Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Pop goes my heart

Last Friday night I left for China. I had a couple of important meetings in Suzhou on Monday morning and my assistant was not able to get me a confirmed ticket flying west, so I had to fly east, although it meant a very long layover in Germany. Those who have followed me for a while, will remember that I swore not to fly Lufthansa anymore (Lufthansa nie mehr!), but this time I had no choice. The way to China was long, but I slept a lot, both in the plane where the business class seats recline to almost flat position and in the lounge where they have a special area with dimmed lights and reclining chairs. The stewardesses continued to be rude, but bearable and Lufthansa has really good planes and safety is first.
During the last 18 to 24 months flights to Asia have always been packed, all of them overbooked and with the risk that if you would not make the connection due to weather, they would send you to Anchorage and Narita prior to getting to your Chinese destination.
In the plane I watched a couple of movies. I started with a drama called Blood Diamond with Leonardo di Caprio, but I was not in the mood to see people suffer, so when they started to slaughter little kids I stopped it and decided to go for a comedy. I chose a Cantonese movie called Ngor yiu sing ming (My name is fame). I watched it in Cantonese with English and German subtitles. A nice movie with good actors, especially the very charming actress Huo Si Yan (or Fok See Yin in Cantonese) and I noticed that I understand more Cantonese than I thought. Remind me and in a couple of weeks I will talk about the trilingual territory of Hong Kong.
I did the return in First class, apparently business was full according to my assistant. I never check the itinerary before I leave. I open the folder upon arrival and all the required information is always there, including the cell phone of the driver that will pick me up in those countries where renting a car is either not possible or not advisable.
From Shanghai I called the travel agency to try to downgrade me to business but they told me it would cost me 1000 dollars. I try to always be cost conscious and business class is good enough, despite the angry stewardesses.
So I resigned myself to take First Class on the way back and surprise, surprise, stewardesses were friendly, you get a 100% flat bed, a pajamas and a sweater, caviar, Jabugo and all that jazz.
The return was not through Frankfurt, but through Munich. I hate Frankfurt, it is a lousy airport, but Munich is great. Germany has been able to create a double hub, something that Spain opposes, but Bavaria, the strongest Bundesland demanded to Lufthansa the creation of an international hub in its capital and Lufthansa did. Actually the airport is by far better than Frankfurt’s. Those of you readers living in the Jacobine country of Spain will know that the army is there to protect its unity and a citizen who challenges that principle can become a target for the army. The Spanish constitution legislates, in an implicit way, that those Spanish citizens who challenge the unity of Spain can be lawfully executed and the core conservatives consider that an international hub in Barcelona would be the first step towards a breakaway.
Months before the whole fuzz about the Barcelona hub started, I wrote about it in my blog (click here if you want to re-read it) and I advised the Catalonia government to lure a foreign airline to set up its European hub in BCN. My preference would be United Airlines of Star Alliance that could get good European connectivity through Spanair. Since I am the one making this suggestion, can I ask for a favor? Can you put a United flight from Boston to Barcelona on Friday evenings, leaving Logan at around 7pm and arriving in BCN around 8.30 am (Papa vine a recollir-me, arribo a dos quarts de nou!).
Going back to First Class, still nothing like Virgin Atlantic’s Upper Class that I described in my post “I love Virgin”, neither masseuse nor manicure.
In the last leg, I watched another comedy, you will hate me for this, but I loved it. The movie was Music and Lyrics with Hugh Grand and Drew Barrymore. I think it is created after the duet Wham, a kind of caricature. It is fun to see Hugh Grand dancing and Drew is really sweet and believe it or not I decided to see the version dubbed into American Spanish and this added to the charm (remember I am a non orthodox Catalan nationalist that supports trilingualism and actually likes the Spanish language, although I do not buy the Spanish Constitution). I attach a freshly googled video-clip of one of the songs Pop goes my heart, do not kill me, I find it fun.


Garci said...


You are the hell of a lucky person, living in non-Jacobin country where any other language other than English is not official. Do you think the Jacobin Spain should copy that policy? or maybe the article six where state judges are legally bound to honor the federal laws and constitution over those of any state? On the other hand, I don't get the point on your message. You start talking about something and then suddenly put a sentence on the political issue. A last thing, should we believe you next time you promise something like your Lufthansa denial, or just take it as your "Andalusian exaggerating character" as you earlier mentioned?

Johnny Tastavins said...

Cantonese? Suzhouese? How many dialects will we discover that you also understand? Really crazy.

You also ask for a flight from Boston to Barcelona. I am asking for a direct connection between Barcelona and Shanghai, but never mind, it will be impossible during the next 20 years. AENA and Iberia will do a good job crushing any possible foreign project.

Daa feiji!!

ian llorens said...

Let's take Texas as an example.
Neither the Texas Constitution, nor the Constitution of the United States, explicitly or implicitly disallows the secession of Texas (or any other “free and independent State”) from the United States. Joining the “Union” was ever and always voluntary, rendering voluntary withdrawal an equally lawful and viable option..
Both the original (1836) and the current (1876) Texas Constitutions also state that “All political power is inherent in the people ... they have at all times the inalienable right to alter their government in such manner as they might think proper.”

I would buy this interpretation for Catalonia and Spain.

My Cantonese is even worse than your Mandarin. I understand a handful of words and expressions. I can follow, however, a conversation in Suzhouese and know more or less what they are talking about. I am fluent in Mandarin.

For those who wonder what you meant by the expression daa feiji (in hanyu pinyin should be da feiji):

In China there is the practice of '打飞机 da feiji' (masturbating a male client). Originally this was regarded as buying and selling sex (卖淫嫖娼 maiyin piaochang ie, proscribed as constituting 'prostitution and whoring'). Recently there have been some changes and this has been counted out, although the new policy has not been adopted by some places. This only happens in massage parlours and in most cases it is done by the girls, not demanded by clients. If the clients ask to have sex, girls in massage parlours will generally refuse and offer to da feiji instead. But this does not happen in karaoke bars, and barbershops and red light districts.

Johnny Tastavins said...

By the way, I forgot to tell you that viagra may be a good solution in the future when you fly to east Asia. Take a look to that link :-)

ian llorens said...

I read it while waiting in Munich at
I was thinking of my wife's reaction when preparing my things to go to Thailand on business trip, I would tell her, pass me the Viagra, it's for the jetlag.

By the way, I read that they had to reduce the dose they gave to the lab mice due to the side-effects. The poor little mice just started fucking around.