Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Day 1 – Let it begin... Part 2

So you count the little things, like not having your carry-on luggage (which is just 'slightly' overweight @ 2x the regular allowance) weighed by the airline staff. And you especially count the big breaks, like having the middle isle all to yourself on a newly born Emirates aircraft - with that new ‘car smell’! I have never slept better - they say the sound of the airplane engine through my earplugs (plugs are a must-have in case you cop a row of wailing babies) closely resembles the low hum-like noise I heard as a fetus in the womb! Scientific! All I know is... I slept like a baby!

The last way to maintain your SSOM is to be insanely kind to your fellow travelers... like the girl, with the French accent, that just asked me which wireless network I'm on - it happens when you’re using a Mac laptop, random people just walk up to you. You’re welcome for the plug Apple Inc! So, I open my computer’s wireless connection, show her which one to choose, and wish her all the best. She smiles, gives me a kiss on the cheek and goes on her way. Right, I maybe have embellished that just slightly.
I know what you are thinking, and no, a Mac computer will not instantly attract the opposite sex! That is just absurd! This blog is not turning into one of those over-the-top deodorant commercials. But now I have a girl with a German accent and a white PowerBook asking me about the airport network! Of course I’m going to help her email home and get someone to pick her up at Amsterdam Airport! That is just what fellow international travelers do - it’s a big community and everyone, well, most people, just get it. So, it’s not unusual to run around random airports, have a chat, or grab a beer with complete ‘strangers’ when you have a massive layover (more on how to survive that on next blog)... hospitality is the way of the traveling world!
So in summary, buy a Mac laptop, no, sorry, that’s not it... in summary... keeping a SSOM will ensure you have a brilliant journey... let’s be honest, it may even SAVE your trip! And it will guarantee that the other human beings running into, and around, you will have a bit of sunshine thrown their way.
Catch you on the flipside, d

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Day 1 – Let it begin... Part 1

When traveling on an international trip it is crucial to keep a 'sunshine state of mind' (SSOM) or else, let's be honest, your trip may be as enjoyable as getting your wisdom teeth removed by your worst enemy while listen to the Backstreet Boys on repeat... worst of it, you’ve just realized that the anesthesia has worn off, or you never had any because he, your enemy, drank all your whisky! – Basically, cruel and unusual punished!

SSOM is that zone, that sweet spot, when nothing can mess with your state of Zen, happy place, or inner peace... you are just floating on air. Keeping that big smile on your mug is the only way to ensure you don’t jump over the counter and belt the airline staff with your eticket (mind you I’m not normally prone to violence nor do I advocate it, maybe it’s time to watch ‘Gandhi’ again) when they tell you that you cannot go back and get the passport you just forgot at the check-in counter without going through security all over again and missing your flight. Instead, you smile sweetly, look lovingly into their eyes (it helps if the staff is a member of the opposite sex) or use the ‘puppy dog eye technique’ (PDET, don’t you just dig acronyms?), perhaps produce a tear and ask if there is anything, ANYTHING, they can do to help. In the next five minutes you will have your passport in hand, personally raced up to you by a lovely staff member, who now feels like top shelf whiskey for saving your day. Crises subverted, thank you SSOM!

Maintaining your SSOM takes work, I’m not going to lie to you, because after a 13-hour flight and arriving into Dubai @4:30am the last thing you might be tempted or prone to do is... smile or... laugh. Especially if you have passed on all the free alcohol on the plane in order to keep your body happily hydrated (which I cannot recommend strongly enough, they kill you with the free booze, it’s for rookies, just say ‘no’, get yourself a celebratory beer or wine when you land) and therefore, have no ‘liquid’ encouragement to alter that cranky mood of yours once you hit the tarmac. The fix is actually quite easy...

Laugh at anything and everything possible... like for example, the couple that just walked by you wearing matching, I kid you not, MATCHING travel outfits! Or the ‘automated’ paper dispenser in the toilet that spits out 1 cm of paper for every hand wave you give it. Or the couple coming down on two separate escalator but all-the-while holding hands in the middle, only to break their grip when they reach the bottom after running out of moving rubber railing - sure it’s romantic but when you’re single, well, you just get jaded by these little, ‘I’m going to throw up my lamb curry’, romantic PDAs.  By the way, go with the lamb over the chicken on Emirates, always, you won’t be sorry.