Friday, 31 August 2007

The Shanghai Stock Up

Despite feeling a bit under the weather I decided to brace up for the Shanghai trip. Back two mornings ago, worn out from the 8+ hour full flight of demanding/unreasonable passengers, e.g. "I want to see your senior... your boss... I want to complain, look at this! (pointing at his knees indicating the lack of good leg room)". Poor guy, perhaps he doesn't know that a premium class seat would've spared him of such mean torture.

Another couple was pretending they're in royal class, determined to give us crew a hard time. Not the least discreet verbalising their opinions of our "bad services", demanding water when I'm stuffing trays into the cart, not to mention they left their dirty trays right in front of the emergency exit (which is a total brainless act) so that their spaces seem prestine. They demanded Chammomile tea which, depending on schedule and passenger's profile we crew would gladly fetch from Business cabin.

My advise to the delusive couple: Wake up! You're just make-believing cheapskates sitting at one of the exits so you can stretch your stinky legs. Be thankful that you're served drinks and hot meals with a big smile from us despite your sour faces, offering you blankets and making sure you're entertained and taken care of, on top of having to save your sorry asses should an emergency arise because you would be freaking out or tripping over your own dirty trays on your way out to survival.

Having said this I am not indicating that the other economy passengers are cheapskates because they too paid for hefty flight tickets except they have realistic expectations. I travel on economy, and I let myself be surprised with what I get (over 500 channels? Woo hoo!). Mainly I am grateful that I can get from point A to point B safely and quite comfortably.

On a happier note, I enjoyed a very good layover, returning with a suitcase full of Chinese goodies, too.

The last time I went to Shanghai was in year 2000. It was in March, weather was still cold. This time round it's humid and warm, about 29 degree celcius. We managed to avoid the rain during our stay. Soon after checking in and a nice hot shower I dozed off in front of the tv. It's only 8pm but my body's telling me to recuperate. (Though I woke up at 2am, watched a movie I can't recall now, and fell asleep again at 6am).

At 8am I went out with Sarinluck (from Thailand, she lives in the same apartment back in Dubai) for local classic breakfast of century egg congee, soy milk and you-tiao. After surveying the area around our hotel a little we set off for the shuttle bus that takes us to the Science and Technology Museum. There underground around the metro station lies the new famous market - previously known as Xiang Yang Market. People come here mainly for the supposed 'grade AA' fake goods. Me and a few other crew we're just there for a look-see. I bought some nice Chinese tea, a Le Sportsac bag I hope is just an excess stock from the factory, and a set of paintings by a village folk themed the four seasons. The artist had won in a competition for this series and I'm sure the vivid colours would liven up my new bedroom.

The bigger haul happens when we later visit the Century Mart (next to our hotel in Pudong). We raided the aisles for traditional Chinese preserved/dried foods, noodles, beverages and other Asian snacks. Cheap and original, it was harvest. We had just enough of our allowance by the time we check out at the cashiers, and about 20kg cargo baggage on departure.

I'll try to visit the Bund next time I'm there. I miss the walk by the river.

Photos are here.

Thursday, 30 August 2007

Work Got Me Back in Singapore

Happy to have swapped one of my two Shanghai trips this month for a Singapore 48hr layover despite the exhausting flight hours via Colombo et al. But it's all worth it when the lush greenery greets me upon arrival. It's been 2 and a half months since leaving for Dubai and this is my first trip home.

I felt more welcomed when the aroma of hawker food strikes me. Without hesitation I ordered for an array of delights to eat at now Wendy's apartment, Royalville. I have been looking forward to seeing my cat, my friends and family and it's great to see everyone in good shape (only Elliot's out of it heh).

At the end of a fantastic layover the crew had to do a Jakarta turn then 24hr in Colombo. I was already feeling sleep deprived and unwell. This is not an easy feat and I found solace in Sri Lanka's... pineapple. They're lovely. Next time must tapaw.

Am definitely looking forward to return to Singapore as often as I can. Good thing there are over twenty flights to SG every week. Next time I'll try the Australian route though. Photos here.

Awesome August

August has been hot, averaging 42 degree celcius. Even hotter during the first 3 weeks as Andy was here, a good long transit between Doha and Singapore, also an extensive celebration of his birthday.

Though I had to work (Karachi and London) on the 3rd and 4th respectively, it didn't interfere with Andy's stay here - having found company among my friends and rented a car. I managed to swap my other London flight for off days so I could remain in Dubai until the 14th (the day Andy's supposed to fly off to Singapore) in the end he extended his stay, still here after I went to Paris and back :)

There was also a scheduled US visa interview and that means the folks from my training batches are all rostered off days together, and that means together we make merry, eat-drink-man-woman.

We binged. In between drinking, eating, shopping, we explored Dubai and even Sharjah in the small Daihatsu Sirion. Everyday, we discover big restaurants, small eateries, tasty alcoholic concoctions, huge mugs of coffee, driving on the opposite side, driving up and down the 6-lane Sheikh Zayed Road, traffic conditions in Dubai, a renewed passion for shopping (ooh... yes!), massive hypermarkets and malls you can get lost in, the beach, the architecture, the endless construction sites and even the neighbour emirate Sharjah - where we chanced upon the Eye of the Emirates ferris wheel!

While Andy was here we both felt really happy to be in Dubai. I've had moments of home-sickness before that's when I seek company of new friends or distractions (the malls are always a good place to start). It's good that my job allows me to travel and return home but I am aware that I have to 'like' Dubai somehow. I have legal residency here afterall.

This entry continues in my Picassa album: Dubai oh, Dubai. Captions accompanying photos.

Monday, 20 August 2007

I'm Coming Home!

Back from Doha this morning and am heading to Singapore next! I need to sleep more. Wouldn't want to waste time sleeping when I could be catching up with family and friends back home. But it is going to be a tough one seeing that this flight is via Colombo - more hours!

Can't wait to be back. This is the first time since coming to Dubai on the 1st of June.

BTW I have loads of pictures taken while Andy was here - for a total of 3 weeks - our activities and sights in Dubai. Stay tuned!

Quaint Courtyard in Paris

After many days off in Dubai I had a Paris flight. Didn't go to town at all just took a shuttle to a nearby mall and did some shopping with Kataraina (New Zealand), Jeremy (France) and our Pilot from Brazil. Pictured here Kat with her new Timberlake hat, and Jeremy showing off his stash of French pork he's bringing back to Dubai.

The company puts us up at a nice quaint Marriot away from crowd and traffic. There's a park nearby, and my ground floor room windows open to cool breeze and greenery. It's still summer in Paris but already 20 degrees at the highest. Oh well, weather's so irratic this part of the world anyway.

Rest of the time in Paris were spent sleeping and watching TV.

Friday, 17 August 2007

London Revisited

On the 4th of August I went to London. It's great weather, clear blue sky. In fact, I was so impressed with the clarity of weather I whipped out my camera the instance I opened the aircraft door.

I had the pleasure of working with a great crew on this flight - even Air was in it! We had only 24 hours layover so after a good night's rest and a Happy Meal we made our way to town via a shuttle bus and underground tubes. Since Air has never been to London she went on to do her necessary sightseeing. Thrilled to be back in London after so many years, I decided to visit Covent Garden seeing that there'll be a weekend market where I can possibly grab a quick bite. After a comforting bacon egg toast and a Ribena I wandered around the market, down the streets and eventually ended up in Leicester Square. Nostalgia! Except this time weather is really pleasant at about 28 degrees, breezy, the streets are dry (haha) and perhaps for this refreshing feel of London town I feel I like it more now.

Stopped at Green Park to have a walk around. Others like me are just having a good relaxing time. Ravishing every sunny moment they have, sprawled on the green green field without a care in the world.

Remembering the Guru said to me, I'll end up in London...

More London pictures here.