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First Class Travel

The land of chairs that tilt all the way back into a flat bed, three-course meals, and three-ply toilet paper. It certainly was more comfortable in first class, and I took the opportunity to keep my feet up for the entire 12-hour flight, but I still didn't sleep.

I had an odd chair where my TV screen didn't work very well so I never could watch a movie, and I couldn't call the flight attendants to serve me. I am surprised how much wine people order and drink, and by the odd looks I received when I didn't order wine, and didn't accept the welcome champaign. I guess it's still not obvious that I'm pregnant.

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Unfortunately, Ganesh and I were separated, me in first class and he in economy. Since his company was paying for the first class for him, we could only afford the economy for the other ticket, and he was a sweetie and let me have the first class. First class is certainly a world in which I feel very out of place. I was so surprised by the tiny meal size, and I was like, this is cold! But I realized that it was the appetizer bean salad.

Then the main course came, and I got the roast beef with potatoes, resting on a little bed of cooked spinach, which was topped with a large plume of fresh rosemary when I received it. Me and my vast fine-dining experience resulted in being super-fly, using my knife and fork to cut small pieces. Of course my fork slipped and proceeded to fling off all the rosemary in dramatic fashion as it flew all over my little table. Super smooth.

Then the Dessert course. I had the choice of cheese or a panna cotta. I hate how panic surges through me every time. They didn't specify what kind of cheese...and I'm not supposed to have anything soft like Bre or Blue cheese. And cheese doesn't sound like dessert...But I have no idea what panna cotta is.
"I'll have the panna cotta," I say with fake confidence. But now I know: It's an odd marriage of custard flavor with the texture of jello, and a side of strawberry sauce.
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They asked me, "Will you be needing anything from the duty free?" I have no idea what that actually means, I know it has something to do with alcohol. "No, thanks—I mean Danke" I replied. Smooth again.

I walked to the economy to visit Ganesh every so often, but he seemed to be sleeping and I didn't want to wake him. I brought him first-class peanuts and other goodies, but to no avail. I was surprised how right after dinner, the whole first class seemed to immediately fall asleep. I remained to be the only awake one. But no matter how fancy the surroundings, people are still people, with all variety of bodily functions, and I was surrounded with occasional poopy-fart smell mixed with alcohol.

I looked at my watch and it was midnight in my time zone, that would explain why I was getting sleepy, with about an hour and a half left of the flight. And then the attendant walked up to me, the only person awake, "Would you like your breakfast?" So I took it. It was a selection of cold cuts, sharp cheddar cheese, and bread with butter and coffee and orange juice. It was quite pleasant—only to be ruined by me. I had my phone in my lap and right as I was finishing, it slid off and hit the floor. I proceeded to look for it but it had completely vanished. Apparently these fancy-shmancy seats have an exceedingly bad design, that there is a gap under the seat going into the mechanism under the chair and small things like an iPhone fit perfectly under there and can never be returned. When we landed they had to call a technician to dismantle the chair and get it out. It was quite embarrassing.

We arrived in Germany at about 1:30, so that meant we had to stay awake the whole day. We thought we were super cool to escape the 100-degree weather of Pittsburg this week, but to our amazement, it was extremely hot and humid here as well. We were both dying. After checking in to the hotel, we went on a sight-seeing bus tour and baked in the sun on the top of the bus (not Nepal-style) because at least there was a breeze. And we were also super smart and didn't have any water.

We were so desperate for a cold beverage that we hopped off the bus at the first Starbucks we found and ordered a Vente frappachino and devoured it in record time. Fastest Brain-Freeze in the West (Berlin) Contest, we called it. It was the life force returning to us. It was magical, the icy goodness chilling us from the inside and Starbucks air conditioning from the outside. I am amazed to see that Berlin feels much like downtown Walnut Creek, plus 5,000 people on bicycles.

Then we found out that because of our desperation for coffee, we were no longer able to get on our bus because it was finished for the day. We could have taken a train, but it looked complicated with many train changes. So we googled the distance back to our hotel it was about 3 miles, and so we walked. Google maps, of course, made us take a "short cut" route through odd alleys. We were starting to beat ourselves up for being so impulsive and stopping for Starbucks, another mistake to add to our giant and ever-growing list. Then google maps calmly instructed us to enter into a jungle. Which we found to be a gorgeous central-park like area with idyllic trees and willows, ponds, and flowers. Many cyclists are everywhere and apparently this was a commuter through-way. People parked their bikes and just took a nap on the grass and studied with their computers and it was amazing.

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We thought we had made a mistake by getting off for the starbucks, but after such a pleasant walk for most of our journey back to the hotel, we realized that Bob Ross is right again—We don't make mistakes, only happy accidents.

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