Stay Calm and Eat Clam (Seattle, WA)

How would you feel if you were about to embark on a cross country trip, only to realize you had left all your luggage at home? It’s exhilarating, you should try it some time. *rolls eyes*

When I get offered a trip, I generally don’t care how many legs (individual flights) there are to work each day, or even how many days there are in the entire trip. What I care about is where we stay overnight and for how long. That is the important question, because my goal is to see as many new places as possible. Case in point; my roommate Aurora got a call today from scheduling, asking if she wanted a trip. She didn’t ask anything about it and decided to just remain on call without picking anything up. The very next minute, Jasmine gets a call and takes the trip…..to Rome. Not Georgia. Italia.

Always ask for the critical deets. Always. And furthermore, look carefully at the trip to glean every bit of information so you can prepare accordingly. If you do this, you won’t have the crazy episode I had these last 2 days. I get a call, and one of the trips I can take is a red eye to Seattle. As you might have guessed from the title of this post, I’ve never done a red eye previously. I had a vague idea what it meant (a flight at an ungodly early or late hour) but I had no clue what I was getting myself into.

To the undiscerning eye, the trip sheet made it look like it was a quick turn: 6 pm to midnight on to trip to Seattle, and then 1:25 AM to 6 AM back to Charlotte. I was thinking to myself, well, I won’t really get to see Seattle, but it’ll be good experience to actually do a redeye. What I should have done is looked at the block time (layover) between the trips, because the actual flight times were deciving. On the sheet they were in Eastern time, but Seattle is in West Coast time, which is 3 hours behind. So instead of a turn, it actually was a 25 hour long overnight in Seattle.

You can imagine my chagrin when I figured this out—at the airport, with 15 minutes to boarding. All I could think about was how I had only packed my flight bag, which did not include anything for enjoying a full sunny day in a beautiful new city. Was I going to have to crank up the heat in my hotel room and sleep au naturel? Would I have to walk around town in my uniform? In my heels?  Expletives and self pity swarmed my mental circuits as I boarded the flight, with plenty of questions and absolutely no solutions. This brings me to another important piece of advice: even if you think you’re just going on a quick turn or a short overnight somewhere— bring a change of clothes, toiletries, and pajamas. If you’re an extreme believer of Murphy’s Law, or have a testy relationship with liquids and gravity, bring an extra uniform as well.

As it turns out, I had a beyond fantastic crew. They were all seasoned veterans (including my first flight with a lady Captain) and when I told them my tale of woe they were quite amused. The girl who inventories everything in the galley carts, and pre-flights all the emergency equipment forgot…..everything she needs once she gets off the plane. It tasted like a crap taco, lemme tell ya.
The next morning in Seattle, I awoke to a knock on my door and one of my colleagues was standing there with some clothes and toiletries they picked up from a nearby store. They didn’t want me to miss out on a chance to enjoy myself, so out of the kindness of their hearts they banded together and took care of me. I was blown away by the generosity of the gift (they barely knew me!) and made doubly sure to enjoy the day out.

Of all the things I forgot, I wish I had remembered to pack my camera this trip. My iphone just doesn’t have the zoom capability and crisp detail necessary to do justice to the troll sculptures, the first ever Starbucks store, the art museums and the thousands of stores which captured my imagination. I am such a coffee fanatic and it broke my heart I didn’t capture enough of it.

latte art on my beverage from Dubsea coffee in Seattle. So cool!

latte art on my beverage from Dubsea coffee in Seattle. So cool!

Seattle is fascinating. There is really no other way to put it. Its very outdoorsy and modern with a laid back kind of vibe but also very sophisticated and fun. I walked down to Pike Place market where vendors were throwing fresh fish back and forth. One of the vendors jokingly asked if I would like to be tossed a fish, and I laughed so hard I nearly choked up a lung. I tried some salmon/clam chowder, which was a new concept for me. Apparently this one restaurant is famous for their varieties of seafood chowder and it was fantastic. I suppose if you’ve been perfecting a recipe since 1938, it’s bound to be worth something.

 

Ivar's Salmon Chowder!

Ivar’s Salmon Chowder! Yup, that’s a giant hunk of fresh salmon you’re looking at

It’s amazing how quickly a 25 hour layover passes when you’re having fun. The key to waking up for a redeye flight and somewhat resembling a human is to go to sleep early in the afternoon. Darcy called me before I went to sleep when he got off work around 5 PM, and I called him after my plane touched down in Charlotte when he woke up for work the next day around 6:30 AM. Messes with your head, it does!

About the only thing you can do on a redeye flight back to Charlotte at 1 AM (since copious amounts of wine aren’t allowed) is read and drink the in-flight coffee (which compared to Seattle’s varieties tastes like burnt toucan piss). I was working the first class as the A flight attendant this trip, but since everyone was asleep, there was no one to schmooze with even.
One thing I don’t recommend doing is read Tina Fey’s Bossypants on your kindle. Imagine a perfectly silent cabin filled with sleeping travelers suddenly punctured by occasional uncontrollable guffaws, snorts and giggles. That would be me. The woman is so damn hilarious I could hardly contain myself. Read the flight manual instead. Or maybe, don’t. Because then you absolutely won’t be able to resist the urge to fall asleep. Fortunately the trip back to Charlotte is only 4.5 hours instead of 6 because of the jetstream. Learn something new every day!

Tomorrow, Darcy and I are going to use my flight benefits to take a mini vacation to his little hometown of Mansfield, Ohio. I’ll get to meet some more of his family and friends as well as spend a day being a kid here. I’m so stoked I can hardly wait to blog about it. The best part, other than getting to spend time with Darcy, is that the hotel and tickets were extremely discounted for employees of my airline. Woot woot!

Until next time, catch me if you can!

—Carmen

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