Tag Archives: tall

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!

Yogyakarta, Indonesia

A friend and I went to Indonesia for New Years. We started off in Yogyakarta. We didn’t see the temples that you were supposed to see but we had a good time regardless.

I ignorantly assumed that because rainy season was over in Thailand, it was over everywhere else in SE Asia. Well I was quite wrong. We arrived to rain, rain, and more rain. So much rain that the streets were flooded. No need to wear anything other than flip flops or aqua socks while the walking around as shoes would be soaked in seconds.

We went to the Sultan’s Palace. Outside there are two banyan trees. The legend is that if you are able to walk between them blindfolded your wish will come true. Neither my friend nor I attempted it but there were lots of people with blindfolds willing to help us do so if necessary.

Moments after arriving at this spot I was bombarded by people asking for their picture with the tall foreigner. This is a typical part of traveling for me but my friend had never experienced it before. The one problem with it is that as soon as one person asks then 15 people ask. So I stood there posing while my friend made a new friend.

The new friend proceeded to lead us around the closed Sultan’s Palace. We followed simply because we did. When traveling it’s always a tough call between trusting people and continually questioning their motives. This guy seemed pretty interesting and we were around enough people to feel safe. After going through a neighborhood we finally found out his motive – a leather puppet-making shop. It was fascinating but I wasn’t buying anything. We listened politely to the man explain about how they pounded out the leather to create the puppets. After a few minutes we politely excused ourselves and left.

Looking up at the sky we realized we had about two minutes to seek cover. We knew we wanted to get home. We managed to find a pedicab driver who would take us. Just as we started off on our journey back to the hotel it began POURING down. Our driver stopped and pulled over to where we were half covered. He pulled the other plastic covers down over us and put a poncho on then continued on. The pedicab was not created for two average size Americans, let alone a super tall one and an average one. I’m glad my friend and I were well acquainted as I basically laid on her lap the entire way. We had negotiated the price of the pedicab down but given all that he went through to get us back we happily paid him the original amount he asked for.

Luang Prabang, Laos

I had three days free so I decided to take a quick hop up to Luang Prabang, Laos.

It is a very cute riverfront town located where the Mekong and Nam Khan rivers join together. Apparently tourist season started on October 1st which is of course right when I arrived.  The town is probably the most walkable town I have ever been to in my travels and because of the two rivers you are basically guaranteed a water front view.

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My first evening I followed the road around the town, taking in the double water front view before hiking up to Phousi, a temple that overlooks the town and provides a beautiful view of the sunset and the surrounding area. As I walked up the 328 steps to the top, I was reminded that the only exercise I have done in the past 5 months has been limited to runs down my short soi (alley), workout videos and water weights in my room, and shooting hoops on the crooked hoop in the school yard with my students.

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On the way down the 328 steps, the red and blue tents of the market could be seen.  They were all setup and ready for the evening market.  This experience is unfortunately not for tall people as tents line the entire walkway at a height of about 6 feet.

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The next morning I went on a boat ride to the Pak Ou caves. It was a rather primitive boat and the driver had to try multiple times to start the engine but it was all part of the experiences of course. My favorite part about the journey was simply being in the boat and seeing the wonderful Laotian landscape. In the morning there was still fog hanging over the green hills as we made the two hour journey up river.  The caves consisted of an upper and lower cave.  There were a lot of buddha images to see. I wouldn’t necessarily add it to a must do when visiting Luang Prabang but the journey in itself was worth it.  On the way back we stopped at the whiskey village where we were exposed to the interesting way that rice whiskey is packaged… Yes those are actual snakes and large bugs packed in with the whiskey…

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Lunch was at Joma, a bakery cafe on the river. I indulged in a taco salad and an almond cookie. There are many riverfront cafes. Perfect for resting tired feet and just enjoying the cool breeze.  While it may not have been cool by everyone’s standards, one must remember that I have been living in Bangkok for awhile now so anything below 28 degrees Celsius is considered cool to me!

For the evening, I had made a reservation at Tamarind for their special Pun Pa Friday night dinner. I was joined by a lovely Canadian couple who had just moved to LP after traveling around for a few months.  Dinner started with sticky rice and dips.  A roasted eggplant dip  and a tomato based dip tasted almost like guacamole and salsa or at least close enough for my taste buds.  The next course was a platter of vegetables paired with a steamed fish and peanut sauce.  This was similar to a dish that I have eaten in Thailand where one essentially makes lettuce wraps with the fish, sauce, and vegetables. Dessert was purple sticky rice with coconut, sesame seeds, and a tamarind sauce paired with a platter of fruit. It was one of those meals where you don’t feel full until about 10 minutes after you’ve stopped and at that point you feel really full.

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On my final morning in LP I got to witness the monk procession.  Every morning around 6am, monks take to the street to accept offerings from the faithful (and tourists!). Their orange garments can be spotted from far away.  Walking around you see people readying their offerings and kneeling in prayer.

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