Posted in Travel sparks

Plane speaking: Vegetarian desserts

I’ve had an issue with this for a while, but I’ve never said anything about it until now. Because although it’s made me cranky, it wasn’t until I was faced with this particular outrage on my recent flight to Dublin that I finally snapped. My issue is this: just because I order a vegetarian meal on a flight, that doesn’t mean I don’t eat dessert. Look, I’ll be honest – it doesn’t even really mean that I don’t eat meat, it’s more that I’m a bit fussy and figure it’s better to order a vego meal to be on the safe side. Well, that and I do like to feel a bit special.

Anyways, back to this particular outrage. The lovely Etihad lady went around the cabin handing out menus as we began our journey. I had no clue what time or day it was, so had completely forgotten that my vegetarian meal was pre-ordered – I looked through the menu at the delicious sounding options (of which one was even vegetarian) and started to get excited. And then I got to the dessert section and saw this:


Oh yeah. Banoffee Pie is one of my most favourite desserts in the whole wide world. So you can imagine how excited I was. But then my meal came (it wasn’t the amazing-sounding vegetarian option from the fancy menu, by the way) and I eagerly scanned the tray for my pie. But instead, I found this “dessert” waiting for me:

Uh huh. Not quite Banoffee Pie. I sobbed quietly to myself. Then 15 minutes later when my neighbour finally got his meal, I got a glimpse of what I had missed out on…I would have taken a photo of that, but I couldn’t focus through my tears. And he wolfed it down so quickly that I didn’t get a chance.

This always seems to happen to me – the airlines give fruit for vegetarian meal desserts (and it’s not even a strict vegan meal, it’s that lacto-ovo option, so surely that rules in most desserts?) instead of real sweet treats. But it’s never hit me as hard as this flight, when the Banoffee was so near and yet so far. It’s enough to make me cancel my vegetarian order for the flight home, just in case…

Posted in Travel sparks

Plane speaking: Sunrise

Before I go on, I do want to say that I realise how lucky I am to be able to travel – especially on overseas adventures to the other side of the world. So, any criticism that I make of plane travel is in that context – a lighthearted whinge, not a serious complaint or gripe about the sad state of my world. Just so we’re clear.

Now that I’ve got that off my chest, my first travellin’ post is about the craziness of long haul flights. I think I’ve mentioned before that on the height scale, I’m closer to ‘pixie’ than I am to ‘giant’, but even so, I find myself tucked into crazy yoga positions as I try to fit in my seat – the one that is to be my chair, bed, cinema, restaurant (and everything else) – for the first leg of my trip: the 14 hour flight from Sydney to Abu Dhabi. At least my neighbour was lovely and just the right amount of chatty. A German chap who’d lived in Sydney for six years, he warned me early in our conversation that he had a strange eye condition as he had been hit at close range with a tennis ball a few days ago and now had a medically-induced dilated pupil to ensure that his eye didn’t explode. We joked about the inconvenience of an exploding eye while flying, but luckily he survived the flight with both eyes in order. Although I did panic when I heard a loud hissing noise – turned out he was just deflating his neck pillow. Phew.

Anyways, it was my first time flying with Etihad and they were pretty good. A feature that I particularly liked was the way they managed the ‘wake up’ part of the flight. It’s always so arbitrary – you board at a certain time and you know your arrival time at your destination, but everything in between is really just a mish mash of hours and days as you cross time zones and you’re served dinner when your brain is expecting breakfast. In the olden days, the staff used to just plunge the cabin into darkness to encourage people to sleep, then flick the bright white lights back on whenever the plane clock said it was time to wake up. Like the end of a disco, it was always a shock to the system and felt a bit like being punched in the face. Those days are gone – I appreciated Etihad’s thoughtful way of sending you to sleeep and gently waking you up with their version of sunrise / sunset. Here’s the overhead light sunrise – imagine it through bleary eyes and a frazzled mind to get a better idea of how it seemed at the time…

And to finish that first leg of the journey, here are some mugs that I noticed in a shop at the airport in Abu Dhabi, where I had a few hours between flights. Just because in my confused state, I thought these were pretty amazing.

PS, I’m posting photos on Instagram as I go – I’m everydaysparks there if you want to join me…