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The package flight

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WARNING: I am writing this from a private beach in Talum so expect plenty of errors!

So close friends decided to spend a month in Mexico this august. I agreed to meet them for a couple of weeks. The flight options were limited. I hate transfers and British airways were showing 2 transfers. How is one supposed to settle into a playlist or movie with that many changes? There were only 2 options; thomsons or virgin. Being pure in nature virgin was my first choice but it would mean 10 hours of airport time between their flight and mine. I love alone time but airports are stressful and I didn’t have the budget for business lounge, I.e. Kids minimised, so opted for thomsons.

My first clue that this was a little different was when they told me I could take luggage but had to pay for it plus an extra space seat. FYI that was £40 not well spent. I was only allowed 20kgs which meant me repacking twice ( throwing out 3 pairs of shoes and my robe) to get it down to 19.4kgs.

I arrived at gatwick north to the recollection that I hate gatwick north. There aren’t any decent shops. Oh terminal 5! Why hast thou forsaken me? Yes my precious, I’m an airport snob.

We get on the flight and for once Maxine my Budda belly is feeling rather tiny despite the failed pre holiday diet. I’m surrounded by men with bellies and women with multiple bellies. I could get used to this. My dress to impress just in case a hottie is on the plane is a pure waste.

I’m sat next to a Ricky gervais look alike and his 3 mini gervaises. They needed the extra space seats. Apparently Ricky’s balls are so big that he has to spread his track suit legs into my extra space. There isn’t enough extra space. They eat all the way through a 10 hour flight. They accompany their food with farting and burping both of which I don’t hear as the noise from the other passengers is so loud I can’t even hear announcements but by god do I smell them. Ricky playfully swots Ricky junior junior whenever it’s his farts that join the limited air in the plane. I try to sleep but my eye cover doesn’t keep out smell. I give up and instead build an epic jukebox list on the music thingy. None of the movies I wanted to see in the magazine were actually on the thingy. So music it is!

I overhear a conversation between a mum and her kids. Apparently her brats are getting their gcse results the next day. Something tells me they’re not twins and some may be resits. She tells them that they’ll drink when they’ve got their results to celebrate or commiserate. This worries me. Aren’t you only 16 at gcse level. Even the resit one can’t be over 18. Have the laws changed?

I ask for water they try to charge me the price of a 3 packs if haribos. I didn’t think you could do long hail budget but, you can. The attendants look weather beaten and essexified. This is glamorous to them.

All that said it was £300 less than virgin. You can’t choose the other passengers. I don’t think that I will use them long haul regularly. Their lack of a rewards system alone precludes them from being a regular choice. But for the odd cheap get away…. Why not? And now I can upgrade and still be in a normal holiday budget. Result!

Just take nose and ear plugs….and that emergency stash of treats.

Right, now back to the beach.

(C) chelsea black 2014

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Milk man – The Olympic legacy part 1

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I was having a Southbank lunch with one of my besties the other day when he told me that he had asked a mixed race person where they were from and they had given him one whole look. He didn’t understand it as he meant where do you live but of course they had assumed it was THE QUESTION

So this got me thinking to how The Olympics sold England as this multicultural haven where everyone gets along and sees themselves as British. Idealistic? Perhaps. Realistic? No. Because as we know ignorance doesn’t disappear just because you spent a few million on some fireworks and dancers. I’ve had two Olympic incidents so far.

The Milk Man

I was in my local Tescos for some milk. OK I was really in there for Haribos and a twix but I was claiming the lactose free milk as a reason for wondering in. I picked up one which had 4th September on it. A guy, who was on the phone stopped his conversation and started telling me that I should reach the back of the fridge as they were fresher. I thanked him and said that it didn’t matter as this would be done in 3 days.

He followed me to the till. He got off the phone and explained again about the freshness of milk like I really didn’t understand the concept. I repeated that I wasn’t bothered but thanked him for his concern. I edged forwards in the queue. Then he ruined it

Milk Man: Where are you from?

Me: I live down the road

Milk Man: No! Where are you from originally!!

Me: South Africa

Milk Man: [sagely] The crime capital of the world

Me: Yes that’s our claim to fame

Milk Man: [sarcasm wasted] Really?

Me: Well we have to have something to be proud of right?

Milk Man: Nelson Mandela

Me: *Tight smile*

Milk Man: Did you see Mo Farah win the gold? He’s from Africa.

And finally I hear the words I long for “next please!”

This is the problem with nationalism. Suddenly strangers feel the need to talk to you and ask you personal questions just because of sports. I really wish they wouldn’t.

But worse some British people see it as an opportunity to remind you that you’re really not British no matter how loud you cheer. And that their knowledge of places outside of Britain extends to parts of Europe, possibly.

So be warned my precious. You will have to put up with a lot of ignorance now that strangers feel the need to engage.

© Chelsea Black

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The Bolt – Olympic Legacy part 2

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The other night (Tuesday)  I was walking home after a late supper. It was just before midnight and Anita Baker and I were contemplating some high notes on No More Tears. I knew she would reach them and I wouldn’t. Not even in my head.  My one thing about London is that it is relatively safe at night. I can walk without too much stress or worry.

Suddenly out of nowhere a man jumped in front of me. I would say he was mid 40s, Caucasian, overweight but still able to be relatively nimble on his feet judging by the jump and staring at me intently. I quickly assume the woman under attack pose. I raise a hand to my chest and grip my bag more closely. It’s a universal pose that says “What the fuck is going on here?”

Then he starts to move…..into a signature Bolt pose.

I look perplexed. The Olympics are over. Am I supposed to think that every late night walker is still reliving the highlights? And why does he think this is appropriate stranger behaviour?

He strikes his pose for a couple of seconds before mumbing “Bolt! Huh? Yeah!!” a few times.

I get it. I’m black therefore as excited as he is to share his Bolt pose on the street. All I know is that I was scared shitless by a stranger for no good reason.

He walks off patting my shoulder as he passes. I immediately check to see if he somehow lifted my purse. But no this is just a random act of sports related happiness.

I have two thioughts

1)      I wonder if he jumped anyone else that Tuesday night.

2)      I miss black cabs.

Please can we just stop these random acts? I don’t think my heart can take it.

© Chelsea Black

 

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