Somehow every time I come back from a trip I have annoying airplane stories. For my flights to/from Maui I think the worst was the woman sitting directly behind us on our way to Maui who literally (I am not exaggerating in the least) talked for the entire flight. How the poor woman sitting next to her made it through the flight I will never know. Chris kept offering me his noise canceling headphones but I do not think I should have to block it all out. Rather I think that individuals need to have more self-awareness! Especially when you have a high-pitched voice.
I did tell Chris that he can NEVER tell me I talk too much. I do not think I could ever talk for that long!
The next story has nothing to do with my trip but was an article I read last week about a man on a Portland bound Jet Blue flight that was sleeping and woke up and began peeing on neighboring passengers and their belongings. What, what, what? What is wrong with people these days? What has happened to the art of traveling, the luxury, and the excitement? We no longer seem to care about what is happening around us.
I definitely think a lot before traveling these days. What will my TSA experience be like? What will my overall travel experience be like, and how will the other passengers around me act? A colleague of mine’s spouse is a flight attendant, and they share horrifying stories about the things that people do on airplanes. We need to elevate our travel experiences both for ourselves and those around us.
Shanghai has my heart. I cannot tell a fib. I am a bit smitten, but at the end of the day Portland is still my favorite. Every time we travel somewhere new we always compare it to Portland, and every single time Portland wins. While I am still smitten with PDX, that does not mean I cannot allow a bit of a few other cities into my heart. There are quite a few things I want to share about Shanghai, so I will split it into a few blogs over the course of the next few weeks. So, where should I start?
We walked. A LOT.
Crazy number of people in the street
Every day. In some ways it is like New York City in that there is a great subway system, buses, and cheap taxis, but somehow when it is nice out and warm enough why not walk? You find the great hidden gems in a city on foot. We found amazing food, funky shops, random neighborhoods, and loads, and loads, and LOADS of people. Our first day ended up being over their National Holiday, so the people that we saw were actually potentially from another part of China on vacation (of course I did not ask them, but that is what we were told). The photo below shows how many people are coming towards us as we cross a street. Hundreds at one time.
One of the things that stood out to me the most, is how genuinely nice everyone is to you. Of course maybe that is because you are a guest in their hotel, store, or restaurant, but hell I am a guest in hundreds of places a year in the United States and no one has ever treated me with such kindness. There is always a smile on their face (and maybe it is part of their job, but if it is they do not make it look painful). I found myself on the plane trip back saying: xie xie (said syeh-syeh) only to realize I was on my way back to the United States. Xie Xie is thank you in Mandarin. I got so used to saying it to everyone all the time, maybe because they have such an amazing service culture. The US could really learn something from their patience and poise.
Guy carries handbag
A few funny things. We often would see men carrying their spouse, partner, girlfriend, what-have-you’s purse/bag. You rarely see that in the states. Chris will ONLY do it when I am trying on clothes and do not want to leave my bag in the dressing room. Does that make men in Shanghai more carefree, egoless? Is there another word that describes it?
Mobile pet store?
This I guess is a mobile pet store? We saw bunnies, gerbils, a dog, and a few other animals. I did not want to stay long enough to find out, but it was a busy little portable pet store located on the outskirts of a park.
Open 25 hours?
There are other things that perplex me, like this shop that is open for 25 hours.
More to come in a future blog on my favorite food in Shanghai, taxis, and bathrooms (what is not to love about potty talk in a new city)?
I promised I would share stories of my trip to Shanghai, and I will – just not today. See my most recent memory of my trip is the airplane, and while I had a nice seat in business class, it was a bit ruined by the passengers around me. Let me explain.
I spent most of the flight shifting between readjusting the ear plugs and then putting the big headphones over them. When that did not remove the noise, I tried a movie and then some music at a pretty high volume. Why was I trying to tune out the noise? The man behind me cleared his throat, trying to clear the phlegm like clockwork every few minutes. After a great two weeks away, and extremely tired and exhausted — well, let’s just say I was more than slightly irritated. A few times I tried to turn in my seat to give him the evil eye in hopes that he would cut it out. I mean what do you say to someone you are going to spend the next 10 hours with: “Could you stop hocking loogies? The sound is horrendous.” I just was not sure how to politely do it. I even thought about getting the flight attendant involved, but what would she say? A few times I had to rewind: “Neighbors” (funny movie by the way) in order to hear what was said over the noise behind me.
Are people just clueless? I wondered if he knew he was doing it? I think the only worse sound I have encountered on an airplane is someone snoring. Hilarious, but quite annoying. On that flight I do remember the flight attendant waking the man up, I think someone complained. While I am on the topic of cluelessness, the state of the bathroom got increasingly worse over the flight. Why people think that it is okay to pee on the toilet seat and leave it is beyond me. See, I know we have all peed on the seat before. It is hard not to when you are in a shaking, moving aircraft and you are trying so hard for your pants not to touch anything, and you do not have much room to squat and make it in. However, if you do wind up peeing on the seat, WIPE IT OFF. How hard is it? Why should the flight attendant have to clean up after you?
Are we all slobs? You are in business class, have some class yourself. I am glad they give you the slippers to go to the bathroom so you do not have to put your shoes on each time. I loathe to think about the other passengers that I saw heading into the bathroom with only their socks. Gross. We are not savages. Stop being gross and clean up after yourself. While you are at it think of those around you–your fellow passengers and flight crew.
Apologies for the airplane rant, but hopefully we can all spread the word. Oh and to the guy that sat behind me for 11 hours, please go blow your nose.
I read an article yesterday about looking nice while traveling on an airplane, and my first thought was: “Hell No!” Apologies if you feel that it is kind to dress up for your fellow passengers. I think about the miles you sometimes have to walk to go from one terminal to the next, often running to catch a plane on a layover. I am amazed when I see women do so in five-inch heels. I can barely make it a few hours at an event while in 3 inch heels, I cannot imagine doing it while traveling. Next, you sit for hours. Whether at the airport waiting for your flight, and then to take off, during your flight, and often waiting on the runway once you have landed. Why, oh why should we be dressed up?
I for one feel like there is a happy medium. I want to be comfortable at all costs. Think about it. You are in a pressurized cabin, things contract and expand. All the more reason that I want to have an elastic waistband. The temperature goes hot and cold and you have no way to regulate it. I want breathable fabrics. Depending on the size of the plane your floor area might be freezing and the ceiling much hotter. I make sure to wear layers, and have a pair of socks, and a jacket if needed.
I think back to a recent TV show called: “Pan-Am” that truly showed and reminded us of the glamour associated with flying the friendly skies. This Boston Globe article brings that idea to life. Men in suits, women in their own form of suits. Dress codes. Can you imagine today if there was still a dress code to get on a plane? In some ways, maybe it is not such a bad idea (I know we have all seen a scary sight on a plane, even smelled some too), but if dress and style supersede comfort, than I would take comfort any day.
The Boston Globe article mentions how you dress is how you get treated. Yes, but remember we are not going into a five-star restaurant. An airplane is no longer a place to be seen. I am the girl with the flip-flops, and while I am not wearing my pajamas, I am wearing comfy tights. Should the conversation be more about hygiene than about clothing?
That just covers style, comfort, and clothing. What about the food?
There is one place in the world that I absolutely detest. There is no way around it if you want to fly the friendly skies:
Yuck is all I can think of to describe it. Over the weekend we flew down to Oakland to see my sister, brother-in-law, and of course my 6 month old niece. Usually the plane that goes between Portland and Oakland is a turbo prop. I do not mind the turbo prop, but often it gets chilly down by your feet. I have no idea why that type of aircraft is so dang cold, but it means that I try to make sure I am not wearing my beloved flip-flops when flying for fear of frost bite on my toes.
Alas, it means I usually wear running shoes when I know I will be flying in a turbo prop, but sucks when going through security. Why is it that the place in the airport that they make you take off your shoes is also the filthiest, most disgusting place seemingly in the airport (well maybe second to most bathrooms)? I am a bit strange, I would rather go barefoot then keep my socks on. There is something about walking across the floor in my socks and then putting my socks in my shoes and transferring sock filth to the inside of my shoes. I guess sort of like walking through dog poop and then putting your shoes on directly afterwards. For some reason, I would rather be barefoot, and then walk across the floor on my tippy toes, sit down, wipe any dirt, stray hairs, and whatever random gunk off my bare feet before putting my socks and shoes back on. Strange I know, but that is how my mind works.
Why is it that the place they make you take your shoes off never looks like it has been vacuumed or cleaned? I have seen Macy’s dressing rooms with cleaner floors and that is not saying much. They usually close security down for a few hours a night, you would think the last people on the shift could vacuum and mop. Or, they could send in a cleaning crew. Or do they clean it each night and us humans shed that much grossness in a day?
Who knows. I still dread taking my shoes off going through security. Who knows what the person before you left behind. I shudder thinking about it, breathe deep, and release the thought of it until my next trip.