Wednesday, January 31, 2007

London - flying and back

I am so very happy to say that I got the job applied for and will be returning to London at the beginning of July to start employment as an analyst at an investment bank over there! Very very happy! But ever so knackered. The trip was four days and constituted as much evevnts as two weeks would! But overall had a wonderful time.

This particular post is going to be woven around some thoughts I had regarding airline stewardesses and flying during my time in the air.

As a Sri Lankan person flying a Sri Lankan carrier, you would think that perhaps the air hostesses would be a little nice to their fellow countrymen. Technically each airline is servicing their country and then looking towards foreigners for enhanced business opportunities. This is why a British Airways flight from New York to Frankfurt stops in London and a Qatar Airways flight from Singapore to London stops in Doha on the way. Furthermore, an airhostess is present to attend to the needs of the passengers. Were they not there, we could easily get up, pour ourselves a drink and sit back down. Perform CPR on each other or find our own seats in the aircraft.

But at which point, did the air hostess become someone to appeal to for a glass of water?

What I mean is that, during my flight both to and fro from Sri Lanka and in over the 15 flights I've taken over the past year - I have found the majority of air hostesses to be anything BUT friendly. Flying Sri Lankan airlines, you have to press the little call stewardess button a good 5-10 times before an air hostess waddles past. And even then, she fails to see the light or hear the beep which occurs when the button is pressed. So in the event of desperately needing water, you have to resort to practically tripping the hostess when she passes you by to get her attention. Even then, it is around 7/10 times that you actually get the water you ask for.

I remember asking an air hostess for a pen on one of the flights, and being pleasantly surprised when she actually remembered to bring one for me within the next 15 minutes.

Another most annoying thing is meals. I don't know about you but I find it difficult to fall asleep on flights. After a while, I manage to finally doze off after finding a reasonably comfortable space of 1 foot to sleep in - and I get a hostess prodding me awake - for what? to give me a face towel, or give me a glass of water! (How about giving that glass of water when I asked for it in the first place??) This recent flight, there was a lady sitting across the aisle from me and she was happily sleeping away - when the hostess came about with wet towels, continued to prod her awake till she accepted one. Then the same woman fell asleep again to be awoken to be presented a packet of nuts. Its absolutely ludicrous! Where is the sense in these employees? I spent a good 9 hours without being able to sleep and finally dozed off to be awoken by the hostess asking if she could clear my plate. Obviously if Im asleep and the plate is empty - there is nothing else to do but clear it! Unless I wanted to take home the horrendous souvenir for my maid as how NOT to cook a meal!

To get a smile out of any stewardess is a challenging task. Sri Lankan stewardesses are mostly complimentary and full of smiles for westerners and towards Sri Lankans they carry a most haughty air. In this event, they must be reminded that their job is to provide a comfortable journey from our embarkation point to our disembarkation point regardless of colour, religion, race or job description. In the case of other carriers, specially some noted for their irregular dishing out of smiles, you find that the caucasian air hostesses treat any one other than their fellow caucasians with a hint of condescendedness (if there is such a word). Again, if you don;t like serrving people this really isn't the job for you!

But at the same time, I must remember some of the lovely air stewardesses and stewards I've met on my travels. Because of their grumpy counterparts, their optimistic and friendly outlook is further enhanced and remembered with fondness. A flight is a gruelling journey, especially for those on cattle class. And regardless of income, some people choose to travel cattle class since it seems a bit ridiculous to spend extravagant amounts of money on just 11 hours of flying time. Therefore, it is upto airlines to ensure that their employees are trained to be courteous, full of common sense and people who love their jobs. Otherwise, it is us who begins to hate travelling!

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Travelling On...

As Blu recommended in a comment to my last post, I'm going to try make the extra effort, to write more in my blog this year!

Starting on, I don't think I said enough about my India trip! So let me elaborate:

I decided to escape the drunken New Year's Eve shananigans in Sri Lanka by heading off to India for the week of 26th-3rd Dec! What a marvellous decision this was! My mum and I went to Chennai (previously known as Madras) first. This is the capital of the South Indian province of Tamil Nadu. Its by the sea however Indian seashore's (apart from Goa) have to be taken with a pinch of salt. There is such a difference between India and Sri Lanka that even uptill now I really cant put my finger on it.

Sri Lankans are more westernised, the roads are full of BMWs and Mercs as well as the huge buses that drive like there's no tomorrow (which is the case for some of the ill fated passengers), there's a more greener, cleaner outlook to Sri Lanka. However, India is such a hub of activity, the people all dress similarly : men - moustache, shirt untucked and trousers and chappels (flip flops), women- sari or salwar. The roads are more chaotic but its a chaos which has an order behind it. The Sri Lankan roads are chaotic solely because the driver behind the wheel has no care in the world other than gettin to the place he is meant to be - no notion of courtesy or such. Indian roads are chaotic yet the people are civil, dusty yet cool, brown yet colourful. Its truly a treat for the senses

I found I enjoyed my trip to India more than I did my one to Aussie. The books are so much cheaper and what a huge number of LARGE bookshops there are! The saris are so beautiful. The food just delicious! India really impressed me this time around - I have been there around 20 times since I was 5 yrs old seen that Sri Lanka and India are neighbours but never was I largely taken up by India than I was this time.

However, you see a country that has developed and is developing at a fast pace.. however, the people are being left behind. They are going at a slower pace than the economy. A fraction of the population now have the capability to work in multinational firms that the Indian economy attracts however, those that do not (such as the large percentage of the population that lives in rural India) gets left behind. So there are many ironies and descrepancies that needs to be sorted out before India really hits the level of a developed nation. But it truly is a nation to be reckoned with!

I strongly urge everyone to visit there..

Im off to London for a week on Wednesday for a job interview so pls pray for me and wish me luck!!

Speak soon xxx

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

HAPPY NEW YEAR.. N dont go away

Hi all!!

Im sorry I havent posted in so long but its such a mission to load blogger on this network connection!!

HAPPY new year to all.. again! and hope you all had a great start to the New Year!

So far, mine has been good - nothing spectacular but no hassles or worries and life seems to be going decently well! Thank God!

My trip to India was lovely! I enjoyed it immensely. Travelled to Chennai, Bangalore and to a town outside of Bangalore. To see the Indian people, their way of life, the pace at which the country is developing, the sense of culture - it just fills you up inside! And the food is yummy! Of course, I didnt drink the water - mineral water all the way. But the rest of the world better take note: India is definitely stepping up!

This isnt going to be a large post... i will write soon but pls keep reading me and dont go away!