Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Week 3?: Trip to Dubai!

October 14th, 2010 (from hotel room in Dubai): Ann Taylor grey tee with flower detail, favorite denim skirt!

I couldn’t help but blog from the first class cabin of the KLM flight from Amsterdam to Dubai. Well, let’s just say I now know why they call this the Elite cabin. I have never traveled in such style. On my way to Amsterdam, I sat in a pod-like chair and shared a space with another “elite” passenger who was flying to South Africa. Not that he told me that himself, Elite passengers do not make conversation with each other and chatter each others’ ears off, unless they are business partners, and then they don’t stop talking…but no harm done as you are presented with a noise canceling headset, a quilted comforter, a down pillow, and an overnight travel kit with earplugs, an eye mask, toothbrush and toothpaste, fuzzy socks, face cream, and lip balm when you arrive at your spacious seat. As soon as you are settled, the flight attendant comes by with a selection of libations delicately balanced on a tray – I, of course, chose the champagne – you know, to help me sleep. Upon take-off, I immediately began trying out the 10 different positions that my leather bound chair offered and got nicely snuggled into my sky-high bed when just shortly after, the flight attendant came with the first of my 4 course in-flight meal. I certainly couldn’t turn down a meal, though I was not in the least bit hungry. I began munching on the warm nuts while steaming my face with the hot towel handed to me. You’ll be surprised to know that I showed some restraint and actually ordered a water instead of wine with my crab cake dinner. The meal itself wasn’t all that remarkable, except for the pumpkin bisque that came as the appetizer course. After eating only about 1/3 of my dinner, I declined the dessert tray – an assortment of cheeses, cheesecake, fruit, and pastries as I was stuffed and worried about my ability to sleep on an overly full stomach. While consuming my meal, however, I did decide to pull out my personal flat screen TV (lodged in an inconspicuous spot, which required me to discretely observe other passengers and how they pulled theirs out) and watch Toy Story 3, as I know it’s a movie I’m unlikely to get anyone to watch with me, except maybe my friend’s children or my niece or nephew. So, after dinner and finishing the film (which, I might add, was funny enough to require me to snicker as quietly as possible so as to not seem like a total geek), I reclined back into my sleeping pose and slept – actually slept – on the plane for 4 straight hours. This is completely unheard of for me, as 1) I have a hard time sleeping on even a Westin Heavenly bed, 2) my feet don’t touch the floor when seated in an airplane which ends up cutting my blood circulation off from my legs, and 3) just am overall completely uncomfortable on planes. But, in first class, it’s a different world. Something about the mild turbulence and drumming sound of the plane (drowned out just enough by my noise cancelling headphones) paired with all the accoutrements is just the right touch to conk me out – that and the glass of champagne that you enjoy while the coach passengers are kicking and biting each other to settle into their crammed little seats – do you sense an air of snobbery? Well, you should – because I think I have been ruined!

So, that was just my first leg to Dubai. I’m now sitting in first class on my second flight, enjoying a bowl of nuts. P-shah - they’re not warmed – probably because we have a 50 minute delay and the airplane oven isn’t fired up yet. That’s another thing, when the pilot announces a delay on the speakers, no one in first class groans or complains…not sure if it’s because everyone else is a seasoned traveler, are enjoying the benefits of being “elite” like me, or just don’t care after beginning the consumption of their second cocktail while reading a hand-delivered copy of their local newspaper. So, upon entering the KLM first class (now called business class) section, I am confronted with a lounge-like atmosphere with chairs spaciously spread apart. Kind of like being in an auditorium that dovetails into what would normally be the cockpit, but given that this is a larger plane, is on the floor underneath where the pilots sit. Again, after getting settled, I am presented with a colorful array of beverages and decide to go with the champagne mixed with Blue Curacao (clearly not fearing a blue mouth for the remainder of the flight). I don’t have the overnight kit (probably because this is a day flight), but still the nicer blankets and pillows, what appears to be noise canceling headsets, and my choice of a selection of international newspapers (I chose USA Today, sadly, because they don’t have the NY Times). I head into the restroom, as the Blue Curacao cocktail is starting to hit me, and see a display of antiperspirant, lotions, facial cleansers, and face lotion – niiiiiiiice!

So, knowing that this is supposed to be a blog about my fashion consciousness and the pains associated with not shopping, I must comment on the attire of my fellow elite passengers. They are, for the most part, metrosexual international men either in business suits, sports jackets (probably Armani or Prada) paired with designer jeans and crisp white shirts, or some form of Euro-sporty wear. They all have leather shoes that have a slight point at the top and, as the gentleman sitting next to me has demonstrated, even have some pretty fancy, high-flutin’ socks underneath those $400 Gucci leather loafers. Almost all of them have some form of a Rolex watch and appear to not be in the slightest bit amused by their affluent surroundings. So, here I am, in my denim skirt, Forever 21 white tee and cardigan, and silver thongs, looking probably in my 20’s (I am wearing Forever 21 mind you), and feverishly typing on my computer to capture this moment – but all the while, looking very industrious and playing the role of an international business traveler who must bang away at her keyboard, even while sipping (now) a glass of Sauvignon Blanc from the wine list presented to me by the flight attendant when she gave me my nuts. Gosh, life is hard…and to think that I didn’t want to come on this trip!! Once you go Business Class, you never go back (unless you’re me and flinch at the idea of paying the same amount for a plane ticket as I would for a high-end dining room table – but let me tell you, the extravagance is definitely something too hard to turn down!). The rest of the flight was splendid and was spent watching movies and drinking endless wine...definitely a great way to fly!

I arrived into the airport last night around 11pm Dubai time and didn't get to my hotel room until around midnight. I then spent some time returning emails and then my head hit the pillow around 1:30A - not to be confused with when I actually fell asleep (damn jetlag!). I awoke this morning in a bit of a daze, but nothing that a little coffee couldn't take care of. I ordered an exorbitantly priced room service breakfast (but really delicious), sipped my coffee, watched Aljazeera on my flat screen tv, and opened the curtains to see that I have a patio overlooking the man-made lake in front of this resort with a backdrop of beautiful skyscrapers - reminds me a bit of Vegas meets Miami. I'm getting ready to head out the door to meet up with one of my clients so we can travel to the indoor ski resort and get in a couple hours of skiing...should be fun! Stay tuned!

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