Shanghai I Love You Back (to Back)

“Back to back” in EK-speak means having two separate flight duties in a spam of two days or less. My back-to-back in March meant going to Shanghai for two days, coming back to my beloved Dubai for 40-odd hours and flying back to Shanghai again. Such is the daily life of all cabin crew my dear readers.

You can research all you want before going to China however nothing will ever really prepare you for what’s in store. Number one to be ready for : none (and I mean NONE) speaks or understands English. Number two: it’s an absolutely amazing place you will never want to leave. Out of my four days I got to spent in Shanghai it rained for a total of three and a half – and you already know how strongly I feel about rain, right? (for the newbies to this blog I wanna punch rain in the face every time I see it)- and yet it did not spoil the overall experience one bit.

My first flight to PVG was my first operational and I tried my very best not to mess up. I was so worked up that my adrenalin level went thru the roof. By the time we have landed our very full flight after seven hours of two service and countless call bells I should have been dead. But I wasn’t I was ready to turn around in my hotel room and go out to explore. That’s before I saw the room. The rumour is that the crew hotel in Shanghai is one of the best our company offers. And I’m quite inclined to believe it. It’s the Chinese hospitality combined with the Arabic love for luxury that does the trick I think. Just check out the room service I got :

The Bento Box

The Bento Box

After having spent couple of hours pressing all the possible buttons and going thru all the drawers in my room I decided to join the rest of the crew and go out for a couple of drinks. Which turned out to be Crazy Night in PVG Number One. I loved the night life- it reminded me of my student’s years in Prague rather than the very expensive looking and sometimes rather¬†pretentious going out style in the Middle East. In China pretty much everything goes.

The only presentable picture from Crazy NIght in PVG Number One

The only presentable picture from Crazy NIght in PVG Number One

I woke up the next day, counted all my financial losses and decided for a devil-may-care style shopping spree. O-M-G as my brothers would say. I felt like I have never really shopped before.I hugely recommend to put “Shopping in Shanghai” on your Bucket list and make bloody sure you do it before you die. Because it most definitely is an experience. It changes your life. Ok- maybe it does not quite change your life but it’s helluva fun! I turned out to be pretty damn good at haggling which is something I never knew about myself. I probably still wouldn’t have known have I not spent most of my money the night before. I was only left with a measly part of my allowance and there were simply to many awesome things to buy. So I went for it and haggled like I never did before. And it paid off.

My little trick was that when the seller just wasn’t having my price offer to start walking away. In 9 out of 10 cases they would start calling me back. If they did- I’d let them sizzle for a bit, then turn around and walk back. Then say ” ok- that was my best offer two minutes ago. Now I came back my best would be XX (an even lower number)”. They will roll up their eyes saying ” Ladiiieh – you too hard ladiiieh. No good bizzneeesss, no profiiiet”. And then accept my price. 9 out of 10 I’m telling you. Here is what I got for near to nothing:

Haggler's Paradise

Haggler’s Paradise

I spent the rest of this layover fussing over my shopping, stuffing my face with delicious room service, hanging out with my fellow crew and gymming. Perfection itself!

Crew Pyjama Tea Partea

Crew Pyjama Tea Partea

I couldn’t wait to go back to Shanghai as soon as we took off. My rest days in Dubai flew by (haha- see what I did there?:) and I was on the plane heading back to People’s Republic of No-Social-Media land before I even knew it. My plan this time around was to save all of my allowance for the shopping and enjoy even more time in the lovely gym/spa within the hotel. Well once again my plans proved to be a waste of time . I was in store for a Crazy Night in PVG Number Two- the one that would take an entire day to recover from! I made the effort to actually remember the name of the club we ended up in and it’s (*drumroll*) M2. That place was quite literally insane! Or just very Chinese. One of those two. They had their own “crew” of absolutely stunning dancers but wouldn’t let us take any pictures of them so you are just gonna have to take my word for it! The music was very eclectic and also very loud. I could still feel the drum beat in my ears back in hotel room.

Oh yeah.. .I'm back to the full fringe btw...

Oh yeah.. .I’m back to the full fringe btw…

I slept pretty much the whole of the next day and when I woke up from my coma (mind you I already had a huge sleep deficit coming from Dubai so I guess it just makes sense) I decided to finally venture outside and explore a bit more of Shanghai- it is a gorgeous city:

In answer to your question – no I did not go shopping the second time around. My entire allowance was spent once again on room service and even more room service. Well – that’s a lie. I’m actually left with quite a few yuens which I’m meaning to give Dolly (who is flying to PVG next month) with a detailed description of how to best use them …

Well that’s the story of Shanghai, my dears, hope you enjoyed reading it as much as I enjoyed living it. There will be many more such stories to come as I just received an update from my bezzie- The Roster- and he is sending me (among others) to Viet Nam, Kuala Lumpur, Mauritius (try not to be too jealous:) and Male next month.

Love y’all

x

G.

I guess they call this a “working holiday” …

Last week I was treated to a little surprise by my best friend of late – The Roster. Couple of “on reserve” days have changed to a few very uneventful stand-by evenings and a few days off and I was left with astonishing 7 days of sun and fun (and most importantly no work or college) in Dubai. Which in normal-life-terms would be my annual summer holiday…

I decided to use that time as an opportunity to explore a bit more of Dubai and go beyond my usual borders of the Sheik Zayed Road. The initial plan was to visit a place called The Miracle Gardens. Yet again tho – that plan did not take into account the very inconsistent competency of the Dubai taxi drivers. See – the success of every trip you make around here comes down to your cabbie. I had my fair share of scary rides (the driver has decided to drive me all the way to Abu Dhabi instead of Deira because he “liked me” as he put it), peculiar rides (taking a taxi every day at the same time going the same direction doesn’t mean you will end up paying the same fare- it can vary from 50%-200% of what you have paid the previous day), funny rides (driver singing along to what I assume must have been his favourite song ever) and believe it or not even completely normal rides (get in, pay, get out). The valuable lesson I have taken from all this is to always do your re-search in Google maps first, then take a picture of the screen (it’s no use to just remember the name of the street/area and try to spell it to the driver), grab a taxi, ask whether of not the driver knows the place you want to get to then a) if he does know re-confirm that by showing him the picture or b)if he doesn’t know then get out as fast a you can and don’t wait up until he calls his dispatcher to have a 30min long conversation and yet still manages to get lost and makes you pay half of the fare anyway. Yes indeed- taking a taxi in Dubai is an adventure on its own.

So anyway as I was saying I was trying to get to the Miracle Gardens, however my taxi driver has decided that today was not the day I was meant to see them and drove me around for good 40 minutes before announcing he doesn’t know where the place was and can’t seem be able to find it (he hasn’t used that many words but I got the gist anyway). As you know my dear readers I have been embracing a new way of life lately and trying to take it as it comes with all its ups and downs. Yet at this particular moment I have completely lost my cool for the first time in ages. I have considered a range of options from trashing the interior of the car to killing the driver but then opted for calmly asking him to stop the car immediately. I got out and screamed of the top of my head. Then got back in and asked him if he knew where Dubai Marina was. He said yes and I honestly didn’t care anymore if that was true or not and told him to take me there. Which -surprisingly- he did. Here is a picture to prove it :

Dubai Marina

Dubai Marina

A little bit disappointed about not having explored anything new I have chosen to get refreshed in the most exotic looking cafe in the Marina Bay. But that day was just not my lucky day I guess since this restaurant was clearly the winner of this year’s “Worst Product& Customer Service” contest. Upon asking what the Iranian tea tasted like I was told “it’s of course delicious m’am, it’s Iranian” which unfortunately wasn’t the kind of an answer I was after. When I tried to find out a bit more I got an eye roll and a sharp ” it tastes like tea m’am”. I probably should have left then but I decided to beat my bad luck and try to turn it around and stay. Plus I was a bit intrigued by this tea I have to say. It wasn’t delicious. It was alright. The Iranian ice cream wasn’t delicious either. It was edible and I’m being generous here.

The "delicious" Iranian tea

The “delicious” Iranian tea

The weird ice cream (you can choose what flavour you want by pouring a syrup over it)

The weird ice cream (you can choose what flavour you want by pouring a syrup over it)

I gave up on that day, went back home and watched countless episodes of  The Family Guy whilst eating dates stuffed with almonds. So I guess it turned out to be a great day after all!

I spent the next couple of days chilling out by the pool reading books and magazines on my amazing Christmas Kindle, working out in a new gym I found (more on that one later),eating fantastic food, hanging out with friends checking out all the Ladies Night’s offers around SZR, shopping and watching all four seasons of Misfits all over again. It was just the perfect “holiday” at work.

Of course one experience I shouldn’t forget to mention was Wild Wadi Water Park. That was Fun. With a capitol “F”. I come from a family that takes water parks and swimming in general very seriously so I couldn’t have missed out and not go when the opportunity arose. It was definitely an unforgettable day full of water, slides, stripes and fruit smoothies. Quite pricey tho so I don’t think I will be doing it anytime soon again (there is however another water park by the Palm Atlantis which I HAVE to go to so I will keep you posted).

So that was it. My “holiday” that wasn’t really a holiday but it sure felt like it! I have since been to China and am going back there again this weekend but that trip deserves a post on its own so just gimme a little time to put it together ūüôā

Lots of love

x

G.

The Dubai Life

I have been standing-by for almost 4 hours now. My guess is I’m not getting pulled out for a flight after all. Sitting around an airport lounge for that long- however hi-tech and comfortable it may be- can get quite boring but I have found the perfect way to keep myself occupied.

This video is full of things I love : good friends, amazing food, coffee and great weather. Check it out and let me know what you think !

x

G

Credits:

Music : “How it Ends” by DeVotchKa¬†

” One day baby” by Asaf Avidan

Starring (in order of appearance):

Jumeirah open beach

Sheik Zayed Road

Barasti Beach

The Pool Bar

Blue Marlin Ibiza

Burj Al Arab

Ryan

Holly

Salma

Batch 2194

Luida

Moudy

Mohammed

Millenium Airport hotel brunch

Frozen yoghurt and other delicious treats

Blazing hot sun

Burj Khalifa

The Dubai Fountains

 

 

 

The Redhead in the Red Hat

So far in March I have visited three different continents, watched a shooting star out of a cockpit window, saw my hometown from 30 thousand feet above and celebrated my name day. And it’s only the 8th…

Is anyone finding it hard to believe when I say I love my job?

AMS- DXB 04/03/2013

AMS- DXB 04/03/2013

My first rostered week has started off with an absolutely amazing flight to Amsterdam. I was a “Supy” on that flight meaning I was there to observe not to work and I was supposed to walk around asking lots of questions in order to learn all the on-job tricks. However I was too excited to be flying a real plane to just sit around and watch. I made myself useful and helped wherever I could. My fellow crew were too nice to tell me to f**k off and stop slowing the service down so I got a great opportunity to try everything out.

The flight was booked up to the top and customers kept us pretty busy all the way and it was only when we landed in Amsterdam that I realised last time I drunk or ate something was back in Dubai seven hours ago. I would have been up for about 18 hours straight- 10 of which I have spent running around the airport and the massive A380 cabin and my whole body was screaming for bed. Nonetheless I decided to pull thru it and get some food with the rest of the crew. I’m so glad I did -the Dutch beer was totally worth me falling asleep at the table whilst having dinner…

The flight back was a breeze compared to the previous day. With the cabin half empty and only one service round we had enough time to fool around and my colleagues finally got their chance to “christen” me. See -apparently there is a rule that says every Supy needs to be made fun of at least once during their first couple of flights otherwise they will never pass their probation. However us Supys we are not as stupid as we may look and we weren’t born yesterday either so I was very alert and ready for any tricks being played on me. And of course I got the usual ” Go and fetch the vacuum cleaner from the cockpit, please!”(there is no vacuum cleaner anywhere on any aircraft ever unless you bring it there my dear readers) and “Would you please take this to 13A?” (row 13 doesn’t exist neither on the Boeing nor the Airbus) and the most popular one ” Take this hair brush to this and that seat” (to a passenger who turns out to be bald). The one thing I wasn’t ready for came directly from the flight deck couple of hours after take off. I was told to drop anything I was doing and proceed to the cockpit immediately. Which is what I did replaying to myself all I’ve done and evaluating what has probably gone wrong. By the time I got to the front of the cabin I was pretty much convinced I have lost my job already. Thankfully I couldn’t have been more wrong. The reason why I was called was simply because the pilots have looked up my place of birth and realised we were passing it on the way to Dubai. So I got to see the place I grew up like I never did before. Very¬†spontaneously I decided to give my family a little wave imagining them looking up and waving back at me. The pilots have noticed that and joined me in my effort. And so there we were – the Captain,the First Officer and myself flying the flagship of one of the best airlines in the world waving a blowing kisses to the grounds of the Czech Republic. That’s when I thought I really must have the best job on Earth!

My second flight saw me going to Cairo, Egypt. A perfect chance to practice and improve my very limited Arabic. I reckon if I get two turnarounds a month I will be fluent by September. The beauty of doing a turnaround flight is in coming back to your own bed the same day. True – I had to get up at 4am and only got back around 9pm but still – I could say I have been to Africa and back in the meantime !

I’m very excited about tonight- got rostered my first Airport Stand by from 1am onwards. Meaning I could be having breakfast anywhere around the globe tomorrow morning. I’m hoping for a Full English in Manchester !

I will keep you posted x

 

G.

M.A.R.C.H- Month. of an Amazing. Roster.C(ouldn’t).(t)H(ink of anything else here)

My first ever roster has been published not so long ago and how could I not share it with all of you !?

Rosters are something that can change within a bling of an eye but I guess thats the beauty of being a part of the flying world. Everything moves and fluctuates at all times. Nonetheless this is my first one and the first ones are always the ones to be remembered however great or not they are. And mine is awesome by the way !

So here we go:

Amsterdam

Amsterdam 2010

Amsterdam 2010

Cairo 

Will be my first time in Egypt ever… can’t wait even for this little turnaround. It still counts as being in the country does it not?

Shanghai (twice)

I couldn’t actually believe it when I saw the three magical letters PVG flashing on my screen. Visiting Shanghai has been my dream ever since I can remember. And because when it rains it pours not only did I get PVG twice in one month I also got a 54 hour long layover there each time ! That’s almost three days! That is a helluva lot sightseeing and shopping don’t you think?

Bangkok

See you soon amazing Thai green curry !!!

See you soon amazing Thai green curry !!!

Hong Kong

HKG 2011

HKG 2011

Long Overdue

Oh hi there and top of the morning to y’all!

Is there anybody still out there? And reading? I have been giving this blog the silent treatment for far too long again however this period of irresponsible blogging is now officially over. As of yesterday morning my training to become a cabin crew has come to a very successful end and I’m free to do whatever I want with my free time again.

Last few weeks in the College were all about napkins, coasters and “what can I tempt you with”s. Yes – I’m indeed talking about the Service Training. As we were told about a million times the primal role of cabin crew is to ensure the safety of their¬†passengers however service is what makes the customers come back for more. Having done my research I wasn’t expecting much fun during this particular training but boy was I wrong! Trying to find my way around the pretend- galley, dealing with pretend-disruptive passengers, greeting the pretend-high valued customers. All of it just makes you wanna go and fly right now and right there. I just can’t wait to see how far/ close to reality all the procedures are…

Hot towel anyone?

Hot towel anyone?

I’m finding it very hard to describe the whole training experience in regards to the bonds one creates with people around them. The closest I have ever come was comparing it to a summer camp… Have you ever been to one? Then you may understand that very personal and intimate feeling that grows within the group as the “summer” progresses. The ups and downs everybody goes thru. The obstacles you have to all overcome as a group of friends and colleagues. The countdown to the final day when everyone goes back home and back to their normal lives and yet when it finally comes nobody wants to be the first one to leave and burst the magical bubble you have all been living in. That’s how it feels to complete the training knowing we are about to start flying to all four corners of the world and not seeing each other day and night ever again. Exciting yet sad at the same time…

On a happier note we have made the last days count for sure. The entire group of batches that joined on the 4th January has decided to learn a bit more about the Arabic culture and we booked a “safari tour” to the desert. Despite the name no animals were involved (or harmed) in the trip. I’m so glad we did that as it was a day full of fun, sand, craziness and great food. We got picked up by massive 7 seater 4×4 and Hummers, made a convoy of about 8 cars and first went dune bashing (aka driving over the dunes like crazy!) we stopped couple of times to take thousands of pictures and videos and then went to a “camp” where we munched on some lovely Arabic food and dates whilst smoking shishas and watching belly dancers.

I’m gonna miss your faces 2194 but as they say : “Where there is a will there is a way!”