Sunday, February 11, 2007

The seedy underbelly of the frequent flyers, exposed

The continuation of “Japan is fantastic”, entitled “Part ni thru…(whatever number I can manage to count up to in Japanese)” will have to wait until I can get home and put the pictures together as so much of what I have to say about this Japan trip must be accompanied by a photograph. Try as I may with words, I just don’t think I could do justice to the new things I saw, and particularly to the new things I ate. Those bright pink cubes of indeterminableness must be allowed their own moment of glory by means of a picture.

As of right now, however, I’m currently reclining in a comfortable leather chair enjoying free wireless internet access, free alcohol, and free snacks. You wouldn’t think I’d be describing the Narita airport, or any other airport for that matter. But I am. It’s just the part of the airport that us commonfolk never get to see: The Luxury Lounge. You know, the place where all the platinum and gold card holding members of the friendly skies get to enter, leaving us economy classers behind to claw at the gold plated doors. I’m usually one of those sad individuals, but today…today, instead of clawing my way in only to be forcefully removed by security, I glided right through the doors upon the invitation of The Brit, who is, in fact, a frequent flyer and a sworn member of this secret society (hence my free ticket to Japan in the first place).

I, La Cubana Gringa, am reporting to you live from said Luxury Lounge…and I must say [while shaking my head disapprovingly] that I am utterly appalled by what I see. Vast open spaces, dimly lit and pleasing to the eye. Comfortable, spacious seating, all with electric plugs for laptop computers. Paintings and glass blown sculptures from local artists displayed much as they would be, and probably should be, in a museum. The replacement of the typical horribly drab elevator music (usually punctuated with obscenely loud and yet indecipherable flight announcements) with no music at all and only the occasional soft, sultry, clear voice announcing the next flight. There’s also the periodicals section, in which they have countless copies of all the major newspapers free for the taking. Then there’s the beer machine. A beer machine, you ask? Yes. A machine in which you place the chilled pint glass which you’ve selected out of the adjacent fully stocked refrigerator and place it onto the platform which is then tipped ever so gently to a 30 degree angle whilst the machine pours the perfect pint of beer and tops it off with the perfect amount of foam. Every time. (Trust me, I’ve “tested” it several times now.) Sadly, there is no such similar contraption to make the perfect vodka tonic, but I suppose [sigh] that the fact that I can pour myself a bottomless vodka tonic an adequate alternative. And then there’s the fruit. And the cheese. And the crackers. And the cheese. And the little packets of pretzels/nuts/spiced-conglomerates-of-carb-material. And the cheese. Add a hot male stripper and they could start hosting bachelorette parties here!

I can’t BELIEVE The Brit and all of his brothers and sisters in the frequent flyer society have been holding out on us like this! Appalled, I say!

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to go figure out how to smuggle an assortment of cheeses, a full bottle of Grey Goose and another of Johnnie Walker Blue Label onto the plane with me. There’s no telling when they’ll let me in one of these lounges again. Wish me luck.


Waspgoddess said...

So that's what goes on behind those frosted doors I'm never allowed through. Hmmm... I kind of wish I had remained in oblivion. Now I will just feel resentful whenever I'm at an airport. But good for you for hooking up with someone with such good connections :)

The Love Muscle said...

Hey girl, I guess you are home now. Glad you had a good trip... you know, you are now ruined for life when it comes to air travel. I flew first and business class a lot back when I was a product support engineer, mostly to Taiwan, and really enjoyed the "Luxury Lounges" but now that I am back to being an "economy classer" it is quite humbling!!! Oh well, hopefully when my ship finally comes in I won't be hanging out at the train station!