Ab und zu Musik (und Wifi Pausen)

Have I ever mentioned I studied at a German high school? Well if I haven’t yet I have now. It was nothing fancy really – I went thru the same shitty adolescent traumas and had the very same complexes as any of you had. Only I did all of it in a foreign language.

It really explains a lot. For example why I struggle so much with geography – capitals in particular. I know most of them in German and many of them in English. However when it comes to having to name them in Czech I’m lost. The same goes for history. I can have a fairly long conversation about all kinds of religious bans of the 16th century but do not recognise any single treaty in my native language. Not that it has ever stopped me from enjoying my life but I’m just saying that my 15-year-old brother could be a better history teacher than I would ever be. And don’t even get me started on literature. I doubt you could have found a teenager who was better informed about Reiner Maria Rilke’s life than myself. I also knew “Die Loreley” by heart. In German. I don’t even think the native Germans know that…

I was pretty decent at speaking German. Never really reached the top of my class tho. That spot was occupied by one person only. Rudi. The guy we all hated because speaking German came so naturally to him. No wonder since he grew up in Germany… Where we (well me particularly) struggled with articles, syntax and cases he excelled and very humbly so. As I said – we all(me particularly) hated him. But high schools tend to last forever – especially the ones where you are not very popular. Mine lasted for about a decade. His for about a week. And in that decade the guy I hated so much, mainly because he was so popular and clever and annoyingly nice and modest about all of it,  became my best friend. Now 13 years,5 countries, one marriage on his side and countless more or less successful relationships on my side later – we still talk every day like nothing has changed. IMG_8370

Couple of weeks back during one of our discussions about the unbearable lightness of being out of the blue we decided to go skiing together. One of the best decisions I have made this year! It was all “planned” so quickly we didn’t really know where or for how long to go but we decided to just wing it. After all – the main point was to spend some time together !

So I got onto the first flight out of Dubai and flew right into my lovely sister’s warm embrace. She really is the best sis anyone could ever ask for! We never argue . Like NEVER ever. And even tho she is just 12 months and 2 weeks younger she always admires and praises everything I do and that gives me this amazing feeling of being old and wise and experienced and shit … and my ego just loves that! So I spent a few days in the best place on Earth= among my beloved ones and then packed my spanking new backpack (yes it took me whole 28 years but I now own a backpack!) and headed to the second best place on Earth – Moravia. If you don’t know where or what Moravia is then look it up. It’s the place where we brew the best beer, cook the best food and grow the best people with the widest smiles and biggest hearts. Full stop.

Nelly my beautiful soul-mate

Nelly my beautiful soul-mate

I boarded Rudi’s brand new Seat Ibiza and we embarked on what shall be remembered by generations to come as “The Most Musically Charged Road Trip Ever”. Like honestly. See for yourself(it would take me another day to change the format of all the vids -which I will eventually do but I just wanna publish this post now so if you wanna see all the crazy singalongs we got up to then visit my Instagram page). The only time we wouldn’t sing would be when we ate. Or talked. Which we did A LOT of. We haven’t seen each other for only a month but a) sometimes A LOT can happen within a month and b) I was under very strong painkillers last time we spoke and didn’t remember A LOT of what has been said back then. And so we headed south past Brno, past Vienna direction Salzburg and even further…

Backpack selfie

Backpack selfie

this pretty much set the mood of the entire trip

this pretty much set the mood of the entire trip

standard ...

standard …

when I said music I meant digital love...

when I said music I meant digital love…

There were only a few occasions when we didn’t sing, talk or eat. We called those occasions “WiFi Pause”. There seems to be free WiFi everywhere nowadays in Austria (well everywhere but in the apartment we had rented but let me get to that). And I need WiFi like I need the breathing air. Because I’m a cabin crew and WiFi is my only stable connection with everyone I want to stay connected with. Get over it. And spare me the ” social media addiction” talk. I know about that. C’mon let’s face it – we all have it. Even Rudi does . We didn’t need to tell each other about the WiFi availability. If one of us fell silent for more than it takes to take a breath the other one would know. And connect as well. Then eventually once we resurfaced from the depths of Facebook, Instagram and Whatsapp we would continue our journey. Until the next “WiFi Pause”.

The only time we stopped for other reason than WiFi was in Salzburg. The birthplace of Mozart. I have been once before ages ago with my dad and remembered it to be quite the beautiful place. And it still was. We walked down the ancient streets, stopping in the weirdest souvenir shops, taking heaps of pictures and eventually finding a small cafe that had it all – decaf coffee, Sacher Torte, WiFi and accessible electric plugs (my iPhone battery ran flat by then).

I love your duck(face)

I love your duck(face)

Salzburg

Salzburg

The world is your oys... egg

The world is your oys… egg

IMG_8069 IMG_8076

Next morning – as a courtesy of my US jetlag- I was up at such an indecent morning hour I felt ashamed of myself. I let Rudi sleep for exactly as long as it took me to braid my hair but then I was much too hungry and excited to be quiet any longer. We enjoyed our first and obviously amazing Austrian breakfast (I love Austria for many many MANY reasons but its food is always gonna be number one) and set off direction Kaprun and its glacier – Kitzsteinhorn! Everything went so smoothly we were up at the very top before 11 am. The weather conditions weren’t so great that day. It was cloudy, foggy and cold but I haven’t skied on a real snow for over 2 years and couldn’t care less. Towards the end of the afternoon the fog has lifted a bit and we finally saw a part of the glacier in all its might and glory. And what a view it was !IMG_8160 IMG_8252 IMG_8171 IMG_8179 IMG_8164 IMG_8190 IMG_8251 IMG_8208 IMG_8204

I insisted to stay till the very end and as we took the last lift up to the top we managed to be the first ones following a group of snow groomers. What a spectacular end to our day ! As we made our way back to the valley I was itching for some WiFi and couldn’t wait to share my feelings online tugged from the comfort of my bed. What a nasty surprise it was when I found out the only place I could connect (and very poorly so) was in the hall leaning against the front door. To make it even harder for me to swallow Rudi could – of course- connect from everywhere including the toilet. It was a dark place I found myself in believe me!

yes... I text a Lot... I geddit !

yes… I text a Lot… I geddit !

That's my WiFi Ecke !!

That’s my WiFi Ecke !!

I took my revenge on him when I woke him up at 6am the next day *insert evil laughter here*. We indulged in more Brotchen mit Nutella and made it to the pistes before 8.40. It was as if the Alps decided to make up for the previous day and reward us for our early start. If you ever wondered what “Das Kaiserwetter auf der Piste” looks like well have a look :IMG_8273 IMG_8281 IMG_8289 IMG_8321 IMG_8339 IMG_8357 IMG_8334 IMG_8294

Knackered but happy

Knackered but happy

Knackered but happy

Knackered but happy

ginger beard

ginger beard

Frozen

Frozen

IMG_8365

It was Rudi’s first time in the Alps and we couldn’t have asked for a better way to experience it. We had it all- bad weather, great weather, food, drinks, music, fun, apres ski… and WiFi.

I’m now back in Dubai, having flown in from Vienna last night. I still have a few days off before I start off my next roster by my first few turn arounds in ages. But better not think about those. I’m concentrating on the rest of the month which is about to be pretty awesome – I’m off to Bangkok next week, I will be visiting Canada for the first time and crossing off yet another one of my childhood dreams – seeing the Niagara Falls- from my list. That’s not all tho – The Gods of Rostering have been very generous indeed and very casually scheduled me a Prague flight later in March. And to wrap it all up I have a long and wonderful Oz and Nz trip right at the end. Life is a bliss if you ask me !

Love to all

x

G.

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Lost But Not Forgotten Vol II. -German F-Laying

So it’s official. I must be on the top of my Airline’s list of German speakers. At least one would think so by looking at my summer flying diary. Frankfurt. Zurich. Dusseldorf. Hamburg. And Frankfurt again… I know all of my German announcements backwards by now. As reserved and unimpressed as I was by frequent visits to Pretzel& Beerland to start with I have learned to really like them. I have started seeing them as my monthly grocery shopping trips. Honestly – living in the middle of a desert really teaches you to appreciate the beauty and taste of fresh produce and quality meat. Not to mention anything organic.

I don’t believe I have mentioned my first visit to Frankfurt yet – probably because there wasn’t much to talk about. The highlight of my layover there was (beside a 20-odd-hour sleep) making a friend behind the lobby bar in our crew hotel. I impressed him with my language skills and he impressed me with his knowledge of a good beer. And also with his cutting of my final bills to a ridiculous 10 %. We bid our farewells after an evening well spent chatting about life and love and I promised to look him up next time I was visiting. Little did I know that would happen in less than a month.

My second time around in FRA was much more exciting. Flight-wise, crew-wise, layover-wise. I was assigned a much better-timed flight which brought me to Germany fresh and ready to have some FUN. Yes- with a capital F and U and N. I happened to have flown with a few of the people in my crew before and knew them to NOT be the ones to skip on a party and even the rest has turned out to be just the right kind of people you wanna have around when you feel like a couple of bruskies. To my surprise my friend behind the lobby bar was working that night too! What a great reunion ! I decided on the spot to leave my sensible self locked in the heavy duty suitcase and let my party self loose. To cut a long story short – I ended up closing the bar that night. And boy what a night that was ! It wouldn’t be far from the truth saying that the only people flying to Dubai without a hangover the next day were the passengers.

Couple of weeks later I found myself Germany-bound once again. This time to Hamburg. I was just in the middle of my no-drinking no-junk-food-eating working-out-a-lot phase and Hamburg has turned out to be just the place! The hotel was situated right next to a beautiful lake surrounded by a park that just invites you for a run. And I never turn down an invitation this tempting. It was a brisk late summer morning and I and half of the Hamburg population decided to go jogging. Honestly I must have met about 200 people running my usual 5k. But I didn’t mind. The lake park (as I like to call it) was obviously designed with sport enthusiasts in mind. Or by one. Or both. It even had little workout stops where one could stretch and do work on the rock-hard (hahaha) abs:

Don't Twerk- Work out !

Don’t Twerk- Work out !
IMG_3680

Hamburg in general strikes me as a very health-concious place. They have massive stores with organic products, organic cafes on every corner and plenty of fair trade shops. I have enjoyed my time there so much that upon leaving I couldn’t remember for the hell of it – WHY exactly did I NOT want to come ? I’m definitely gonna try and go back – this time to have a proper browse in all the cool little boutiques I have only managed to see from the outside so far…

Sing-a-pour

Just before my flight to Singapore I found myself in a very unhinged state of mind and wishing I was anywhere else BUT in Dubai. I was literally itching to take off on that big jet plane and land as far as it can get me.

I desperately needed a change of scenery and oh my – what a change it was! Singapore is the more mature, more cultured and more beautiful older sister that Dubai is trying to imitate. Everything is so clean, organised and well thought thru. And also very expensive. It is a truly remarkable city.

The thing that strikes you as as the first and the most obvious one is how very cosmopolitan Singapore is. Not just the airport (naturally) but the streets and bars and restaurants are full of people from all around, the city is buzzing with different nationalities and languages. And to my great relief – everybody understands and speaks English. Even an old man tending to his little street cart selling water.

I was told that Singapore is all about food. To me Singapore was all about cars. And by cars I mean supercars. I’m now quite used to seeing Bentleys and Ferraris on daily basis since I live in the part of the world where Porsche is the new Ford Focus… still in my beloved Sandpit supercars feel very… well.. superficial. Yet admiring a Rolls Royce driving past me in Singapore I felt like the car was made for Singapore. It was so perfectly in sync with its environment- it belonged there, the street complimented the car and the other way around. And as I continued walking I saw it also worked for Astons and BMW’s and Mercedes. Singapore is by far the most luxurious place I have seen. I walked in circles for miles and miles alongside the roads admiring those four-wheeled beauties and occasionally raising my eyes above the street level to snap pictures of the wonderful architecture and luscious greenery that surrounded everything.

The night we arrived I followed some of my crew colleagues to The Marina Bay Sands Hotel because as it turned out that night was a ladies night in Singapore and apparently ” one has to go out when in Singapore on a ladies night”. So I did.  The club I was led to was called Ku De Ta and it’s located right next to the famous infinity pool on the top of he hotel. We were partying in style that was far beyond either of our financial situations but at least we were provided with an absolutely stunning view of the entire city. That was- arguably- for free…IMG_2340 IMG_2333 I admit it with pride – I was the party pooper that night. I went I saw and I left. That’s pretty much my night out in Singapore all summed up. Well not quite – I did have a drink or two and little dance before I sneaked out to avoid having to explain my early departure.

The next day I woke up relatively early and set off in a quest to find the botanical gardens I saw from above the night before. That’s when I got side-tracked car spotting. Couple of hours and bubble teas later I remembered my mission and regained the general direction towards the gardens. It has proven to be a task far more difficult than it looked – the heat and especially the almost 100% humidity were taking their tool on me. When I finally reached the gardens I couldn’t be less bothered about it. I was drenched in my own sweat, tired and dehydrated. I was starting to turn into a very unhappy Gremlin. That’s when you – my dear readers- saved me from myself. I thought “this layover is so far not even worth posting about, c’mon suck it up !”, bought a bottle a water of the earlier-mentioned old man and took an hour long tour thru the gardens. It was beautiful and I’m very glad I did that but I was also very glad when I finally reached my hotel room and crashed out. I love Asia and I love what its humidity does to my hair volume – but man it also drains the heck out of me !

I came back home to Dubai refreshed but happy to feel the dry desert heat on my skin again… Sometimes you have to leave to fully appreciate what you are leaving behind.

Love

x

G.

What to expect when you’re expecting…

Life is full of surprises. Like for example when you’re expecting to be turning around Islamabad and instead find yourself sat and waiting in the airport stand-by lounge. Or when you see one of your best friends entering the very same lounge and get excited about spending the next 4 hours catching up with her but she gets pulled out for a flight the moment she signs in… Well such is life.

Standing-by is fun. It all starts with the packing part. I got allocated one of the busiest reserve slots there is. The early morning hours at the HQ resemble peak time traffic in any major city. Flights are departing and arriving to and from all the corners of the world. Meaning I could be headed anywhere in the next 5 mins. So when packing up I had to think big. My suitcase that’s usually neatly prepared in advance and carefully thought thru looks like a psychedelic 60′ themed party. The OCD me had to look away and pretend it wasn’t there…

This Islamabad turnaround was supposed to be my first flight of the month followed by a layover in Beijing- which I was super happy about. Going back to China and especially being given the opportunity to fulfil one of my childhood dreams and see the Great Wall was more than I could have wished for in June. However with my unexpected roster change I could as well be going nowhere near the Far East in the next couple of weeks. See – if I do get pulled out of this comfortable haven for a duty longer than 12 hours I will not have enough time to “legally” rest before my Beijing flight and will be taken of it. Which doesn’t make me all that unhappy either since that would be mean I could possibly spend the entire weekend in Dubai, which has not happened for quite a while. I could go for a brunch for example. Or to a gig I really wanted to see. Or just generally chill out. I told you – standing by is fun when you look at this way!

Talking about rosters I realise I haven’t updated you on my flying schedule for the upcoming days. Well – unless there will be more changes such as the one that has happened to me tonight I should be practising my German skills quite a bit in June since I have two weeks full of German and Swiss destinations. I will also be exploring the chewing gum free streets of Singapore and visiting my beloved Sri-Lanka again.

The lady managing tonight’s crew on reserve just received a call and looked my way. Wish me luck! Exciting times !!

Talk to you later from wherever my life takes me !

Lots of love

x

G.

Liebst du Liebster?

Ever heard of the Liebster Award ? No neither have I… I guess I’m not such a social media addict as I claim to be (after all I only joined Twitter last night believe it or not. See I’m a woman of many words and simply cannot deal with being anyhow limited. I still remember how painful it used to be back in the days when a single text costed about £1 and had 160 characters including spacing (!) AndThenUEndUpHavingToDoThisToSaveSMSpaceAndEvnThsNInDEndNthgMadeSenseNMore…).

Remember this?

Remember this?

But anyway back to The Liebster Award. So basically a Liebster Award nomination is something you receive from a fellow blogger and last night I got very luck and received mine from a travel/foodie blogger par excellence Pinay Flying High. I’m honoured. And flattered. And a bit full of myself. As you do… See before I was a blogger (yes there was a life before blogging) I was a blog-reader and quite a ferocious one too. And Noemi’s blog was my favourite one. Then I got myself a blog and started “following” her. And then she started “following” me (and yes-I do realise how weird this makes me sound). And now I got this nomination thing from her. It’s all very unreal and strangely satisfying in a way. So Noemi or Pinay- whatever you prefer to be called in this amazing virtual world of bloggers- this is my very clumsy way of saying Salamat/ Thank you/ Dekuju !

Since we live in an arguably civilised society that just loves rules and laws for absolutely everything (recently I found out there are rules to what I’m allowed to wear on my way to the gym but more on that later), there are of course rules and laws to accepting the Liebster Nomination. And since I’m a law abiding rule obsessed blogger I’m gonna follow them :

Rule 1

You do not talk about the Fight club. Oops sorry- different set of rules. Right so the first rule says I should share 11 random facts about myself and my life. You guys ready for this? Here we go :

1. I think orange is a hideous colour on anything that’s not a piece of fruit

2. My goal in life is to become filthy rich and drive an Aston Martin to work, then a Lambo in the evenings and a Ferrari as a Sunday car. Feel free to call me a material girl.

3. I’m fluent in 4 languages (Czech, English, German and Italian) and trying to improve on my 5th one (Swedish) as we speak. In 5  years I’d like to be able to add Spanish and Arabic to the list. Some people collect stamps. I collect words.

4. If I could go back in time I’d tell the 21-year-old myself not to drink that huge bottle of gin in one sitting because it did make me sick as a dog and spoiled GT for me for the rest of my life (I went thru a phase of not being able to even smell gin without being physically sick afterwards).

5. I was the best man at my best friend’s wedding and his future mother-in-law has introduced herself to me during the ceremony  and very discreetly whispered into my ear : “So did you two used to be lovers or something ?”

6. I love opera. My favourite one is La Traviatta closely followed by La Boheme. 

7. I’m fascinated by long train journeys and cruise ships. One of the items on my Bucket List include taking the Orient Express and the Glacier Express. And when I retire the first thing I’m doing is booking a cruise on Nile.

8. I only regretted leaving uni twice. First time was when I couldn’t renew my student’s discount card. Second when I had to pay taxes on my earnings. Now I live in tax-free Dubai and hold a Face card. Life is perfect. 

9. I choose to study Philosophy at uni. If you go back to point 2 and point 8 you may figure out why I never graduated. 

10. I’m a huge fan of grand gestures and dramatic scenes. Hence point 6.

11. Not everything I say is always totally true. I think people call it “white lies”.

Rule 2

Now I have to answer questions that were given to me.

“Do you believe in luck?”

  • I believe in feeling lucky. Believing in luck is an extension of believing that good things will happen to you if you want them to – which I do. So yes- I believe in good luck. 

“If you could go anywhere in the world right now, where would you go and what would you eat?”

  • I’d go to a tiny little valley located in the Northeast of the Czech Rep., knock on the door of one of the many places I call home right now and eat my mum’s amazing potato dumpling filled with bacon and sour kraut. 

“The world is going to end in 10 seconds, who will you call and what 5 words will you say to them?”

  • Crew scheduling. Won’t make it to work.

“Where did you spend you best vacation?”

  • Every vaca is the best vaca!

“You have 1 million US dollars and have only 24 hours to spend it, what will you buy?”

  • The cheapest tropical island I can find.

“If happiness was the national currency, what kind of work would make you rich?”

  • If happiness was a currency I’m already a billionaire!

“What do you wish you spent more time doing five years ago?”

  • Working out and looking after/out for myself.

“How old would you be if you didn’t know how old you are?”

  • As old as the man I’m feeling? Is that how the saying goes?:)

“What’s something you know you do differently than most people?”

  • Think. Not that other people don’t think. I just do it differently.

“If you had to move to a country besides the one you currently live in, where would you move and why?”

  • I’m ok here for now thank you.

“Why did you not choose the Philippines on the question before this?”

  • Well maybe I will next time I get asked.

Rule 3

Create the next 11 questions for your own nominees.

  1. What/Who has inspired you to blog in the first place?
  2. The wildest thing you have NOT done?
  3. Can you keep a secret?
  4. Why not?
  5. What’s your favourite fairy tale and why?
  6. If you could be anyone else who would you choose to be?
  7. Cats or dogs?
  8. What the hell has happened to”How I met your mother”?
  9. The first song you have ever purchased on your ITunes?
  10. What’s the meaning of life?
  11. The one single thing you love about yourself and would never change?

Rule 4

Pick your nominees. Mine are *drumroll please* :

Fly Guy

Tamsyn

Krysta

Greta

Rule 5

Let your nominees know (check) and thank the person who has nominated you (check).

 

Also- liebt ihr Liebster? Ich liebe euch!

x

G.

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.

S.E.P – is So ovEr peePs!

Yes – at last the post I couldn’t wait to publish! The first and most intensive part of the process of getting my wings is finally over! I have been proven wrong in thinking that there is a limit to the amount of information one can obtain in 13 days. There is no limit. At least not where aviation is involved. I have learned many things in the last two and a half weeks but the most valuable lesson I got is that staying focused and trying your hardest is the key to overcoming virtually anything.

The 2194

The 2194

 

These guys are my batch. We have been praised by our trainers for our cheerful team spirit and great co-operation. Apparently none of the previous batches got on so well and performed as consistently as we did. We are a very colourful mix of nationalities and personalties. That seems to be the main intention of the Airline- for us all to get to know other religious and cultural backgrounds whilst working together towards the same goal. You never see more than 2 people from the same country in one batch. We are from all over the place- Oz, Europe, Africa, Middle East… throughout SEP we have been encouraged to mingle as much as we can, sit at a different table with different people every day and gain as much information about each other as we could. I have to say I found it a bit patronising at first but couldn’t be more grateful in the end.

Talking to strangers is something that comes quite naturally to me however I do have a very mean habit of judging way too quickly. Unless prompted to do otherwise I would have probably “picked” my favourites right at the start of the course and not bother to get to know anyone else closer. And that would have been a great loss as I made some truly amazing friends !

 

Where is Wally?

Where is Wally?

 

x

G.

Where are you from?

Working for a international airline you can pride yourself on being a part of a truly multicultural team. The Cabin Crew of “my” Airline alone is said to speak more than 120 different languages! Meaning if you ever board an EK flight you shouldn’t have to worry about having troubles making yourself understood. If not a native speaker someone who CAN speak the same language is always at hand.

Which might not be a matter of great importance if we were just talking about a simple “Gin&Tonic” scenario (pretty much international if you ask me) but just imagine sitting next to a person experiencing some nasty digestive problems and desperately wanting to change a seat midflight. Aren’t you going to appreciate that the pretty caucasian trolley dolley is able to translate your request into Mandarin?

See – it’s not just about the pretty face.

 Coming from a country that’s the size and shape of a swollen foot and speaks a language that scored number 9 in “10 world’s most difficult languages to learn” I always felt that being multilingual is a must (unless I want to speak to Czechs only for the rest on my life as nobody else can be bothered learning such a complicated set of grammar rules). And moving to Prague from the middle of Czech rural nowhere has only proved me right. You won’t take two steps from your front door without a tourist asking for directions. Which btw – being my nice village-y myself- I would always give:)

The same goes for all the evenings spent in pubs scattered around the Old Town or lectures buzzing with exchange students from all world’s corners.

And I loved it ! “Where are you from ?” very soon became the most used opening line of my conversations. Here I was – my tiny boring self – meeting people from literally ALL OVER THE GLOBE! I was absolutely ecstatic every time I came across a new nationality – trying to find out as much as possible about their country and food and men and fashion and culture  and just generally everything until that particular person got bored and moved on . And whenever I was asked back I would proudly reply- ” I’m from around here. I’m Czech”. Coz you see being Czech actually means something in the Czech republic. Especially to expats. It means they know someone who can speak to their landlords, someone who asks for the right kind of beer, someone who knows the right way around things.  Plus it kinda means you are also kinda cool – you know with Prague being so cool and being in the Czech and you being Czech and all that. You know what I mean 🙂

 So anyway- that’s how I spent my uni years – asking people “Where are they from?” and answering the same with a smile and my head raised high. That ever changing has never even crossed my mind.

Until I moved to the UK.

See – people here don’t use “Where are you from?” as a way to find to out where you come from. Thinking about it they don’t even use that phrase as a question.

In the British dictionary a hostile “Where are you from?” has replaced any form of answer to everyday queries such as “Excuse me, could we get the bill please?” or “Have I missed the last train?” or “Are you in the queue?”

For some reason the nation that’s known for being polite,reserved and well behaved finds it ok to completely disregard whatever it is you are asking them and automatically go into “Offence mode” whenever they hear a foreign accent.

When I first moved here I saw no problem in answering to that 20 times a day and then consequently explaining WHY did I move here and that NO I’m not here to steal anyone’s job or a boyfriend or to get free benefits- and being made feel like an idiot for doing it.

After a couple of years of living here the frequency of FAQ (effing annoying question) has gradually ceased. Maybe I finally got the hang of the English language to an extend that makes people listen to what I have to say instead of how I say it. However I still do come across the occasional douche who thinks it’s so clever to point out that “I am not around here am I”- usually in a room full of people after a speech or a joke I have just made. I make a point of never ever talking to that person again.

Maybe that’s too drastic but you see if you drank coke all day everyday(and I am not even a big coke fan) then eventually you would feel sick just hearing the fizz.

I would like to point out this is not a dig at Britain. I love Britain. I like Britons with their little Queen, their weird weather and their strong believe that a cuppa is a cure for every discomfort.

I guess the point I’m trying to make is that I can’t wait to be a Cabin Crew. To be appreciated for speaking a few different languages even with an accent. Because I’m hoping that once I have helped someone to explain to their neighbour that they should please put their smelly shoes back on I won’t be looked at angrily and asked “Where are you from”? 

So to wrap it all up my dear readers:

Where are you all from ?

x

G.