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Lounging and flying

So, here I am in the KLM Royal Crown Lounge at Schiphol Amsterdam Airport. 4 hours from now my flight to Bangkok wil depart, and the next three weeks I'll be working in an office at a shipyard 2 hours south of Bangkok, 6 days a week, 10 hours a day.

So this trip is not gonna be a cakewalk and certainly not a vacation. I'm gonna have to work my ass off and only have 2 seperate days to have a look around in a province where there's hardly anything to see (unless you're into transsexuals and underaged boys and girls, in which case you could visit Pattaya). Still this'll be my first ever visit to Asia, and if there's one thing that would ever draw me to Asia, it's the food. And the tigers, but no time for those on this trip.

I started my culinary discoveries yesterday in a Thai Restaurant in my hometown together with thaily and hiryu. Never again will I stoically try to munch on a big slice of chili pepper. Unless I check it for seeds first. Yowza. But the food was good!

And today I'm experiencing another first: sitting in an airline lounge. Perk of travelling for a petrol-related company, they have special deals with airlines because of the many flights they book. So if you ever wondered what it's like to sit in one of those posh lounges, I will now divulge its secrets.

First: hundreds of spacious comfy chairs, all with their own power socket for charging laptops and mobile phones. A rack with all the international newspapers, 10 shower rooms for transit passengers wanting to freshen up during their brief stay on the airport, a service desk for all your flight-related questions (you want to upgrade to Business Class? Change your seat? It can be arranged), lots of TV's ranging from CNN to Eurosport to MTV(??). If you really need a nap there's a separate "deep rest" area with small cubicles, lie-down reclining chairs and dimmed lights. In the lounge there's soothing music playing in the background (Pavarotti, now Elton John) and there's a free bar and buffet. Everything self-service, but if you want to pour yourself a quadruple bacardi-and-coke no one's stopping you. Beer and mixer spirits are freely available: brandy, gin, whisky, rum, wine, just step up, pour and enjoy. Wow.

And the food? Everything from salty nibbles to old cheese to soup, stew, salad, bread and of course fresh fruits, fruitjuices, coffee, tea, soda's and mineral water.

But still... despite all this, I still wonder why business class tickets are four times the price of an economy one. Sure, you have this lounge, you get your own check-in desk, priority loading and unloading of your luggage, roomy seats on the plane, better food created by top chefs, more service, champagne, etc. etc. But think of how much more value you could get out of your (or the company's) money by spending the price difference in your destination country instead?

I'm an idealist and a dreamer. I know. Money makes the world go round, I know that too. Maybe I'm experiencing "vicarious shame" for sitting here and knowing I'm out of place? Oh well, might as well pour myself another fresh OJ while I'm here... No gin. Alcohol and flights don't mix well.

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