Thursday, January 26, 2012

Special meal, anyone?

Passenger Details
Lora Nicolai
KLM # 10000000000
Flying Blue
Gold Medallion / Elite Plus
Change Frequent Flyer #

Muslim meal 
> Request Special Services
> Provide TSA Secure Flight
> Provide US Address
> Provide Emergency Contact 

DL 30
Kosher meal 
You may or may not know that on most international flights you can order a special meal. There are a few options, including but not limited to vegetarian, asian, no-dairy, vegetarian no-dairy, gluten-free etc. One of the options is “Kosher” which I made the habit of ordering because: 1). I can 2). food is of better quality and healthier. Drawback: not sure how exactly does that add to my already terrible carbon footprint record. 
I just checked in a Delta flight to NYC. Strangely enough from JFK to Moscow I could order Kosher, but not from Moscow to JFK where Muslim seem the only special meal option. 
That raises the following questions: 
  1. Can you safely assume that one can anticipate to convert to Judaism within a week in New York?
  2. Or is it because you are a product of a mixed marriage. In that case, do you eat kosher style pork? Possibly not, unless you raised progressively and the pork is grass-fed free range.
  3. What would the Gaza Strip inhabitants think about Delta meal option choices on return flights?
Meanwhile, try the special meals before they take them off the menu as unnecessary logistically-challenging luxury. It’s under “Request special services” and so far I had with Delta, KLM, Air France and Aeroflot, approved, with all due respect, by the appropriate rabbi.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Transport in South America has it's charming sides. If you have the urge, you can whack your taxi driver with a hammer which is dutifully installed behind the driver seat for your convenience. There is only one catch: you will have to drive afterwards.
It's not allowed to smoke one planes since Mambo No 5 was a hit. Yet on a Pluna flight your are faced with a dilemma: not only there is an ashtray, but a picture prominently displays what you can use it for. You are still not allowed to smoke. Anyone sees the glaring contradiction?

Friday, January 6, 2012

2011 Highlights

Highlights 2011

  • Trying new things: Learning Russian in Moscow State University: a semester there and I am pretty much fluent. The grand Bolshoi experience.  Ditching the driver and driving all by myself in the Moscow jungle. Doing some volunteer work, joining baby groups, mommy groups, International women Org, American Women Org, attending various events at the embassies, joining a running group, a book club, playing with photography, getting back into music, dancing, hitting the gym
  • Starting long distance running. I ran along the Moscow River in literally all conditions: -25 C, on ice, in the slush, at +40 C full sun and everything in between. I ran in pretty much any city I visited in the last year. Then running first half a marathon in Moscow, half in Chicago, Moscow 10K run and finally a whole marathon in Berlin. I am in the best sport shape I have ever been considering I am 35 and I have two kids 
  • The girls starting to walk and saying “mama” knowing what it means 
  • Paragliding in Andalusia. It has been so amazing that I know I need to get back and do it more. It’s inspiring, frightening, elevating, humbling, just plain awesome. 
  • Rediscovering good old Europe: Paris, Berlin, Bergen, Amsterdam, Barcelona, Athens, Istanbul. Crossing Europe by car, top down
  • Traveling in Thailand
  • Sailing around Martinique and St. Lucia and in Nafplio 
  • Trekking in the Caucuses in Georgia 
  • Munich October fest: too much beer and unhealthy food but healthy amount of joy 
  • Chicago girls trip: maximum fun
  • Brother in law getting married to a wonderful girl
  • New years Eve in dream city Buenos Aires 
  • Working again. 
  • Wine and dine. Few amazing restaurants. Especially one in Paris and one in Norway really stand out. 
  • Losing friends due as inevitable downside of expat life
  • Seeing darker side of Russia
  • Worst of all: my dad passing away... Life is so short and even more so now, I want to experience it as if there is no tomorrow. Because there might not be tomorrow. 

Finishing on a high note here. Just back from the Uruguayan beaches and on the way to Patagonia. It’s Friday night in Buenos Aires, and I can hear Palermo is calling my name. It’s a summer night in January. La vita e bella!