Thursday, June 28, 2007

From Manhattan to Frankfurt

The program began with an orientation in Manhattan on June 23rd, so June 22nd we all arrived (from all over the country) and stayed in the New York Helmsley, which was a fairly nice place. I walked around and explored as, although I live fairly close to Manhattan, I haven't really been there often (and not at night), so I saw Times Square, and all that kind of thing. There was a really fantastic street artist that made cityscapes with spraypaint. That was really amazing to see, especially when he made the buildings; it was difficult to believe even as I watched it with my own eyes. He used a paint scraper vertically to make the vertical edges of the buildings and scraped to the side a little bit in order to make the windows, and all that sort of thing; it's tough to describe.

The flight to Frankfurt on Lufthansa was good, though I mourned the lack of seat-back entertainment a bit. The flight left late from Kennedy, of course, but we had a 3-4 hour layover, so in contrast to last year in London, where leaving an hour late meant the 1:15 layover turned into a 15 minute dash, there was no problem this time. There was a really great flight attendant--we were on a 747 (a giant plane) and so some of us were in a different section (still coach) from the others, and I wanted to go to the back to see some of them. The attendant of that section pretended not to let me, and when he did, I said, "So I don't need to offer you a bribe then?" He asked what "bribe" meant,ra so I explained that it was when you paid someone to bend the rules, and he said "Oh, yes only on the way back." Later on when I returned to my seat, after breakfast he randomly brought me a warmed banana-nut muffin and said it was my "birthday present" (it wasn't my birthday, of course). Later on he brought me some airplane-shaped fruit snacks, saying they were not just for children. The person sitting next to me tried to ask about the frequent flier program, but they were about to serve another round of snacks, and he was apologizing. "I'm sorry, I need to go, they are serving snacks again," he said, and then whispered, "they are so desperate without me" and pointed back where there was indeed another flight attendant motioning hurriedly. Later on some of the people who were sitting in his section told me that he was just as jovial with all of them throughout the flight and was really great.