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Alas, after two weeks of traveling to Berlin, Brussels, and Bruges, these three Cheapos at Work had to fly home on Monday. Pete and Mere flew from Paris, and I returned from Brussels.
Before I get into my “you won’t believe what Continental served us for breakfast” stomach-turner, I must apologize for not blogging during my six day hotel hunt in Bruges. The only excuse I can muster is that I was simply too tired to write. I hadn’t anticipated that Bruges would be so charming, friendly, and full of great hotels.
But more about Bruges tomorrow. I’m still fired up about my breakfast…
I returned to Brussels on Sunday night and woke up at 5:20 AM for my 8:20 Continental direct flight to New York. I was at the airport at 6:15, shuffled through check in, security, and along an extremely long terminal.
Leaving so early in the morning is kind of strange. It’s too early to get breakfast at the hotel, so you have to grab a bite at the airport. I managed to eat a quick croissant and coffee before boarding at 7:25, but I was ready for a proper breakfast.
We took off at 8:20. Soon after, Continental gave us honey-roasted peanuts and a drink. I should have already suspected something.
And then, at about 9:00 AM, they rolled down the aisle asking the unthinkable.
“Chicken or beef?” “Chicken or beef?” “I’ve got chicken and mashed potatoes or beef noodle.”
I was shocked, but not too shocked to note the reactions about me.
Many, after overcoming their initial confusion, simply resigned themselves to one of the meats and took their trays. One couple in front of me decided, in tandem, that they simply objected to the offer and didn’t want anything to do with the food or the server. The stewardess didn’t care.
“OK, don’t eat it. But this is an eight-hour flight. You’re going to be hungry.” She grimaced, and then rolled on.
When she came to me, I decided to dig a little for the real story.
“Excuse me, I don’t mean to be annoying,” I said, already accomplishing the task. “But why are you serving chicken and beef at 9 AM?”
She was cool. “Because it’s an eight hour flight.”
“Right. But why not serve it later, like at lunch time? Why not serve breakfast now?”
“What? We’re going to serve cereal and milk?” she laughed. “Do you want chicken or beef?”
I felt challenged. “No, but you could serve a muffin and a yogurt.”
“Look,” she said, obviously fed up. “Most people here ate breakfast at home before they left for the airport. Do you want chicken or beef?”
I was losing. “Well some people here slept in a hotel and had to be at the airport at 6 AM!”
She looked at me and shook her head. I somehow felt shame.
She rolled on and I uncovered my breakfast: One defeated chicken breast, limp atop mashed potatoes, mini carrots and green beans. All of it covered in gravy. The entree was accompanied by a lettuce salad, ranch dressing, a vacuum-packed dinner roll, and a brownie.
“Beer and wine is available for purchase for €4 or US $5. Please have correct change.”
Next time, I think I’ll fly a European carrier. You know, one that serves breakfast.