all the world to see!

A side window display at Selfridges

Jamie and his cousin Michelle

Julie and me

Bailey's, Sambuca and grenadine.  Sounds awful, tastes great!

I hope that 2013 brings good health and great travels to us all!


Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Seeing Costa Concordia

After a good night's sleep at the Hotel Alfiero, I woke up early to shower, pack and get ready for the day.   I stumbled into the bathroom and turned on the shower--the water barely trickled out.  I adjusted the knob.  And, adjusted the knob.  Over and over and over.  Nuthin'!  After a minute, the dribble of water dried up.  I tried the water in the sink--again, the drops of water just crawled.  Just waking up and checking her e-mail,  Casey had little pity for me, saying I should have washed my hair the night before.  Grrrrrrr!

I quickly dressed and went downstairs to the Front Desk of this 17-room, family-owned hotel to complain, only to find the reception area was locked off.  Apparently there isn't much need for water or a Front Desk Clerk in the town of Porto Santo Stefano at that early hour.  <sigh>

I managed to use the cold water trickling out of the sink to wash up and get going.  Just as I finished putting on my makeup, I could hear the water in the building turn on.  It was 0620.  (That's good intel for the next time I'm in town!)  I turned on the faucet with its' welcome blast of water, and could now brush my teeth with abandon!

Side note:  There is a sign posted on the door of the reception area telling guests to let the staff know if you plan on departing before 7 am.  It's in Italian.  We didn't translate it until we were leaving.  DOH!  Also, we wanted to store our suitcases at the hotel for our day trip over to Giglio--we left them in our rooms, with a note on them, as well as slipping a note under the door to the Front Desk.  When we got back, our belongings were untouched and had been safe there.

We walked a block over to the ferry's ticket office and bought our tickets to Giglio Island-about $13 each.  The ferry ride, which lasts an hour, would leave at 0730.

Flat Shelby having a cappuccino on the ferry.
The boat had a handful of working people on it--several firefighters, too.  We settled downstairs in a lounge, and bought a couple of cappuccinos in little plastic coffee cups.  The ride itself was a little wonky for me...the weather had been bad the last couple of days there, and the sea seemed angry.  The pitch and roll of the waves, combined with being down below, got to me a couple of times and I had to quickly divert my attention so as not to start getting seasick.  Ugh!

About halfway across, I could see a big white something in the water, in front of the island we were approaching.  I thought, "That can't be it--it's too big."  But, it was--the Costa Concordia, indignantly laying on her side.

One of the firefighters onboard.

Our pictures don't begin to show the massiveness of this ship.  Maybe this satellite image will:

Seeing the name made it all the more real.

What was once a trip to go see something cool and ohmygawd, suddenly became very real, very tragic and very sad.  Our excited morning had a heavy pall cast on it.  Making it even sadder was remembering that 32 people had died on that ship--with 2 of their bodies yet to be recovered.

As we got closer, we could see all the heavy equipment on, and surrounding the ship. Like an iceberg, 65% of the ship is underwater.  The ferry passed by the Concordia--less than 100 yards (90 meters) away--then turns left to dock in the tiny, picturesque seaport.

Casey and I exited the ferry and found a taxi.  Our driver said he would take us up to the cliff where we could get pictures and wait, then bring us back to the port for 15 Euros.  It took less than 5 minutes to get to the vista where we took these pictures.  The driver pulled over on the side of the tiny, two-lane road.

"Cinque minuti, per favore," Casey said to the driver, who nodded in agreement.  He would wait the 5 minutes we wanted to get pictures.  Grabbing our cameras out of our purses, we jumped out of the cab and began taking pictures.

Then, the driver drove off!  He left us standing there on the side of the deserted road, with only our cameras.  No purses, no passports, no credit cards, no cash...the only thing we had was our cameras and Casey's iPhone.

My heart skipped a beat (or two!) and for half a second, Casey and I just looked at each other.  Neither one of us freaked out, but on the inside, I started cussing up a storm! Almost immediately, Casey said, "I'm sure he just went to turn around.  He'll be right back." Sounded reasonable to me, and we started taking pictures again.

Of course, Shelby was with us!

Three long minutes later, the driver came back as Casey had predicted.  We hopped in the cab for the ride down the hill to the port.  We were back to the ferry before its' 9:00 am departure.  Not knowing the time needed to get the pictures would be so quick, we had planned to spend the morning in the tiny seaport and take the next ferry, which departed at 1 pm.  There wasn't much in the tiny town to hold our interest for another 4 hours, so I was grateful we were able to take that early ferry.
Leaving Giglio
Back over in Porto Santo Stefano, we looked for a pizzeria for lunch--and there weren't any! But, we did find a little sandwich joint with free wifi, and ate there while we waited for the bus to take us to the Orbetello train station.  I bought a ticket to Rome for me, and one for Casey to continue on to Naples, two hours further.

Once we arrived in Rome, it was time to say goodbye.  Casey was heading back to her husband and  Italian villa in Lago Patria.  I stayed the night at an airport hotel before flying out the next morning.

I hadn't seen my kidlet since August, and we had a great time!  The trip to Pisa was so much fun as was our adventure to Giglio.  Since she's is going to be living there for three years, I'm going to pull out a map of Italy and see where our next 3-day adventure will be.  Any ideas for us?


Sunday, December 9, 2012

Pisa with my kid!

My daughter, Casey and her Navy sailor husband, Matt, moved to Naples, Italy this past summer.  I have been out on a medical leave--I had foot surgery in August--and wanted to see her before I go back to work next week.

Until they found housing, Casey and Matt lived in temporary quarters at the Hotel Agora.  This hotel caters to the military community, and they loved the atmosphere the hotel provides.  Everyone staying there is military, and the hotel has many events for the families: grill night, prom night, men's night, etc. The hotel staff became family.

So, my first day there, I was so happy to meet some of the hotel staff.  We stopped by for a cappuccino to start the day.  Alessio was working in the restaurant--when I walked in with Casey and Matt, I heard a booming Italian-accented, "MA-ma!"  Alessio was walking from behind the bar as he said it, greeted me with the European two-kiss hello, and gave me a "welcome to Naples" hug.  Love him already!

After showing me the gigantic Auchon grocery store (you know how I love those!) and the mall, we picked up some lunch before Matt dropped us off at the Villa Litorno train station.   Casey and I had decided to go to Pisa to see the Leaning Tower and then to go to Giglio Island, to see the Costa Concordia-the cruise ship that struck rocks and sunk last January.

My BFF, Shelby and I have been talking about going to see this cruise ship ever since the accident occurred.  Her schedule and mine haven't really meshed this year, and she was just a little disappointed she wouldn't be able to go with us.

So, I took her with us anyway!  Say hello to Flat Shelby!

Shelby on the train!

It was a long train ride-two hours to Rome, then four hours to Pisa.

On the train window--does it mean "no drinking wine" or "no littering"?

We found our hotel very quickly and easily-the Hotel La Pace.  We loved this place.  Nothing fancy at all, but around $60 for a twin room, with breakfast and Internet.  It was clean, safe and comfortable--we loved it!  The staff was super friendly, and gave us directions to for the 20 minute walk to Pisa, as well as restaurant recommendations.  Pisa was very safe for us to walk around at night.

We walked up this street lined with shops and Christmas market stalls--and made plans to come back the next morning.

We found the Tower fairly easily and were just delighted with how pretty the white building looked against the black night.  I think we appreciated its' beauty more, having seen it first at night: it was stunning!

Of course, Shelby is addicted to the Internet and had to check
her e-mail and Facebook before going to bed!

Of course we posed for the goofy pictures

Doing a little shopping.

Shelby checking out the Pinocchio key chains-he's from that area, you know!

After a great day, it was back to the train station, where we headed to Orbetello and Porto Santo Stefano.

The view from our hotel in Porto Santo Stefano.

Shelby enjoyed the view as well!

We had a terrific dinner of grilled prawns and spaghetti at La Bussola, a block from the hotel.  Then we hunkered down for the night.  We had an early morning ferry to catch to get to Isola di Giglio and the Costa Concordia.