Sunday, January 17, 2010

The Good, The Bad, And the Nice Avon Lady

I am pleased to report that the NICE AVON LADY is back! Yes.. I've made contact with the lady with the defective Curves tennis shoes, and we are scheduling a return and exchange. All is well. Yes, Avon does carry an 100% Customer Satisfaction Guarantee--no matter what.

Here's my link to my store---lots of good deals:

Interested in going to the Azores yourself? Well, if so--direct flights from Oakland to California and Boston to Azores are available for sale at Azores Express:

Pictures on the plane, coming home: Summer, 2007

I shared my own experiences about flying to the Azores before----here it is again:
Flying the Friendly Skies..

Have you ever taken a charter plane to the Azores?

It all starts with the line at the airport. The line starts from the around the Suntrips terminal with people with suitcases, sometimes boxes tied with rope (for those extra fragile items). If you read the tags off of these suitcases you will find names like, Silva, Santos, Medeiros, Bettancourt, Mendonca, Costa, Sousa…. You’ll hear voices speaking in Portuguese and English, sometimes mixed in the conversation. In line you may come across someone that you know, or someone you have seen before at a Portuguese event or festa. This gives you the opportunity to actually get to know these people and learn what island they are from, and carry on a conversation as the long line slowly makes it’s way up to the check in; you will be with these people for the next 24 hours, so get used to them.

If you have heavy luggage, this could be a problem, and you will have to pay extra. You need to pack carefully. Things to remember: If you are planning to be there during the festas, you should at least bring a good dress for each one you plan on going, with matching shoes…or, have a nice dress for every Sunday to attend church. Don’t wear the same dress to church more than once, and make sure your shoes and purse match the ensemble, because you may have to walk in a church procession during a festa, and EVERYONE will be there and watching you. I’ve learned this from my mother, who always seemed to over pack her suitcase with shoes.

Always wear comfortable shoes on a plane. NEVER take off your shoes while in flight however. I’ve learned this from personal experience. When you are up so high in the air, your feet actually swell up…well, at least mine..especially ifyou choose to wear a new pair of pumps for the first time. Nothing is worse than getting off a plane with no shoes on; I mean, what will people say when they see you at your final destination?! “Olha aquela Americana sem sapatos!…que vergonha!” Another thing to remind yourself, if it is that time of the month…go to the bathroom at least twice every hour. For some reason, the high altitude seems to trigger a very cruel force of mother nature. No matter how crowded the aisles are….don’t be a victim of, “Coitada, olha aquela Americana….”

I have never been on a charter plane going to the Azores where there has never been a man or two who refuse to sit in their seat during a flight. Rather, they like to get up from their seat and chat with someone who is seated clear across the other side of the plane. They will stand there for hours if need be and chat with this person. They will talk about numerous things, ranging from cows, land and real estate, or the American currency rate. These people are the most irritating people in a charter flight. Not only are charter planes filled to the hilt with people, the seats are narrow, as well as the aisles. These “men” plant themselves in these aisles, making going to the bathroom almost near to impossible. They talk and they will hover, and they will not go away unless a meal is served, or when the stewardess or steward threatens them.

I once sat on an aisle seat and witnessed this myself. I put my earphones on to block the jabbering, but the voice would not go away. In fact one person actually thought my head rest was an arm rest for the now and then air pocket turbulence. I must have cursed this at this man (under my breath of course) with all the evil names imaginable. Each time a steward would ask him to sit down, the same thing would happen. The man would look at her with a blank face, nod his head, and then continue talking.

If you are lucky, you will get a seat behind someone that does not move the seat back, but, if you are like me, you will have a large person either sitting behind you or in front of you. Remember, the tray for your food is attached to the back of that person’s seat. Have you ever had to eat in the fetal position? It is not fun, and it is almost impossible. The only food that seems safe without stabbing yourself with a plastic fork is the bread, the breadsticks, and cheese, and if you are brave, try drinking your coke before it spills on the front of your dress. You may have to make that extra trip to the bathroom and jump over the men standing in the aisles to clean that spot. Again, there is nothing worse than hearing someone say, “Olha aquela Americana…”

Did I mention how long a flight is from California to the Azores? Let me tell you. From San Francisco to the East Coast (NJ or MA, or NY) it’s about 9 to 10 hours…yes… This includes the actual sitting in the plane before taking off, and the getting out of the plane to take the next plane. If you are lucky, you’ll get to fly a Portuguese Airline, TAP—(Take Another Plane). I don’t care what anybody says, TAP is the best airline I’ve ever taken. They serve food that you can actually eat..and they have little wine bottles.

So..for 10 hours, you must share your little space with about 200 people, including stewards that often don’t know a word of Portuguese. If you disclose that you know English you are a target. During one flight, the dinner was served. “Raise your hand if you want chicken,” the pretty blonde stewardess called out. Her audience just stared back with blank faces. She must have encountered the same situation before, because right after, she proceeded to flap her arms and repeat “Chicken”. Suddenly there was laughter, and arms were raised. She didn’t need to pretend to be a cow later for the filet mignon…she got everyone’s attention with the chicken, and the irritating man standing in the aisle wearing that big gold chain and eagle medallion finally sat down.

There are always a few people on the plane with nervous conditions. I will never forget one summer, when a woman, wearing a yellow fur coat entered the plane, and announced in a very loud voice to everyone, “Tem muita gente aqui! Eu vou morrer no iste aviao!” Translated, There are too many people here! I’m going to die on this plane.” Some get on with their rosary beads in their pockets for easy access. Some people just drink. Drinking on a flight is a good idea…as long as you are a man---if you are a woman, it’s socially not a good idea because once you reach your destination, you need to direct your “man” to fetch the correct luggage at the luggage claim. If your single, and without a man; you'll find one at the baggage claim to help you out, as long as they are sober--just pretend to be really helpless--most Portuguese men, old and young love that, and will be there for you. There is nothing worse than ending up with the wrong luggage, or being caught with the wrong luggage.

Changing planes is an exciting event. If you have to change planes, you may have to go to the baggage claim and check in again. Just remember this, there is safety in crowds. If you don’t know where the other terminal is, always follow the American woman with the tight shoes and stained dress. The flight to the Azores once you are back East can range from 4 to 5 1/2 hours. Don't worry, we don't pass the Bermuda Triangle.

There is nothing more beautiful, however, than finally getting to your destination. Terceira is so beautiful in the morning when you come down and descend through the clouds. The green island suddenly appears, and suddenly the little rock walls are seen. The familiar white houses and orange roofs are there, and the plane falls into silence with “oohs” and “awws”, and jubilation. People are crying, but at the same time, holding their breath until the plane finally hits the runway. There is applause, and the rosaries are put away into their pockets. There is that rare silence again, before the mad rush to the luggage in the overhead compartments, as a few women open their compacts and check their lipstick. I don’t even bother. My dress is stained, my shoes don’t fit; and I look like hell.

Summer, 2007 My kids standing in front of the name of the street my mom's house is on. The street is named after my grandfather.

Yes, I'm taking a direct flight. I just get on the plane in Oakland, and we land in Terceira. Very easy---no flight changes--just 10 + hours of plane. It might seem like a lot of hours, but I think it's the best way to go when traveling with kids. Fares are cheaper this year too--this is good, because traveling there is not cheap! This Avon lady needs to sell more Anew.


Sherry said...

I love reading your entries I felt like I was right there with you and I feel my feet swelling as I read lol

Missie said...

I would love to go there! I've never been out of the country. Have a good week.

Jimmy's Journal said...

That is too funny! The odd thing is that you can change the destination and people and the horror of the flight remains the same.

Every detail remains the same. The talkers, the flight attendants, etc...

A nice trip down memory lane!