Sunday, January 07, 2007

Brussels, Part I

If I’ve learned anything so far, it’s that Business Class people live it up.

Our trip to Dulles was quite uneventful, thankfully. Mr. B. served beautifully again as our ride and last words of wisdom before departing the States. And even sent us off with tons of dark chocolate M&M's.

We made it apparent that we are not seasoned travelers when we were stopped at the security checkpoint for making a couple of violations:
1. We didn’t take the laptop out of the bag and run it through separately (so it was loudly proclaimed to everyone, “BAG CHECK!”
2. We sorta forgot about the whole liquids must be 3oz. or smaller in a clear plastic bag. Well, I remembered on some things, but not others for some reason. James didn’t think about it at all. So in a rush to get it all taken care of, we stuffed a bunch of stuff in James’ backpack so he could run back and make it checked baggage. I didn’t realize until later just how many essentials we had stuffed, never to be seen again…for many hours.

When checking in at the gate, we requested seats with a little leg room, thinking that the emergency exit would be just fine, with James’ extra long legs and all. The kind lady let us know how unlikely that would be, but try she would. The boarding began and we got in line. Well, we ended up being the last to board since they were still processing our request. The lady at the counter said something unintelligible in a very thick accent and ended with, “Happy New Year (words we couldn’t understand) Buisness Class.” Could it be? We walked the plank with giddiness and anticipation of possibly having the perks we would never pay extra for. Gift of all gifts for’s true: business class for the Murphy’s! We spent the first hour being amazed at the amenities we would enjoy. First of all, and most notably, the leg room. Lack of leg room is always an issue for 6’4’’ James. Not on this flight. And I realize I’m short, with even shorter legs, but I could stretch my legs out completely at a 90 degree angle and not come close to touching the seat in front of me. We began the flight with a complimentary glass of champagne…fancy. Then we fooled around with all the buttons on the reclining chair that was pretty much a Lazy Boy recliner. Other perks that were lavished on us:
-Complimentary Comfort Kit, complete with slipper socks, a shoe bag, an eye mask, personal hygiene products, etc.
-Personal video monitors with a plethora of movies, games, music, and animated map that shows the route of our airplane.
-All the free Danish beverages your heart could desire
-Gourmet meal that (shockingly) were good.
-A snack/drink bar that was accessible to us at all times during the flight.
-A personal outlet so we could charge our Mac.
-Being treated like we’re rich, even though we’re not.

Even with all those wonderful qualities, sleeping on a plane doesn’t get easier for me. We probably slept 20 minutes combined during the 8 hour trip. I’m so bummed I didn’t get an Ambien Rx.

We got to Copenhagen, Denmark around 7:00am, their time (1:00am EST). Our plane wasn’t leaving until 3:00pm so we roamed around Copenhagen for a few hours. It was Saturday, but this country seriously sleeps in. It’s a decent size city, about 1million, and we had the streets almost completely to ourselves. Nothing opened, and the streets didn’t get busy, until 10:00am. It’s a great, old city. The sad thing is, scattered among these beautiful ancient buildings are Micky D’s, 7-11’s, KFC’s, and THREE story Burger Kings. It just cheapens the appearance of it, in my opinion.
James showing his true cultural allegiance. Notice the huge neon Micky D's sign, upper right.

We strolled around for a while and visited the Copenhagen National Museum because it was cold outside and admission was free.
Can you see me? Almost missed me under Absalon, founder of Copenhagen, Denmark.

Exquisite sunrise over the 9:30 am!

We both enjoyed a nap in the airport on a quasi-couch: much needed. Thankfully the flight from Copenhagen to Brussels was only 1.5 hours (no upgrade to Business Class this time).

We’ve settled into our accommodations, a dorm-style building. No bunk beds as we had expected, thankfully. Wireless internet (what would we do without it???), lots of strong coffee, and semi-decent food (we’ve talked about eating less anyway!). Some great friends we’ve met during prior training sessions are here which has been really exciting.

This morning we visited the church we’ll be working with during the month. Get this…it’s totally in French. Didn’t think we spoke French? You’re right, we were totally lost. At least everyone in the world speaks English conversationally; makes me feel kinda guilty/lazy that I don’t speak any other languages. Oh well, isn’t that what being an American is all about? j/k.

James is napping and I’m headed that way. Hopefully this jet-lag will wear off soon. Any ideas how long that usually takes? What’s more difficult, traveling East or West, let me know all you veteran travelers.

Thanks for reading, future posts probably won't be such novels, but no promises.

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