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September 02

An Extra Day
Sara Towe
“Is business class O.K for you?” they asked,

I have for many years wanted to fly business class again and by some fluke it happened on my last trip from England. Flying from Humberside in England to Amsterdam this October our connection was delayed so they had to put myself and other fellow travelers up for the night. This did not worry me; it was one day more of peace before returning to my up in the air life. However another couple that were traveling on a time schedule it was a pain.
I had not been in Amsterdam since 1975, I was put in the museum district at a hotel called “Museum Quarter Hotel.”

It was only a year and a half old and was very comfortable. I went for a walk, but all the shops were closed, and in that area there was in not much else going on after closing. So I went back to the hotel for dinner with Joy and John, both dentists from Grimsby who were going to travel by train to Toronto via the Rockies. After dinner I had a drink in the lounge and played spectator to all the comings and goings. The bar man, who did not drink or smoke, was very pleasant to talk to. He had been in the business for many years and had watched many a person self-destruct. I went to my room and had a deep hot bath and watched T.V in English with Dutch subtitles.

The next day I wandered down the street to the lively open market. I wish that I had room for more things as the prices and items were very enticing, but alas I could not buy another thing. So I did the next best thing, I found a coffee shop called The Bagel Café and had my first decent large cup of excellent coffee in two weeks. (British coffee sucks) I watched as all theses people tucked in to delicious looking bagels pilled height with salmon and avocado, that it made my mouth water, but I had already eaten at the hotel a very full breakfast, so I just was content with my power fruit and veg drink and my coffee.

I am a dog owner so when I saw dogs lying at their masters feet quietly and calmly I wished that we had the same rules here in Canada. I also marvel at the compatibility between vehicles and bikes. They all know their place and even at high speeds seem to respect each other. A lovely sight was seeing a mum with a child behind her and three children each of different size riding in an arrow behind her. Mother goose and her baby geese following her.

When I travel to England via Amsterdam I am of course in economy, and on my journey over I had a baby traveling for the first time, a younger boy traveling with mum, dad and grandpa. Unfortunately, the baby did not like the journey, and her brother could not settle, this made it very hard for the mum as she seemed to bare most of the brunt of it all. So when I arrived at my mother’s house I was a little tired, only to get a second wind while talking to my mother, Jo and my sister Jane, who kindly picked me up from the airport.

I go over twice a year to see Jo, who remains very astute and on the ball. Her heart is failing her; it is a shame to see such a vibrant woman trapped in a troubled body. She is a strong woman and will fight for life with all her might; her brain is too bright to give in to a wonky heart. My mum and I always find something to laugh about, and we both enjoy a good 'who done it' mystery. We pottered to places and planned for the future with complete faith and positiveity, after all Positive thinking is what I teach and what I try always to live by. So when my flight missed its connection I saw it as a sign.

We do not always have a clear-cut answer to things, but if you acknowledge the signs the whole picture will eventually come into play. I even made a comment to my fellow travelers that I should be upgraded to first class, we all laughed. The next day while in the line up to board the plane to Vancouver, Canada, they asked the question “Are you traveling alone mam?” to which I replied that I was. ‘Well, we are changing your seat” I then had a slight panic as I had a roomy seat already and did not wish to loose it, “Is business class O.K for you?” they asked, to which I replied “most definitely.”

As I entered the “Business Class domain” I was immediately offered champagne or fresh squeezed orange juice, I replied that I would have a little of both. I was at first seated by a Chinese man who clearly felt I was in his space. So the hostess whose name was Ingrid (born in the year of the dog we later found out) and who clearly likes her job,moved me to a center seat where I had both seats to
myself. Ingrid was delightful to talk to, just as the other hostess, Monique (a lady rat) was also.
This is the only way to travel, civilized, comfortable elegant and relaxing and let us not forget ROOMY. They feed you a lot in business class, drinks always offered, a delicious meal served on a white table cloth with real cutlery and real glass. The only thing plastic was the knife but of high quality of course. The only thing lacking was a fellow passenger to talk too. I love meeting people from other walks of life and sharing life stories. The hostesses were my inspiration for me to write this article, their sense of humour and their clear enjoyment of life was delightful. Ingrid is in love and is hoping to buy her dream home soon, you could tell that she loved this guy by the bright light in her eyes when she talked about him.

She was also telling me that she was about to have laser surgery on her eyes to correct her far sightedness, as wearing contacts on a plane is very drying on the eyes.
She is going to South Africa for this, as it is a leader in the world in this type of op and with the exchange rate would work out about almost $4000.00 cheaper there. I have asked her to keep me posted so I can pass on the success story. I do believe that to survive in the people business you have to like people. There are days you wish you could drown the lot of them, but there must be days many of them that make it all worthwhile. Airline people get to travel to many beautiful places almost free, but they work in cramped areas with some very grumpy people and they have to maintain a smile and be professional at all times.

I had wanted to be a hostess way back when, but alas as I am asthmatic I was not allowed. To be in this business not only do you need to like people, but in some way understand them, to cater to their every need you must anticipate what it is they want. Patience and a good attitude are essential. As people’s peace of mind is my business I was very impressed by K.LM and the girls calm friendly persona and it made for a lovely journey. Now I understand why people pay extra for business class. There is not only more space, better food and happier service, but you get less of a feeling of being in a sardine can. If you have the privilege to travel up front, then you should travel with grace and good manners. No matter which way that you travel, you should respect for your fellow passenger and for the crew looking after you. Why is it that there is a few that just want to moan about every thing all the time? Do they not know that it takes 8 positives to undo 1 negative? And that being glum and downright distasteful can cause ones immune system to be overwhelmed?

A smile, even in difficult situations goes a long way, and that applies to everyone. If you are having a bad day, just let people know that it has been a shity day so far, but that you anticipate it improving soon. Imagine if the pilot decided to fly with flight rage, where would we be then!

While the rest of the world talks war and politicians don’t care what the people want, we have to smile a little wider these days to get through the day. With the news only telling stories of fear death and disaster, we desperately need some positive thinking to have some positive living. So the tolerance of those that are different and understanding of those that cannot change, spread some smiles with genuine love for the fellow man even if they annoy you, just smile and move on. We have spread the negative like wild fire, now let us spread the positive approach and see if caring and forgiving and tolerating and believing in some thing higher than ourselves works. Remember 8 positives to undo 1 negative. Which do you prefer?

Thank you Ingrid and Monique for making me smile and taking such good care of me. I hope to be as lucky again some time and will hope that it is you that are there again to make me smile. Have a very happy life.

© Sara Towe October 2002
P.S Look out for a small blurb about Positive Living in the new magazine coming out in November “AFTER 5”

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