Posts Tagged With: KLM

Vegetarian Meals on Planes

If you don’t already know this about me, I am a vegetarian. I don’t eat meat including seafood, but I eat things made from animals (ie cheese). Growing up I used to love economy plane food. I know, I am weird, but I did. That was when the airlines weren’t cheap you know what’s and you actually got a meal. My meals from JFK to Aruba usually consisted of a salad, roll, a box of two chocolates, and an entree. The entree was either a chicken dish or a vegetarian dish like pasta. Every time I have flown first class I have hated the meal. I’m not into fancy food and for some reason there isn’t a vegetarian option. On one flight they actually brought me the economy meal so I could eat something. I also dislike ice cream, again I’m weird, and that’s the only dessert option on all the first class flights. Yeah I know first world problems, but when it’s a long flight, you don’t sleep, and pay tons of money you definitely want to eat. They used to post the menus in advance so I could decide whether or not to order a vegetarian meal. They stopped doing that.

That special vegetarian meal used to be decent, but my recent experiences have been absolutely nasty. This is because United no longer offer lacto-ovo vegetarian meals. These were meals that contained cheese and eggs. So I got food like pasta, quiche, cheese sandwiches, french toast, etc. now they offer Asian Vegetarian meals, which is almost the exact same description as their vegan meals. Those meals consisted of rice coated in nasty unidentifiable sauce and 4 pathetic veggies. This brings me to my dilemma. I have an economy plus and businessfirst flights ahead of me this year. Do I order vegetarian meals and be struck with garbage or hope that there is a decent vegetarian option on board or pick at a non vegetarian meal?

Here are some of my recent plane meal experiences:

El Al to Tel Aviv-They forgot my veggie meal. No vegetarian option. I ate bread.

El Al to Tel Aviv-Again no veggie meal but their was a vegetarian sandwich option.

Delta to Amsterdam-Veggie meal was pasta with nuts (I’m allergic). This was also the vegetarian meal option on board. Food was good though (I picked off the nuts).

KLM to Egypt-Veggie meal was unidentifiable. Didn’t eat it. Roll could have broken a wall. I had a chocolate. A to go waffle was served for breakfast.

Air France to NYC-Veggie meal was unidentifiable. Didn’t eat it. Ate the bread.

United to Newark-Veggie meal was gross. I didn’t eat it. I wound up eating my mom’s ham and cheese sandwich minus the ham.

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Categories: Food, Mish Mash, Travel | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Pyramids of Giza

7/31/13
Next stop Giza! On our way out of Cairo we saw a man on a motorcycle with cages of chicken. We also saw a bunch of women with an infant in the back of a pickup truck. As we crossed over from Cairo to Giza we stopped to take pictures.

As we drove we passed a lot of rundown areas. Sonja and I eventually decided to use the restroom on the bus, which was an experience to say the least. We struggled to find the light and the flusher. We survived though!

Sherif had the bus make a stop at a clothing store so Nicole and I could pick up some items. I thought he wanted us to be quick about it so I tried to just pick up easy stuff. I picked out 2 Egypt t-shirts at 75 LE each and a pair of socks. The socks were 40 LE when I could buy them at home for 5LE ($1). I had no other choice. I didn’t buy anything else because I thought we were in a rush, it was expensive, and I hoped my suitcase would be arriving soon. Nicole wound up taking at least 30 minutes in the store. Sherif and I chatted while we waited for her. He asked me about my scarab necklace and laughed when I explained I won it at the Luxor in Las Vegas. I got some free postcards and Sherif told the owner of the store something about me so I got a free bottle of pretty sand.

After we finally left the shop we continued on to the pyramids. We got to catch glimpses of them as we got closer. I was so excited! We pulled up to them and had to get out of the bus to go through security. Then we re-boarded the bus. Sherif gave us each 20LE to tip our camel drivers. I took my epipen, camera, the tip, extra cash, and a water bottle with me. We got off the bus and were immediately hounded by vendors. I navigated my way through them and went to the camels, while most of the group purchased headdresses for 15LE. The camels only had one hump. The ones in Israel had two. The guy put my water bottle in the camel’s side pocket because he said I would need my hands to hold on. Thus, I put my camera bag around my neck. This camel was a lot taller than the one in Israel and way more uncomfortable. When the camels got up almost everyone freaked out a bit, but I was already used to it from Israel. My camel was led by a little boy, which scared me a bit.

We had a long ride to get to the best spot for pictures. The ride was not comfortable and though I was looking at the pyramids my mind was distracted by the camel. The boy told me his name was Abraham and he was 10. He also told me the camel’s name, which I don’t remember. Halfway through our journey the camel handlers got into a fight. From what I could make out between Arabic and gestures, one of the small boys was leading a camel and they deemed him to be too young to help out. At this point Abraham took some pictures of me and we rode on. I kept trying to focus on the pyramids and their beauty, but something related to the camel always seemed to distract me. I also kept wishing I had on the jeans I packed instead of the sweatpants which caused me to feel everything. My butt and legs were killing me!

On the way back Abraham was now in charge of the little boy’s camels as well. Sonja’s money blew away, but Abraham got it. When we got back it was time for the tip and the group picture. I gave Abraham the 20LE, but then he had a sad look on his face. I felt bad and he reminded me of the poor children in Chichen Itza, so I gave him an extra 5LE. His whole face lit up and he looked like he wanted to hug me. He shook my hand and hid the money. That was the best $1 I have spent in a while. His reaction was priceless. I had to get back on the camel for the group picture.

Then we headed off to a ramp for more pictures with the pyramids. The vendors of course followed. I saw the postcards I wanted and spent either 5LE or 10LE for 10 postcards. We took more pictures and boarded the bus to drive right up to the pyramids.

The pyramids looked less impressive up close because you really couldn’t see high they were. We were able to climb on the pyramids and take pics. I wish I could have spent every moment of down time looking at the pyramids instead of talking to people. I really needed more time to soak them in. Then Sherif took us to a pyramid that we could go into. At that point I was feeling way too hot to go in. I knew there was nothing inside, it would be super hot, and very clastrophic. We headed back to the bus and there were no vendors in sight.

I asked Sherif for an update about my bag since it was after 2pm. I also texted my mom. Sherif tells me that the plane is late so it will be closer to 3pm. He gives us our tickets to the Sphinx. My mom calls me and tells me that my bag wasn’t put on the plane. My head starts spinning. What now? When will I get my bag? I had to hang up because we were at the Sphinx. I get halfway down the block and realize I left my ticket on the bus. I turn around, but the bus is gone. I run to Sherif and tell him about my bag and ticket. I’m completely out of it and he can tell. He tries to calm me down and tells me they’ll have the bag flown to the cruise. He also tells me not to let this ruin my trip. He’s right. I have spent my whole life dreaming about this trip and I can’t let KLM screw it up. He shakes me a bit and I realize that I am in front of the Sphinx! He tells the guard about my ticket situation. He lets me go in.

I walk in and it just doesn’t seem real. We are immediately hounded by kids who want 5LE to take our pics. All I want to do is be left alone and I tell them no, which was a super big mistake. Sherif feels bad for me and convinces me to take some pics with him. I eventually just sit with him and stare at the Sphinx. We talk about Zahi Hawass for a bit. He points out the dream stone. I never realized it was between the paws. I knew the story though. So Sherif has me tell the story to whoever was listening.

On our way back to the bus a guy offers Mat 100 camels and 1000 chickens to buy Lexi. I buy 10 Papyrus bookmarks for 5LE. (In hindsight I should have bought more). We board the bus and I fill everyone in on the news about my bag. We drive to Felfela. Sherif gets a call from Heather at AMEX. They are trying to get me my bag in Aswan or Luxor. Aswan would mean Monday or Tuesday. Luxor would mean Wednesday or Thursday. Oy! I decide not to eat in the restaurant. I use their restroom and then sit with Paul and Michael at the table. We recreate the pyramids with 3 water bottles and flan. Sherif tried to get me to eat. The guys then offered me clothes out of their suitcases. Aww!

After they finished eating, we went and sat in the restaurant’s garden area. Nicole smoked Shaseesh (the water pipe). We went around and formally introduced ourselves and said a bit about ourselves. All Australians except for Paul, Nicole, and me.

Lamps for Ramadan

Solar Boat Pit

Categories: Africa, Egypt, History, Travel, Trip with a Tour Group | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Losing my Luggage in Amsterdam

7/30/11
We land in Amsterdam. A woman waits for the 8 of us heading to Cairo. She takes us to our next gate where we are instructed to throw out our water bottles. BOO! When I ask the woman about my bag I get a rude answer. Then at the gate, I ask again and they tell me that they do not know anything about it. When the woman goes to check me in she tells me that my reservation doesn’t exist and I can’t board the plane. After me arguing with her she makes a phone call and magically I turn up in the system. After getting groped by the gate agent for security, I finally board the plane. We are delayed, which is a mixed blessing. My luggage now has 1 hour to make the plane. New question/worry: will my Contiki rep wait for me? I’m in the 2nd row of the plane next to some British guy.

They serve my meal and I have no idea what it is. It looks disgusting! I eat the 3 spoonfuls of white rice and a piece of bread. The bread tastes like sawdust. I’m given one Belgian chocolate and I put on the movie Sucker Punch. About 15 mins in and I feel ill. I feel like I am running a fever, have chills, and am extremely nauseous. I am informed that there are no pillows or blankets on the plane. Not even for first class. What the hell? I turn off the movie and put on Glee, but even that doesn’t help. I try to review some hieroglyphics, which helps for a while. I try to sleep, but cannot. I can’t stop thinking about my suitcase. The stewardess comes around and offers each of us a blue delft house, which was the best part of the flight. Then I’m given a waffle, which looks and smells amazing. However, I am too sick to eat it.

We land in Egypt and take a shuttle to the airport. I see a Contiki sign and I couldn’t be happier! Yeah Muhammad did wait for me! He points me to the passport line. However, I decide to use my first Egyptian toilet before dealing with the passport line. Not bad. The passport thing was easy since I already had my visa. Next it was time for luggage. I stood there praying that I would see a hint of lime green, which would indicate my bag was coming. The crowd started to get thinner and thinner. The 8 of us were standing there and no one had their bag. Now what? Muhammad and I go to file a claim as he explains to them we leave Cairo tomorrow. He asks me if I have any other clothes and I reply that I do not. I’m praying Janelle, Megan, Lexi, and Sonja will take pity on me. I exchange $220 American and check out the only shop in hopes of deodorant. No luck.

We drive through Cairo in the Spring Tours van. The roads are smooth at first and I read my hieroglyphics book. Then we encounter Cairo traffic. There are absolutely no rules! From the time I landed it takes 2 hrs to get to the hotel. I pick up my room key and am shown to my room. The room looks just like the pictures on the web. Within minutes I have a mosquito bite on my ear. I check the bed for bed bugs and then dump my stuff on the floor. I take inventory of what I have and don’t have. Thank goodness for first class amenity kits. I now have 2 pairs of airplane socks, ear plugs, toothbrushes, tooth paste, and scented cream (to act as deodorant for now).

I go downstairs for the meeting and I don’t see anyone, but then I hear someone call my name. Turns out Sonja and Lexi were in the bar. I fill them in and am introduced to some of the guys. Next I run into the twins. It’s so crazy to finally meet all the girls after talking for months. We sit down in the lounge and Sherif comes in. What a relief to see him! After all the Contiki research I had done, I felt like I knew him. He explained the trip and then I explained my suitcase situation to him. He told me not to worry and that it happens all the time.

The hotel informed us that fighting was going on outside so we convinced the boys to join us in a walk to the gas station for stuff. I desperately wanted water, food, and deodorant. Luckily I found all 3. I debated about buying flip flops, but they were expensive (16LE) and I hoped my suitcase would just be a day late. Besides the lack of traffic lights, it wasn’t so bad outside. I’m glad we didn’t see the fighting that was happening nearby.

After the gas station we went back to the restaurant in the hotel. Everyone got food, but me. Found out Mike is Greek, Alli had a strange situation with a guy from the previous Contiki tour, and that the special price for Contiki guests was actually more expensive then the menu prices. I ate the chocolate I bought in the gas station while everyone else ate food from the restaurant. My goal is to barely put any Egyptian food in my mouth while here.

I borrowed a night shirt from Janelle and turned my jacket into a skirt. That will have to do as PJ’s. I killed the mosquito and used my headphones from Delta with my earplugs to drown out the traffic noises.

Categories: Africa, Amsterdam, Egypt, Europe, Travel, Trip with a Tour Group | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

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