“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 :
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.
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:
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!
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.
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.