Thursday, October 31, 2013

How the other half fly

Actually, it is probably more like the other 10 percent. I say 10 percent because there are like 200 seats in coach and about 20 in business or first class. So yes...10 percent sounds right for a lot of reasons; but I digress.

I have flown first class before; going from AZ to OH or NY. Don't get me wrong, it's nice, but nothing so outrageous that I would actually consider pay for a first class fare...ever!

Then we went to Europe first class. From Seattle to Amsterdam, we sat in Business Class on Delta. First off, Delta won my heart on a recent trip to OH when the gate agents were so kind it made my long day much better, followed by the flight attendant asking if I was old enough to sit in the exit row! Delta rocks in my book!
We walk in the cabin and are greeted with mimosas, which is always a quick way to my heart. Then hubby - who had been dreaming of a first class international flight since we went to the airlines - showed me how to recline my seat so I was lying comfortably flat. Oh Happy Day! 

Then the on-demand TV in my seat welcomed me to the aircraft. After the four-course of not-too-bad food, good drinks, and putting on my slippers, eye covers and ear plugs, I was ready to get our 30th Birthday Europe Trip underway!

We had the same deal on the way home, plus the AMAZING, UNREAL views when we flew over Greenland! Breathtaking!

So no, I don't think I can ever fly coach on a long flight again. A nine hour flight is bad enough, but if you are a nervous flyer who cannot sleep unless you are lying down, the 10 percent experience is pretty amazing. Delta, you may have ruined me for all other airlines!

Friday, October 18, 2013

Annnnd I'm BACK!

The last month or so has been a blur. I met my good friend in Portland, OR for a fun girls weekend. That was followed by the long-planned 30th birthday trip to Europe with hubby. I can't believe it is halfway through October. It sounds so old, but serious, where did the time go?

Portland was pretty fantastic. I had some long days that week so I was able to sneak out of work early on Friday and take a flight to the rainy city. Only problem was, the flights looked terrible! I've learned to chill (the f#$^) out when flying standby, but even hubby was stressing from whatever airport he was stuck in due to bad weather. It was my first time doing the ZED fare (paying a fee much less than a ticket to fly standby on another approved airline) but I was a fan! It was a direct, albeit very bumpy, two hour flight.

It is amazing how much I still freak out when I fly. My logical side wants to point and laugh, but the second the bumps start to get a little bit bigger, I go white-knuckle.

Anyway, there I am in rainy, friendly Portland! I found our amazing hotel (great location and I would seriously hire their interior designer if I had money) and one of my best friends who I hadn't seen since my wedding! After downing a bottle of champagne (I claim 2/3 of it) and talking so much we had to force ourselves to stop so we could actually have dinner before the restaurants closed.

After our long and amazing dinner at Andina (seriously amazing Tapas restaurant in the hip Pearl district) we both decided that if forced, we could happily move to Portland, OR.

Day two brought a few more fun things, and one not so fun. A slight, but lasting, champagne headache. Cruse you, Champagne! Our brunch at Mothers Bistro was equally awesome as our dinner the night before, but had one additional piece of awesome - our waiter. I was sure he was taking the (seriously, not joking) outrageously good press coffee intravenously he had so much energy and was just "on it" with everything. He didn't miss a beat; he was funny, cool, charming, energetic, knew everything, honest, etc. So when we ask, he tells us he is into this energy "thing" and I say "thing" like this because I can't remember or articulate what exactly it was, but I remember it triggered something in my brain. I realized what makes Portland so unique.

Now I only spent 1.5 days in Portland, but I am pretty sure I nailed one specific thing about Portland locals. They are are serious about their passions. It doesn't matter if it is press coffee (ya, that definitely got that right), natural energy, candles, furniture, beer, food, interior design, mass transit, or happily dealing with downpours, they know what it is that they care about (and it may not be mainstream) and they go all-in every time.

This is probably why Portland is so endearing. The food scene is nationally known, and rightfully so. But don't let it fool you. The rest of Portland is just as alert and focused as their chefs. They are working hard and making whatever it is they care about shine like a diamond.

On our last and fittingly perfect evening, we dined at Blue Hour, a highly-recommended spot from my NYC foodie brother. It did not disappoint. The food, atmosphere and staff were so warm, surprising and delightful that I wish I could go back without a flight.

Go to Portland; discover its wonderful people, and find out what this one-of-a-kind city can mean to you.

I will leave you with this lasting comment from a Saturday morning lady about my age...
As my friend and I were leaving brunch, my champagne headache still hanging on, two ladies were walking behind us when one said, "I didn't drink enough last night!," to which I leaned over to my friend and said "...said no one ever," followed by the girl catching our attention and saying the exact same thing to us and laughing...then we all four laughed about it. The two hungover ones (me and chatty Kathy behind us) and our two alert friends who wish we would snap out of it!