PLASTIC and aluminum everywhere. A BA chicken curry with rice. And wow, a Halal banana cake with an expiry date of 29 March 2011 (!) that contains “variety loaf mix”. What the Hell is that? It sure ain’t a Middle Eastern ingredient.
Should I’ve gone for the pasta option? No way! I’m heading for Asia, baby, and that’s the “special meal” for all the POMs and sun-starred Aussies on board this BA flight. I made the right choice (and so did the 20 or so French school students on board). Trust the sophisticated French. Even at the age of 15 they know not to have the pasta option (including the little Frog behind me that kept kicking my seat for eight hours). They get it. Even at their young age. It’s about the flavour.
It was a challenging meal. Especially when the middle-aged French lady seating next to (with her Edith Piaf sophistication) suddenly had to get up to go to the bathroom in the middle of the meal service. She slid across me and seductively brushed against me while I skillfully balanced the entire contents of my tray with one hand (which was nothing short of miraculous as it was the tightest space I have ever sat in on a plane). Then came the “merci” and devilish smile (was that the signal for that mile high thingy???).
Gulp! Take a sip of Grolsch.
She was gone for what seemed an eternity.
A BA hostee suddenly appeared with another can of Grolsch for no reason before I had even taken a second sip from the first one. Why? Why, nice pleasant aging hostee? (Is that the “see you aft of the cabin when the lights go off” signal?).
Gulp. Take another sip of Grolsch.
Oh my God, hostee! What are you doing to me?! Isn’t that my third beer? I’m starting to feel heady like a schoolie on my way to Bali on my first overseas trip (and shit, there are teenage French school kids on board!).
Gulp! Take another sip of Grolsch.
Two hours down, seven more hours to go.
I’m starting to think what the return trip will be like. Now I know why it’s called cattle class.
Bring on Bangkok, my second home. Som tam. Moo bhing. Freshly-squeezed lime juice.
Please, no more Grolsch.
The verdict: The Grolsch and Aussie Western Star butter were exceptional. The chicken was covered in a thick and concentrated tikka-style paste – a bit overbearing and salty (but at least it has spice and flavor, unlike the bland pasta option). Thank God for the company of Stevie Ray Vaughn, Miles Davis, Bruce Springsteen and Anthony Bourdain, my noise-canceling headphones, Absolutely Famous, (and even you, you sophisticated middle-aged, bottle-blonde French lady with the bladder problem). Oh, and the third can of Grolsch.
What: BA 10 to Bangkok (from Sydney). Mediocre airplane food, not an English beer in sight (why all the Dutch beer??). Delusions of middle-aged women and Mile High clubs.
Where: 38,000 feet above the Great Artesan Basin (slightly east of Alice Springs). Time to destination: 6:48 hours. Distance to destination 3674 miles. Air speed 552 miles (sorry, no metric, we’re British Airways).
When: 11 November 2010.
Post script: I went aft when the lights went down. No one was there. The Mile High Club is a myth.
Apologies to regular The Hungry Bon Vivant subscribers. Grolsch and rarefied air do not mix.