All posts dated between November 2004 and June 2005 were imported to Keith’s Amusing Musings on January 21, 2006 from my previous travel blog. I decided to delete that blog and move all its content here which some readers may find disruptive considering Keith’s Amusing Musings did not come online until October 2005. The good news there will be only one blog, Keith’s Amusing Musings, going forward. Enjoy these older stories.
The subtitle of this entry is Pajamas and Macadamia Nuts in reference to this previous entry.
TB says I’m being too verbose so I will take steps toward brevity in this and future entries.
We arrived in Frankfurt from Paris at around 3PM, Saturday, Dec 4th, after an hour flight. Frankfurt & Paris are 9 hours ahead of Seattle. One thing we noticed about the Paris and Frankfurt airports was the relative ease in getting through customs and security. While they obviously had similar equipment & procuedures as other airports the process reminded us of the pre-9/11 U.S. procedures. For example, we didn’t have to remove our shoes and we didn’t have to remove our laptop from its bag. Also, the customs agents looked at our passports, looked at us, stamped the passports and pushed us along in about 30 seconds. Contrast that with our 2-hour trek through U.S. customs on our return trip from Amsterdam and the virtual strip-search in practice in most major U.S. airports today.
Our “second day of travel” started with a six-hour layover in Frankfurt in the Lufthansa First Class lounge. This lounge was fully-equipped like an upscale bar, restaurant & hotel all rolled into one. The picture to the left captures its modern décor. Shortly after our arrival to the lounge, we took showers in their fully-appointed private bathrooms which each had a separate shower and bath, robes, slippers and toiletries. After the refreshing shower we surfed the Internet using the lounge’s compliementary wi-fi service while snacking on smoked salmon, shrimp, fresh fruit and fresh olives. This was some of the freshest tasting food I have ever experienced especially the decadent desserts smothered in Belgian chocolate.
We boarded our Lufthansa flight to Jo’burg at around 9:30PM and headed to our first class seats on the upper-level of the Boeing 747 aircraft. We were very pleased that this flight had the same sleeper seats as the Lufthansa flight out of Detroit that was cancelled. None of our bags fit in the relatively small overhead storage and there was no underseat storage. The fear of being separated from our bags for the entire 10-hour flight was quickly allayed when one of the first class flight attendants said, “Don’t worry, we’ll take care of storing your bags. Just have a seat and make yourself comfortable.” This was a vastly different reaction than what we’ve received in economy class seating. We were handed our pajamas and our bags were whisked away to a storage closet near the galley.
To avoid jinxing this flight like the last Lufthansa flight, I decided to change into the pajama top while the remaining passengers boarded and the plane was prepared for departure. Immediately following, we were in our seats chomping on macadamia nuts and choosing our selections from the dinner menu. One “wow“ from this part of the trip was the 5 flight attendants dedicated to the 16 people traveling in first class. They were in constant motion: While one tended to beverage needs, another took meal requests, another helped get passengers physically settled with pillows, power converters, etc.
The plane departed on schedule and as we took to the air we looked at each other and smiled. Southern Africa had been beckoning for months and we were finally on our way.