Thursday, May 04, 2017

Bidness Class From Belgium to Rwanda

Well I killed it in my one night in Brussels and now it was time to take another respectably long flight to Kigali, Rwanda. I want to say that this flight was even a little bit longer than the flight from JFK to Brussels. This time though, there would be no chubby women's chubby arms messing with my groove. Today ladies and gentlemen I'm flying business class! I won't talk about how I booked the thing with points as I covered that here.

There was a fast lane so mercifully I didn't have to talk to or stand next to any "normals" and their unkempt children and their unvested stock options. Yucky.

Belgian chocolate company Neuhaus had a chocolate replica of Brussels' iconic 1958 Brussels World's Fair Atomium building. I was about to have some free Neuhaus chocolate in my life.

There was a lot of high-fiving and kissing babies on my way to the plane. People couldn't see my ticket but I think they could sense my business class aura. I assume it's green. Maybe with gold speckles. I did the splits before handing my passport to the immigration officer. He clapped while chanting "USA! USA!".

I didn't have time to go to the main business lounge but there was like an auxiliary one right by my gate. All about my bidness. Brussels Airlines really digs them some lower case letters don't they?

Let me just come out and say the entire American airline flying experience sucks. They are just the worst worst at everything involving comfort or taste. In American lounges you can expect such luxuries as cheddar cheese cubes, crackers, some granola, maybe a soup if you're lucky. Yeah they have a bar but most of it isn't included. You can look forward to begging a surly bartender for some crappy Coors Light or some table wine. Then you can then tip this unnecessary person, a person who's sole purpose is to gatekeep you from the very booze you've already paid for access to, for pouring a thing in a glass thereby negating the very freeness of the drink, or you can not tip them and pay for your beer with shame, guilt, and sideways glances either imagined or otherwise. That sentence has 14 commas. That's how serious I am.

Well not in Europe son. Oh no. You know that delicious kriek cherry juice beer I had last night? Oh there's chilled cases of it here. There's too much variety to even try one of everything. Honestly my appetite for drinks of any sort was pretty much zero due to yesterday's exuberance but I was happy they were on hand. I could have opened one just for the smell though if I so chose. I stuck to some really good bread and butter, cheese, sausage, and some juice.

The Coke cans were small not out of stinginess but out of the understanding that that crap is poison and will kill your ass.

The couple sitting next to me agreed that if they don't call our flight it's not a big deal.

The seats were very throne-like with large spaces on either side of the arms. The thing was like a Swiss army knife with buttons and levers everywhere. I barely mastered the electrical reclining functions by the time the flight was over. 

The tray table would best be described as a Transformer that I needed help to operate every single time.

For my welcome drink I chose the orange juice with a FRIGGIN ORANGE SLICE IN IT. In case I was to forget which fruit the juice had come from whilst sipping. Rich people have a lot on their mind.

You know who also likes flying non-American airlines? Morgan Freeman. You know who loved crappy little cheese cubes? Hitler, that's who.

One thing that was a little odd was the lack of air vents above the seat.

I was pretty jetlagged still and so wasn't super hungry. This was the only meal that I participated in. I especially like that little bean salad thing. When the flight attendant walked by and saw that I had mostly devoured that part and left the rest alone she took my tray and brought me a new one. Just so I could have more bean salad. Bean salad!! I asked her to make sure the needy did not get any of my leftovers and she was like "DUH!". We both had a good laugh.

I think it's impressive how the flight attendents remember which language each customer speaks. I think they only asked me once then just had it down thereafter.

This napkin had a buttonhole that has been haunting me.

Flowers in the damn bathroom.

Chocolate boxes on the damn tables.

Champagne and grapes on the damn bulkhead. I think this plane wants to be my Valentine. 

Got Michelin Star chefs designing my bean salad. 

Now I did not have any of the champagne which just means I have to drink twice as much on the return flight. A man has to have a code. I'm gonna wash my silverware with champagne on the way back.

What I need is a Belgian privately chartered plane so I can fly to all of the sketchy countries and if I ever need to eat, sleep, or go to the bathroom I'll just get back on the plane.

The flight had a weird little interlude in Entebbe, Uganda. Yes I asked Etihad when I booked the flight if I could get off here, spend a day or two, then continue on to Kigali and they said no. Rude. Well so some people were getting on in Uganda who were going to immediately go back to Brussels after they dropped us off. Very odd. To make things weirder a local cleaning crew then got on and loudly did their vacuuming and so forth. Some passengers were still trying to exit the plane and the crew didn't understand when a guy asked them to get the heck out of his way.

Then they pushed a white dude on the plane on a damn stretcher. When I took a look at him he had two black eyes. Someone said not to touch his feet because they are extremely painful. Africa trip=reconsidered.

During this period of sitting and waiting I struck up a conversation with one of my row mates. Hélène was a Québécoise environmental engineer that does studies for companies to make sure they aren't killing any endangered marmots before they build a thing in the jungle. And I buy books then try to sell them for a price higher than that which I bought them for. So we had a lot to talk about.

Of course my plan to put a little magnet on every country of the globe a la the board game RISK became a topic of conversation. She let me know that I'm just checking boxes and that a day isn't long enough to experience the wonders of creation why don't I go on a safari and braid a giraffe's tail blah blah. Which in this case is probably true. Though the alternative to me spending 1 day in Uganda is likely spending no days in Uganda. So that's a good thing right? When I started this quest I never imagined how controversial it would be. It really bothers some people. I think we lost a couple of friends in Neosho, Misery after that trip I took to UAE/Oman. Don't know what to tell them.

Well after I'd had my life goals thoroughly eviscerated we landed in Kigali, capital city of Rwanda.

What's that Rwanda, you're tiny and you touch 4 other countries? You don't say...

I knew this was going to be a different African experience than I'm used to when I walked through the door to the outside and not ONE single person tried to sell me a taxi ride. I had to actually walk to the line of taxis and ASK for a ride. Insanity.

The Kigali Convention Centre all lit up.

The Kigali Marriott is sort of weird looking on the outside but pretty sweet on the inside. My dearest mother was kind enough to sign up for a credit card to get a bonus that covered my 6 nights here. It would have cost me a grand otherwise. Thanks mom!

The room door chain thing was different.

There was a pretty rad fruit bowl for me to pillage. The bananas were the fun little ones. The purplish thing in the center was a passion fruit, and the two things with the long stems are tamarillos. Here they refer to them as "tree tomatoes".

The inside of the passion fruit. They were smaller and more tart than the superior ones we had in Costa Rica.

Brussels Airlines handed out parting gifts of boxes of Belgian chocolates.

Unfortunately I don't know anyone at home who likes chocolate so I had to eat them all myself. Sad.

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