Saturday, July 7, 2012


Flying Standby is one of the most unpleasant things I can think of. It is stress incarnate. Distilled stress. Stress in a bottle: and then that bottle is poured out over ones naked body as you wait exposed and uncomfortable hoping that it’ll pay off! Standby, in case you dont know, is a way of flying, usually used by the families of airline employees. You can fly technically for free (though now its not free... just greatly reduced price) but you have to wait and see if there is room in order to get on. Well... the flight im waiting to get on is overbooked (they sold more tickets than they technically have seats for in “coach” class). And there is only one per day. And there is no other option aside from a flight leaving at the same time but from Shanghai. So it would be pointless to consider. If I miss this flight ~ i’ll have to wait 24 hours. If im very fortunate, i’ll be upgraded to business class or maybe even magical FIRST class :D and enjoy one of the best flights possible to mankind. You’re really tossing the dice on this sort of thing. I am anxious, but at the same time not. There is a sort of dull pressure and unpleasantness on my head and in my stomach that comes with this sort of thing. But at the same time ~ i’ve seen crazy things happen in traveling, and I’ve seen that at least MOST things happen for a reason. And I won’t know what that reason is until later. Maybe a lot later. Or maybe I won’t know at all. --- Lo and behold though~ regardless of how colossal and impossible it may have seemed (and there was part of me that just ‘-.- -. . .--’ i was boned) I managed to get on the flight. ANd I was one of the last two people on the plane. And I got first class ~ on a 12 hour flight. ohhhhh the money shots. i’ll show you later via pictures and graphic description just how glorious it is. It makes sense now ~ why people pay so much for it. If you’re just traveling from origin to destination... no it doesn’t make sense. But if you want to feel like the world is your oyster and that you are like the supreme commander of the world!!! then international first class is something that is hard to replicate ~ even in a mountain top hotel (though Timberline definitely wins hands down) Imagine this ~ do try: An area usually taken up by 6 seats dedicated to your own lay-down district that my dad calls a ‘pod.’ (PS he has only recently started enjoying the wonders of international first class {the only reason he’s had to indulge was to come see me... and to go home after .. -./ ... - -.-- .-.. .}) You have 3 windows. A swiveling chair that could fit an obese kiwi like it was a throne. And complimentary access to unlimited wine, spirits, food, and the generally awesome conversation of my particular flights wonderful flight attendants. There are three that have been regularly attending my area. Ms. Linda has been fawning on my like the queen she is. The first thing out of her mouth as she offers me a drink (champaign, orange juice, or... something thick that im not quite sure... some sort of smoothie maybe) is: Would you like a drink for being the best dressed person on the flight? Its not very often that we see someone as well dressed as you on this flight (and she’s one of the queens of first class ~ WTF??! whats wrong with these people in first class?) All I could do was smile wide and do my (ohhh you DO go on) laugh. I should get into extortion. I’m not meant for the business world... so i’ll just have to make sure that I leverage the business people im involved with in the right way so that I can get this sort of lavish pampering more often. Let it flow like pearls before swine!!!! Ms. Linda came back around another time (there are only 16 seats in 1st class) and offered me some sort of delicious pastry or other ~ and told me: How am I so blessed to have someone as well dressed as yourself on this flight? Look around ~ theres a girl over there in a sweatsuit that maybe fit 2 years ago, and then they go and put on those damn pajamas and take their underwear off! (first class has pajamas provided complimentary... along with slippers, an amenity kit, Bose headphones and a full set of bedclothes... sheets, mat topper, douvet etc. in addition to all the stuff i’ve already mentioned food and booze wise {God bless the booze}). SOOOOo I told myself... im not putting on the pajamas. I want to stay in this wonderful woman’s (these wonderful women’s) good graces. And as of this moment ~ im going back and forth between my three beverages ~ all of which are endless: Coffee, Wine, Water. And then the lavatory.... I feel like royalty - even though the only bit of silk on me is my glorious and evidently eye-catching english schoolboy tie. .-.-.- I got a ticket! I was the 4th non-rev (a category of traveler that is on the standby list) and last... to get a ticket. And I was told to hurry up. Naturally I bolt as fast as I can manage in slippery couture boots. customs was hectic and there was a train... and crazy ass chinese people. And then a herd of Koreans that I recognized immediately because they were all ajossis and ajummas and they were all in their bubblegum colours of outdoor hiking type clothing, but with curled, dyed-black hair, and waaaaaaay too much fake whitening going on. And then there were the anger issues. there was like a 70 year old woman that just raged in the cage on an ajossi (older man) in their entourage. she gave him a vicious kick and punch all in the space of 0.5 seconds. And people wonder why i’ve become all racist. \ Ajumma’s are legitimately scarY! and then the X-ray was taking FOREVER!!! and I was like... good LORD! I have a ticket for first class on a 12 hour flight. What kind of horrid nightmare would it be to miss the flight because of mitigating circumstances??!?? Pizdiets as my russian speaking friends would say. But one of the gate agents came to the x-ray and asked us if we were on the American Airlines flight to Chicago ~ and two of us were... and she told us to hurry up b/c everyone was waiting for us. (Its not my fault dangit!!! PLEASE WAAAAAIIIIITTTT!!) So finally we dash through the safety mark! DASH TO THE GATE!!!! And the wonderful gate agent who gave me the ticket said, “Peter!!! WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN!? HURRY UP!” No joking. So they snatched up and tore my ticket stub all lickety quick and then shooed me onto the ramp. I dashed down the gang-plank and they said “TURN LEFT!” And so I did ~ I got to ‘turn left,’ And I was (am) as royalty. .- -. -../ ../ -.. --- -. -/ -.. . ... . .-. ...- ./ .. - (which is morse code for ‘and I dont deserve it’ for those of you who are not Duri... or HAM radio operators...) ---------------- And I am reminded at this time of revelation and reveling... of one of the many lessons I’ve learned from my sister. Even though at the time we really really didn’t get along. If you don’t try new ways of life, new tastes, new experiences of whichever sort ~ you don’t really know the scope of whats out there. And if we dont get a sample of what is out there ~ then how can we go about expanding that spectrum, and add to it in other ways? Thats part of why its important to try new foods that you originally sneer at. I tried lox on this flight already~ I didn’t even know what that was. And seeing as how I don’t have the internet, I decided to put it into my Chinese dictionary. WHY?! Because when things are translated into chinese they usually have a more literal translation that explains what they are. shoot ~ i didn’t even know what insulin was until I had to look it up in my chinese dictionary to explain it to some chinese friends. Evidently its a hormone or something secreted from the ‘isles’ of something in the pancreas. How about that? there are isles in the pancreas. Sounds like an adventure in science ~ someone get the Magic School bus on that please. ANYHOW! Lox is translated as smoked something or other fish ( which as it ends up... lox is a brined salmon which is then somewhat smoked. Quite nice. Especially when its served with capers and diced red onions and a mini bagel with loads of cream cheese and a lemon wedge. Get OUT my way. It changed my mind on the potential that Airline food can achieve.) and then the champaign! So anyway, im just really enjoying the basking in this...ness. And im going to continue doing so for the next like 8 hours XD .-.-.- I know it sounded like I was bitching and moaning in the above portion about waiting for standbye. Because I was... Yes im enjoying myself immensely. But also think of the nightmare that would have awaited if I hadn’t made the flight? ALL Things considered~ the Beijing airport is a pretty good place to be trapped for 24+ hours. They have rooms that you can rent out to shower or sleep in. ~ not sure what the rates are... but when despair sets in... thers a lot of things that would just be “worth it.” Am I right? I’d like to go to Morocco. Just sayin’ Oh but back to the point. 24 hours... on 2-3 hours of snatchy sleep (5-15 minutes snatches each while waking up to make sure your shit isn’t getting stolen.) Is a horrible thing. The hunger. The feeling dirty from traveling. The knowledge that you still have another 12 hours of flight before you even get back to your country... where you’ll have to hope to get on yet ANOTHER flight... its all a bit much you know. But there was a mixture of peace and anxiety within me because i’ve seen this before. Not just standbye ~ but the critical scanarios. The situations where it seems like your stranded on a desert island... or could be. And you may be ~ But who knows what the rum-runners left behind? Who knows what sort of sea-turtles you’ll meet? And so with great apprehension I have flown standby. I suppose its a lifestyle really. (though frankly i’d much rather to just have a blessed ticket and not worry about the whole goosy nonsense of losing a few months of my life and risking a stroke on account of some sodding travel. Seek out the rum-runners and turtles in your spare time dangit!)