Safely to Bordeaux, thanks KLM!
PHOTO: Picture taken on my iphone of Bordeaux from my seat on KLM (c) Sery Kim
Sometimes, it's just infinitely easier to fly to Europe than it is to fly within the continental U.S. Or it could be I am just biased because I so adore the European lifestyle: great history, marvelous food, amazing architecture, wonderful people and just a very friendly pedestrian lifestyle (for someone who absolutely loves to walk, Europe is perfect!).
Thanks to my friends at KLM, I had a nice nap on the 6 1/2 hour flight over from Washington, D.C. to Amsterdam. Unfortunately, there was quite a bit of weather Saturday afternoon so we sat on the taxi for nearly two hours. Thank goodness the Dutch have wonderful snacks. I loaded up on Mentos and, of course, the ridiculously addictive Stroopwafers -- two super thin, crepe-like biscuits, held together with caramel -- before enjoy a nice dinner of short ribs, coconut rice, carrot and peas.
I passed out around 10 pm and didn't wake up until 2:30 am (8:30 am Amsterdam time). That's just how I like it. Besides, 4 1/2 hours of sleep for me is just 30 minutes less than I normally sleep every night so I felt very refreshed. And when I connected through to Bordeaux, I made it a point to buy two packages of Stroopwafers: caramel and chocolate. Lord, please give me the discipline to eat only one a day!!
PHOTO: KLM Business Class amenity kit (c) Sery Kim
Nothing major happened in my shortened layover. I got myself a cup of coffee at the KLM Business Class Lounge, as well as my first passport stamp in my brand-new, 52 page passport. Neither this lounge, nor the one in Dulles, are luxurious but, then again, no lounge in Dulles is any good at all. Ugh. Such a bad airport! Both were serviceable yet hardly compared to the flagship Turkish Airlines lounge in Istanbul; the Virgin Atlantic lounge in London; or any of the Gulf Carriers' flagship lounges. Coffee, wi-fi, bathroom and electric plugs. That's pretty much all I needed.
As for my new passport, I felt weird having a brand new passport because I have always, kinda, prided myself on having a beaten-up passport book with loads of stamps. Unfortunately, when you have no more pages left, due to a recent change in U.S. Department of State policy, you have to get a new one rather than insert some pages. This isn't actually any problem at all since my photo, from 2007, was absolutely hideous. Gaw!! I looked horrible! So horrible, whenever I hit customs in Dulles Airport -- I have gotten to know those guys really well -- they kept telling me "You don't look anything like this photo anymore" or "You have to get a new passport." LOL. It's nice to be friendly with the U.S. Customs and Border Control Agents. ;-)
PHOTO: My new passport photo with my old passport book on Thursday when I got my new passport (c) Sery Kim
Thankfully, I think my new photo looks like me and I am happy just to be here in Bordeaux. It's been three months of no travel, focusing on my personal life, but now is the time to hit the road again for a few weeks/months. I'm excited to be trying something new! A river cruise!! I hope I like it -- and, if I don't, at least I know I will really like the wine!
Cheers to another week of adventures! Check back soon for more updates.
PHOTO: Sweets in the lobby of Uniworld Cruise (c) Sery Kim