Monday, December 21, 2009

Saturday, December 19, 2009


One positive from the earlier flight (reference Royal Air Maroc: Airplane Restrooms) was that I saw how the flight attendants "fix" the bathroom lock from the outside to make it look occupied for take-off and landing.

Now I can repeat said 'fix' and....make one restroom my own personal restroom for a flight. Like Jerry remarks about George's personal workplace restroom in Seinfeld...'Xanadu'!


Also, I had no idea....but when flying from Canada, US Customs gets done BEFORE the flight! There is an American Section at the Montreal airport!! Like Guantanamo in Cuba,...okay...bad example. You experienced travelers probably knew this already, but I found this to be go through security and customs in Montreal and arrive at Gate C, Terminal 1 in Chicago instead of at Terminal 5, Gate M and take a train over.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Airplane Restrooms

When I boarded the Royal Air Maroc flight from Casablanca to Montreal, I had already unleashed a horde of obscenities after spending 5 grueling hours with them the day before.

When I checked in, I asked for an exit row, because of my height. The ticket agent gladly obliged, ripping up my old ticket, and telling me I was in an exit row on an aisle.

When I arrived on the plane, my seat instead was against the exit row, with a barely reclining chair, a safety vest beneath the seat in front of me, and a restroom directly to my right. Add crying babies, no movies, a call button being pressed over and over again unanswered by the crew, and a flummoxed attendant who mentions that only one ear bud is SUPPOSED to work for the in-flight music. Thankfully, the music available is not appealing, so I don’t feel like I’m missing out too much.

Back to the restroom….

I was faced with several people who are unfamiliar with ‘locking’ the bathroom door, the door remaining ‘unoccupied’ to outside observers and therefore being opened mid-business. Each time, I was the face the user saw when the door opened…instead of the person actually opening the door.

So many people were confused at how to open the restroom door that I was asked repeatedly during the flight to help people open the door. Mid-flight I took out a hand towel, meticulously placed it folded over my forearm, took out the life-savers from my backpack and started assisting passengers in their restroom experience. Thankfully, Royal Air Maroc already provides some of the amenities expected from a high-class restroom: tissues and fine-smelling lotion. A few guesses as to nationality: ‘Bonjour’, ‘Allo’, etc. to make the experience ‘warm and inviting’ and I am the proud owner of 15 Moroccan Dinars.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009


I returned Sunday late, from a week in Berlin. I flew to Berlin to meet a lady. :-)

In January, my good friend Liz introduced me to Lisa via e-mail. She mentioned, in her e-mail, a few facts about each of us and why she thought we would enjoy each other's company. Liz met Lisa at the Missionary of Charity homes in Kolkata when they both were volunteering.

Since January, Lisa and I have been e-mailing, video Skyping, and sending notes and letters to each other. We wanted to see 'where' this could go.

During the week, we saw Checkpoint Charlie, a museum dedicated to freedom and the escape attempts from East Berlin, the Reichstag, the Berlin Wall, rode a Ferris wheel, and took a bus tour of Berlin. We also cooked dinners for each other, and attended 3 outdoor Christmas markets drinking gluhwein.

Like usual, I was not very good about carrying my camera everywhere. However, from these pictures, you can see how beautiful the architecture is in Berlin. Berlin is a an international city with a famous arts scene.

Things went extremely well during the week. And I look forward to wherever this new relationship takes us. :-)

For a picture of Lisa, see my FB profile pic.

East Berlin's TV Tower

Train Station at Alexanderplatz

Spiral ramp looking down from the top of the Reichstag

An inside look at Alexanderplatz Station