Ok fine, I've been very bad. My 3 week break has turned into an almost 2 month hiatus. I can't help it! Getting back into the daily groove and grind leaves me a bit discombobulated, and the more posts I have pending, the more agitation comes my way. The upside of having a truckload of traveling done is I have also filled up my roster of posts for the next year or so. Don't worry, I'll try to be swift with my posts. So just you wait for the barrage of blogs that's to follow this one!
So where did I go? Well... from my previous teaser it was clear I had left Asia. But before I delve into the specifics of my destinations, let me tell you about my journey to ToT's Summer Trip of 2010.
As part of the workforce, gone are my dependent days of traveling to and fro in lavish style care of the parentals. Nowadays, I'd be lucky if I can grab the emergency exit seat at Cebu Pacific flights. Ever since the fuel crisis back in early 2000, western airlines have been doing everything they can to cut costs, more often than not at the expense of passenger comfort.
Let me be clear, if business class is out of your budget, that's all well and good. But if you can justify spending a little bit extra for a whole lot of comfort, make sure you fly Qatar Airways.
The Manila-Doha leg of my trip was a treat in itself, mostly because of the seating situation. The legroom is absurdly generous with a nice divider in the middle to keep your space private from your seatmate.
The seating is spacious with extra compartments all around to place toiletries, purses and other travel needs a nitpicky passenger would keep close. I was able to keep my laptop, purse, toiletry, shoes, magazines, and... other things close by at all times.
But major brownie points goes to the seat's mechanism which allows it to completely flatten for a perfect airline snooze, prop up for meals, and to reset for takeoff and touchdown. The best part of it is the massage setting which gives lumbar support as well as a nice backrub. It was like having my own personal masseuse on a 10 hour red-eye!
Upon being situated in the seat, the courteous flight attendants offer you a refreshment. Since I planned to pass out after the plane left the ground I usually grab some Champagne and fresh orange juice and make myself a personal Mimosa. Bubbly gets you snoozy very fast.
But then I also spotted a very good bottle of Brunello di Montalcino on their wine list, and I just couldn't resist a glass. This was going to be a perfect apertivo to my upcoming flight.
Before taking off, they give each passenger what I'd like to call "goodies" aka. toiletry kits and other items to make you more comfy during the flight. Inside the black pouch is a pair of pajamas, socks and an eye mask so that your clothes don't get wrinkly during the flight. They were so comfy, it became my designated sleepwear for my entire trip. No kidding!
And inside the printed pouch is a deluxe sampling of Molton Brown products ranging from lipbalm, body lotion, refreshing cologne, earplugs, and even a brush! Shaving kits & toothpaste sets are found in the restroom. I love little toiletries, and this set is no exception! A little note from Molton Brown was a cute little piece of thoughtfulness which made me enjoy using the products even more.
Goodies aside, the key element of any good airline, aside from its service is the culinary experience. Right after takeoff, a Palate Pleaser is served to begin the degustation process. Above is the Antipasti sampler of pecorino cheese, prosciutto, bresaole and grilled zucchini. Yummy enough to perk you up, yet small enough to not make a dent on your appetite.
Next is the meal To Commence, an appetizer to lead into the bigger meal.
I'm a big fan of dips, so naturally I gravitated towards the Arabic Mezze which was a sampling of hummus, roasted eggplant, and grape leaves. This literally left me ready for bed!
Since I had 4 flights on Qatar in 3 weeks, I was able to sample a lot of the dishes. Another good one I tried was the Salad plate of Gravlax and Branade of Salted Cod. I was especially pleased to find Ikura or salmon roe on the platter. FAVE!
I especially enjoyed the Smoked Salmon with fresh Mozzarella pearls, Grapefruit sections and Balsamic reduction. Refreshing!
Also tried the smoked seafood with potato salad. I like my seafood, indeed.
To Follow are main dishes which range from seafood picks, to vegetarian dishes. First I tasted was the Grilled Salmon with Saffron Cream Sauce and Olivette Potatoes. Let me just reiterate that it felt like dining at a 3 star restaurant. Food was moist, flavorful, and well plated.
My favorite was the Lobster Omelette with Herb Prawn Sauce, Sauteed Mushrooms & Asparagus with Japanese Grilled Salmon. Talk about Seafood Chic. The omelette was fluffy and had bits of lobster, not rubbery or dry at all as you would expect airplane fare. Was I really on an airplane?
There was no shortage of dessert, but my favorite treat of all was my own personal box of Godiva Chocolate after every meal. I kept mine for the trip since I was either too stuffed or too sleepy to nibble on them.
After the meal, the lights are dimmed and ambience becomes conducive for lala land.
If, like my brother, you decide to make the most out of your Business class fare, you stay up, keep watching all the movies on their On-Demand extra large 14" personal TV screen, and indulge in some snacks from their Indulgence menu.
My favorite being the Stir-fried Noodles with braised Calamari in Chili Coriander sauce and Asian Greens. Nuff Said.
Because Doha is the central layover for all flights, we had a few hours to kill at the Qatar lounge.
The BC lounge of Qatar in Doha is at the airport's premium terminal, separate from the normal terminal and reserved for those in Business and First Class. First Class passengers have it a bit better as they get picked up from the tarmac in brand new BMW 7 Series cars, while us BC peeps are Shuttled in. The only con in Doha's airport is the lack of airline tubes that connect the planes to the terminal gates.
The lounge is equipped with a full buffet of cooked meals, in case you forgot to stuff yourself silly on the plane, or if you are originating from Doha on an empty stomach
Here is the buffet line
And here are the GOODIES! Baby baklava and macarons individually wrapped like presents waiting to be eaten. The were so adorable, I couldn't help but get a few extra for snacks when traveling by train on the next chapter of my trip.
Here is ToT & Bro looking fresh & chipper after a trip to the lounge. This is compliments of the lounges showers, which come equipped with rainshower heads and L'Occitane toiletries that make any tired traveler feel extra refreshed with their Verbena line.
I especially loved the flower arrangement table which greets you hello and goodbye. On to the next long red-eye flight!
Once I got situated on my seat, I attempted to watch another movie but passed out immediately because of the comfy massaging seats, and the bed-like flatness of my sleeping quarters.
As I awoke, I noticed how everyone seems to be looking a little happier than when we started the flight.
After passing out, we were served with breakfast before landing. The breadbasket of warm croissant, toast, and muffin would make any carb-crazy lady scarf down every single piece!
But the Tiptree Marmalade & Honey made it extra sweeter. I won't lie, I like my honey and keep a personal stash of these for my tea...
Breakfast was a Fine Herb Omelette with Roasted Mini Eggplant, Creamy Button Mushrooms with Herb Chicken Patty. I could eat like this forever!
When your flight is so pleasant, you almost never forget to look out the window, look what I found! It's actually a double-rainbow, if you look above the more prominent one.
Again, after stepping of the plane, you feel rejuvinated and ready to face the next leg of your travels. Jerico & I needed it, because the day started early and we were on a mission to reminisce for 24 hours! Flying Qatar Airways is the best way to experience why it is only one of 6 airlines awarded a five star rating, because their service and amenities are definitely five-star quality.
And for proof, here is my very stylish travel sidekick after our Qatar flight, ready to rumble the streets of Rome!
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