May 20, 2003

Lithuanian Food of The Day 1

Lithuanian food of the day 1

Today's entries are not really Lithuanian, but particular to Scandinavian Airlines, which for some reason is abbreviated SAS and their flight numbers are proceeded with "SK." Whatever.

On the flight from Chicago to Stockholm, the usual peanuts or pretzels at the beginning of the flight were replaced with what I can best describe as a bag of croutons. The "breakfast" consisted of a cup of yogurt and cold cuts. That is, two slices of cold ham and two slices of cold Swiss cheese. They get points for not pretending the breakfast is something more than it is (think American Airlines and their "omelettes.")

This is the first flight I've been on where the default language of the staff is not English. I'm still not sure what they were speaking (I don't think there's a universal Scandinavian language..I would guess it was Swedish but it sounded more German than Swedish to my untrained ears). Much of the Scandinavian Airlines aesthetic is adorable. For example, the sugar packet they give you is plain white with this printed on it:

"imagine if it snowed sugar
it would look like snow,
but a lot more people
would be eating out."

The salt and pepper packets say:

"if you want salt
on your meal,
don't cry -
use this package"

"imagine of the oceans
of the world
contained pepper
instead of salt, well...
maybe not"

I threw away the first S&P packet they gave me and it turns out that they have different phrases written on them. The pepper was something like, 'pepper is considered a gift from the east. The word "gift" in Swedish means poison -- don't let that stop you from using this.'

The after-dinner snack was a bag of adorable little candies called "bilar." What's with the Scandinavians and lack of capital letters? Maybe it's the whole bauhaus thing..that's the extent of my knowledge of the bauhaus movement right there.

The Stockholm airport, at least Pier F, is totally IKEA. I want to see more of Sweden some day but for now I'm convinced that IKEA both represents and controls the entire country's decor.

The flight from Stockholm to Vilnius is on a turboprop, and we boarded it by riding a bus from the terminal to the some remote part of the tarmac, then walking up the plane's steps. I felt like the president. President of what?

I've been on a propeller plane exactly once -- a local air show had $20 rides in a Cessna-like plane. This was the first time either my brother or I flew in a plane, and would be the only time for years. There was only room for one person besides the pilot so we took separate turns. I was pretty terrified because, well, I'd never flown before and I had no idea what to expect. After we took off the pilot said something about how my door wasn't closed properly and so he leans across me to open and close the door. Twice. All the while I'm staring through the sliver that opens up between door and fuselage with a mix of fear and awe. I barely remember anything else from that short flight, but it was sweet of our parents to let us take the flights, especially trusting the unknown hobbyist pilot with their kids.

So anyway, the lunch on the flight to Vilnius (we're half and hour into it) revolves around a chunky wheat bread sandwich containing lettuce and some unidentifiable "spread." It seems to contain mayo, bits of something that looks like parsley, maybe chopped bacon or ham, and some vegetable that looks like diced potatoes but has the consistency of uncooked diced potatoes. In addition to the sandwich is a teeny 15cl can of pop and a plastic tub of "blackcurrant drink." Containing 20% real blackcurrant juice! My dad's a big fan of (red) currant jelly so I drank it for him. Not bad.

OK, the stewardess just Lysolled the cabin, front to back.

I got a tonic water for the first time and DAMN that stuff is nasty. I'll take blackcurrant drink over tonic water any day of the week. "Soft drink contains quinine" indeed.

The mens bathroom in the Vilnius airport contains some non-Western toilets and some "handicap" stalls that a normal person can't fit into. When the taxi driver was loading our bags his counterpart apparently said, in Russian, "OK, time to rip these guys off!" One of our crew is originally from Belarus and he finds it convenient to keep his knowledge of Russian secret -- both to avoid anti-Russian sentiments here and so he can overhear those who speak Russian in our presence.

The hotel features ethernet-based internet access that is slower than dialup in the States, and the whole hotel was without hot water until about 3:30pm, when half of us got hot water back. The other half will be borrowing our showers tonight.

Our early dinner was rather uneventful besides the numerous people who decided that we looked like easy people from whom to beg money. The secret knowledge of Russian came in handy again here (after the fact). After dinner we met up with the English contingent, who proceeded to plow through five four-liter "graduated cylinders" of beer before anybody ordered their dinner. We left once they finally did order to pursue much-needed Zs.

Until tomorrow..

Posted at May 20, 2003 09:30 PM, Categories: Beardcore
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