Reub's journey

02 August 2011

First class

Three weeks ago today I got off the plane in Barcelona, Spain, feeling the oddness that comes when you step into an airport in a country you have never visited.

A shift has occurred when you do that, and now you are in different territory. You look around, a little dazed, and wonder what are those funny little juices in the vending machines?

Airports themselves have an other-worldly feel, with thousands of people passing through this space with its artificial light and shops selling outrageously ugly handbags and jewelry. Luckily for us everything went smoothly on our trip to Spain and Germany, and we spent a minimum of time in airports that feel vaguely like enormous casinos.

There was a tight connection in Amsterdam on the way home, and a moment of fear as I gaped at the ticket agent while she ripped up my boarding pass and tossed it away, "You'll need different seats" she said. Oh. No.

But the new seats turned out to be in Business Elite class. That's right! Me, with a button missing on my shirt, my sweater grimy from its surprising amount of use in chilly Europe, and the socks which I belatedly realized were mismatched, that's me being offered cold champagne and warm towels. That's me in a gigantic plastic seat with its 16 different functions, including two types of back massage.

Coming into Portland: Mt St Helens and Mt Hood
Just before we landed, a flight attendant asked me if I had liked the wine with dinner, and I said that yeah it was good and I hadn't known that they made white wine in Bordeaux. Then she gave me a parcel: "There's a bottle here that is down one glass; I've re-corked it and wonder if you'd like to take it home?" Why, yes, thank you!  She must have known from my schlumpie appearance that I would be delighted to be offered a partial bottle of wine, and not think twice about accepting it.

When I got it home, I took it out of its bag and saw that she had wrapped it in a clean white cloth, and fashioned a bow out of plastic. First class.

OK, enough about air travel.  I have to look at my photos, all 944 of them.


  1. oh, the miss-matched socks made her think 'hobo' so she thought 'wino hobo'. :) ha!

    love the reflection shot of all the luggage carts. really great!

  2. What a wonderful post! Maybe I use your last photo for my desktop and send it to a few people who haven't seen the beauty of Oregon?

  3. Ha! Of course that thought did occur to me. :oD

  4. Snowbrush: Sure! Go ahead and use it. Seems like no matter what beautiful places I've visited, there is no place prettier than good ol' Oregon.

  5. I love to find new friends to follow through other friends in blogland. Hope you don't mind if I do! Saw you through Traveling Fish Shabby girl!

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  7. (stupid iPad wouldn't take my formatting a d deleted the word.).

    they weren't that mis-matched.

  8. OK, I must be tired. that one wasn't much better than the one I deleted what with the missing letter and the redundant period.

  9. oh man - you got to go to spain AND you got a free bottle of wine? what am i doing wrong, with my 11 hour car ride through indiana???? sigh. glad you're home safely - look forward to seeing/reading more about your trip!

  10. The very few times I have been given first class have always felt strange to me as well. I have felt underdressed...which is stupid, of course, But free well! Looking forward to your sharing some of the 900 plus photos. You took some great pictures just at the airport!

  11. Wow what a difference it makes to fly business class. I flew from SF to London biz class just once. Incredible.

    Airports DO feel like casinos - thanks for this insight. It is so true. Love the pics of the carts and their reflections.

    Looking forward to reading more about your journey. Welcome home.

  12. Wonderful photos, especially the mountains of Oregon, WOW!!

    Please tell me you guys were the only people i ever met who DIDN'T get mugged in Barcelona. That alone would make the trip extra special in my view!

    Hope you had fun, there's always a story of someone getting upgraded and yet it never includes me. Will it make you envious of those flying Biz in the future?!


  13. Linda: Hi there! Come back any time. Of course I don't mind being followed! I just dislike the "followers widget" itself.

    Ellen: Those socks are tricky. I didn't notice the mismatch until well into the trip! But in certain light one is quite blue and the other very brown.
    Do you find iPad awkward? I don't know too much about them, but they look cool.

    Slim: I know, right? The wine was over the top and I worry that I have now just used up any good karma that I may have accrued.

    Tabor: I felt lucky but foolishly under-dressed. You've bumped into 1st class more than once? Wow!

    Reya: I love to take photos of reflections, and when I do I usually think of you, the grand-master of reflections. Really.

    Saul: We didn't get mugged in Barcelona, despite the fact that we stayed right on La Rambla and walked dark alleys almost every night. Our cheap watches and lack of jewelry may have helped; there were lots more promising marks than the two of us.

    Or maybe I give off super negative vibes to thieves ever since the evening in Brazil when I punched a pickpocket. I'll never forget his shrill response as he reeled back: "FOO YOU!!!"

    Or maybe it's my magical invisible anti-theft cloak. Yeah, that's it.

  14. Now I'm jealous. I want to go somewhere. In first class.

  15. I love this post! And I can totally relate to the grimy sweater phenomenon. I was just thinking about how I'm going to smell when I leave Addis. Maybe I should arrange some laundry washing...

    you know who!

  16. ok that was so much fun to read! I don't think I would EVER be that lucky! We have volunteered to give up our seats and then been given a free flight 2 times, which was always to our advantage, because we didn't mind a delay for a free flight, but never have we been offered 1st class! kuddos!

  17. I looked at that photo of Mt. Hood and Mt. St. Helen's and before I read the caption I thought, Hey! I know that view! and I did - I see it every time I fly into Portland!

    Sounds like your trip was a good one. Had to laugh at "She must have known from my schlumpie appearance that I would be delighted to be offered a partial bottle of wine, and not think twice about accepting it."

    Raise that glass high and toast a thoughtful stewardess!

  18. Hi Kerry, it seems like it's been forever since I last visited your blog. I barely noticed that your socks were mismatched. How lucky that you were able to ride in business elite and who knew that you'd get a chair that massages? That is pretty darn cool. Love the photos you posted so far and can't wait to see the ones from Spain and Germany. Oh, and that wine looks devine in it's white cloth and plastic bow. :)

  19. Captain Dumbass: Your day will come, it will. You too will have grown kids and be magically switched into 1st class seats. Promise.

    Anonymous: I know who you are! Uh-huh. We are both in the Grimy Sweater Club, and bound for life.

    Linda: You know, I've never been able to switch flights and get a big freebie. Maybe that's next for me? I doubt the 1st class thing will ever happen again!

    Pauline: Damn straight: I did toast that sweet stewardess. I often wonder what happens to all of that wasted stuff & I'm glad to know there are employees out there who see to it that not everything gets dumped.

    JarieLyn: I was just thinking about you and wondering how things were going. Your sister?
    Massages in giant plastic chairs while flying at 35,000 feet are really swell.


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