Monthly Archives: March 2015

Customer service and tallness

I judge airlines based on their flexibility. I am tall. It’s a fact. And the best customer service I have experienced in relation to my tallness was when I lived in Spain and as soon as I approached the counter the agents would ask me if I would like a seat in “la salida de emergencia” (exit row). This happened consistently and usually on budget airlines. 

In Thailand I have found that of the carriers I’ve flown only one and a half have told me ‘no’ straight away when I asked about an exit row. AirAsia is very consistent with their policy even when it means that there is no one even sitting in their exit row upon take off (doesn’t that somehow seem like a safety hazard on its own). Tiger Air told me no once but yes the other two times which makes me think it depends more so on who you talk to. Other airlines have given it to me as soon as I asked. Well almost, I’ve noticed that usually a phone call is placed and they tell the other person “mak soong” (very tall) as their eyes move from my torso to my head, then any charges are voided. 

I wish that other carriers would do the same thing. I understand the concept of making money but I also think it is quite evident that I am not your average sized female (an average female is around 5’5″) or even male (5’10”) by a lot of inches. I’ve been fortunate to have status for the past few years and been able to choose my prime exit row seat in advance thus avoiding extra charges. 

So to those carriers and ticket agents out there that ask before I even have to say anything and to those who void charges – THANK YOU!

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Expectations when traveling 

A few days ago I was sitting at my hotel’s restaurant situated on a beautiful beach accessible only by boat. A couple sat down next to me and told the wait staff that they needed to get something quick as their tour left in 20 minutes. They then tried to order pizzas. The wait staff of course told them that pizzas were not possible in 20 minutes. They settled on something else. 

Meanwhile I sat a few feet away wanting to tell them to just go grab kebabs further down the beach and silently seething at their behavior. I know it shouldn’t bug me too much but it did especially because of the beauty of where we were and because of the amazing hospitality that the restaurant and hotel offered. A beach vacation is for relaxation not rushing. 

I would argue that everywhere other than the United States, eating is an experience. Wait staff don’t bring a check until it is requested and a table is considered yours until you depart. 

I recognize that there were not a lot of food options where we were but better time management would have provided a better overall experience for everyone. I just hope that they tipped the wait staff well. 

The ants go marching one by one

Ants are a remarkable insect. They are strong, community based, and EVERYWHERE!

I’ve never had to deal with as many ants as I have in SE Asia. They find their way into everything and everywhere. For instance, you think you’ve cleaned your counter but then a few hours later there are a few ants suckling away on the one tiny spot that still has a taste of the sweet spiciness of som tam. Or there is nothing that even seems remotely enticing but they just decide that they will march along the shower wall. My best story is when they took over my toilet. I have no clue what they found so special about it but they were everywhere! In the tank, in the bowl, on the sides. Everywhere!

One of the most important things to do was take out my garbage and keep my eating spaces clean. Of course once I forgot to take out my garbage. I always leave it hanging on my door handle. A space that is away from my bed and usually not surrounded by anything. As I approached my room I could see the army of ants matching outside of it. I knew straight away what I had done…. 

Fortunately there weren’t too many times when a complete invasion took place and I more so found myself facing solitary ants. One on my desk, on my bed, on my foot. 

Over this past year I’ve come to have a strong appreciation of the strength and family of ants. They take care of each other. When an ant is trampled all of the other ants swarm around in panic and then carry away the body. Their strength is amazing. I watched a group carry away a big popped piece of popcorn. Not only did they carry it away but they carried it up a wall!!!!!

Ants have impressed me this year. However with that said I hope that I never encounter this many ants again!