If anyone out there reads any of my posts, you may have noticed there was nothing new this past Sunday. Well, I was on some well deserved vacation time with my husband, exploring the wonders and natural beauty of the island of Oahu, in Hawaii.
It certainly is a long journey from Mexico City to Honolulu International Airport, not to mention the five hour time difference which has me still suffering the effects of jet lag. Still, I would gladly go back anytime. There’s just this balance between a relaxed atmosphere and the perks of living in a city, with activity all around while having a clear blue ocean on one side and impressive mountains on the other. Even driving there was less stressful than how I usually feel when driving in the U.S.
So I got to spend some time on airplanes and there were certain things I experienced that inspired this week’s blog. As some of you know, I am Mexican, and I live in Mexico City. And I know you are supposed to be all yei my country and its people but there is nothing more embarrassing than flying on a plane full of Mexicans on their way back to Mexico. If you compare the attitude Mexicans have when flying from Mexico to the U.S. you see we all follow the rules: we stay seated until the fastened seat belt sign has been turned off, we wait our turn when they call our groups for boarding, hell, we even sit down fast when boarding.
Now, this doesn’t happen when it is the other way around. You can tell a flight is leaving any city in the U.S to Mexico because they haven’t even called a group, and we are already all gathered around the gate, not bothering to pay attention if it is our turn to board next. Which usually results in a lot of bodies bumping one another, angry mutterings and the look of despair on flight attendants’ faces. (In all fairness I am not one of those. I try to respect the logistics for boarding. Although I use the pronoun “we·, trust me, I don’t anything of the following). We usually take hours before sitting down before take off, while we are the first ones to stand up before the plane has even stopped moving when arriving to the gate. I swear I want to crawl under my seat whenever I flight attendant has to ask over and over again for us to sit down. We are also the ones whose babies start to wail mid-flight and do absolutely nothing about it. Oh yes, and we also have got to get to the other side of the plane while the service cart is right there in the middle of the aisle, serving food. And don’t get me started on a full flight back home, leaving in the evening, for some reason we are less reasonable during the late hours of the night. Oh, oh, and the best one. If you are an American with no clue of Spanish and you happen to board a Mexican airline flight to Mexico, you have no idea what the flight attendant said during the entire flight when she was supposedly taking in English. Seriously, you have better luck trying to understand all announcements in Spanish than in English. Although I imagine this isn’t a Mexican thing exclusively.
Now, all of the above happened to me while on my flight back from San Francisco, which is where we arrived to, from Honolulu. However, I had another series of overall experiences I’d like to share with you. First, what is the deal with taking one’s shoes inside the plane? I mean, if you are wearing socks and you are confident your feet smell nice then I suppose it is okay. But when you are barefoot, is that even hygienic? Although, you have to take off your shoes when going through airport security in the U.S., I really try not to think about what is lying there on the floor, and it’s not like you can refuse. But why does the person sitting next to YOU have to endure such a moment, especially when food is being sold and that person has to eat something and YOU are scratching YOUR bare feet. Which to me is a clear sign YOU really shouldn’t take off YOUR shoes.
As a related topic, there’s the issue with smells. I know we were flying back from Honolulu, the beach, the sun, but is it an excuse for someone not to wear deodorant? Trust me, for someone who is a bit claustrophobic on airplanes, sitting on a window seat, with two strangers next to her, one of them smelling really bad is worse than being inside a dark room with no way out. Speaking of which, why do people get all annoyed when the person sitting next to the window wants to go to the bathroom? Okay, so maybe you can hold it when the other two people next to you are asleep but when the opportunity arises and you want to get out, why the angry faces? When you have to go you have to go!
Which brings me to my next experience. What is the protocol for when a baby sitting next to you has a diaper situation halfway to your final destination? Do moms wait until getting off the plane? Or do they stand up, change the dirty diaper and sit back down? Because the woman sitting next to me did just the first option. Between her sweaty smell and that of the kid’s diaper, I swear I had to really focus on my book to keep both smells out of my mind. Can you change a diaper in the small restrooms at the rear of the cabin? Or can’t you? And if you can, why in God’s name didn’t the woman next to me do so? I know you are thinking I should’ve said something but seriously, that’s the mom’s job, isn’t it?
Anyway, I guess we all have good or bad experiences while flying. However, mine didn’t mar the great time I had in Hawaii. I did what you are supposed to do on a vacation: relax, enjoy and get to experience a new place, its people and its local traditions. I’ll write about what we did in Hawaii next week.